Workshop Abstracts

Abstracts of Confirmed Workshop Speakers for 2018:



Alicja Sułkowska (Bauhaus-Universität) MONEY ARRIVED

Bela Lugosi and Brandon Lee, ‘‘Dracula’’ and ‘‘The Crow” – two cases of pop cultural image creation and the evolution of vampiric tropes
Following the development of the vampire creation in literature and film, the article examines its conceptual evolution with regard to the most famous portrayals.  The study of both Bram Stoker’s novel, its numerous adaptations and other popular vampire images (‘‘The Lost Boys”, “Interview with the Vampire”) allows paying closer attention towards particular elements of characters’ creation: their motivation, philosophy, relationships, looks and surroundings. This paper makes it possible to distinguish three stages of the vampire development, from the first folklore tales, through first literate depictions, to the modern figures we know today. An important part of the text is an in-depth study of cultural (and vampiric) references in Proyas’ ‘‘The Crow’’. By exploring the urban landscape, a psychological motivation of main characters, as well as the role of women, the article evaluates main topoi in the movie and the way, in which they allude to vampire representation in novels/films. Main focus of the article is a comparison between manners in which Bela Lugosi’s role in Browning’s “Dracula” and Brandon Lee’s appearance in “The Crow” influenced actors’ legendary status. Considering both their representation in popular culture (music, press) and the approach towards promotion of the actors’ media presence, it is possible to recreate and emphasize the two cases of actor-character image unification.


Cătălina-Ionela Rezeanu (University of Brașov) [Poster Presentation]
The social worlds of virtual objects participating in the arena of (re)producing the myth of Dracula: evidence from a video game

Popular culture plays a major role in the social (de)construction of the meaning of traditional and modern myths. In this regard, I assumed video games to be a proper dispositive for studying the contemporary (re)production of myths. They involve the players in the production of their narratives, make them engage with various discourses, while virtual objects are used to signify specific social worlds with specific discourses. Through this paper I propose a situational analysis of the nonhuman actans from the video game ”Dracula 3: The Path of the Dragon” to extend the knowledge about the contemporary dynamics of the myth of Dracula. The plot of the game is set in a fictional village from Transylvania, called Vadoviște where a Catholic priest is sent to investigate a potential sanctification case. The narrative entangles characters with different professional backgrounds (like history professors, physicians, vampire experts, occultists, etc.) and merges various historical details (the union of Transylvania with Romania, the fact that Vlad Tepes was held prisoner in Turkey, the Iron Guard, the writing of the Mein Kampf, etc.). Being a point-and-click adventure video game, the player`s interaction with virtual nonhuman objects and the dialog with other game characters are essential in the construction of the narrative. Hence, I intend to show how the myth of Dracula is constantly reproduced, contested, negotiated and transformed in an arena engaging various social worlds (like magic, religion, science, technology etc.) with tacit power-knowledge discourses articulated through virtual objects and virtual spaces.


Fotina Moro (novelist, independent researcher) MONEY ARRIVED, also for Ekaterina
Posthumous Feud of Two Draculas

It is the continuation of our 2 Dracula’s duology. Since ancient times in Carpathian-Danube region there͛ve been two mysterious organizations: Societas Draconistarum and Scholomance. Both of them know the truth: the more popular the deity is, the more people worship it, the more power you can get from that deity. Anyhow, at the beginning of the 21st century we have pop-culture characters instead of old idols... in particular, Dracula. But which one? Vlad the Impaler, the cruel medieval voivode or the vampire from Bram Stoker͛s novel? Everybody considers those characters to be the one.  Only devoted adherents know that in Spirit World (it exists, we only can͛t see it), Vlad the Impaler and the fanged Count wrapped in a cape are 2 different persons. Some people worship the 1st one, some the 2nd one. But that is not fine. If it was a one-way track, the occult organization making a wager on the  ͞right͟ Dracula, would hit the jackpot. But who is  ͞the right one͟? The Count and the voivode practically gave up solving the question and declared war on each other. The wizards joined it, of course. Societas Draconistarum hoped for the Impaler͛s victory, Scholomance for the Count͛s one. But the organizations͚re evidently going to have a foul play and they realized the danger of it. So they invited the Arbitrator, the President of the Transylvanian Society of Dracula. He convinced the rivals to turn all military action into a competition - with a jury and 3 rounds.

Soraia Garcês, Margarida Pocinho & Saúl Neves de Jesus MONEY ARRIVED
How to fight “real” vampires through Positive Psychology?

Today’s world is filled with a huge amount of negativity and people that “absorb” others happiness and calmness. These “real” vampires of life can be the most dangerous ones because they enjoy making others feeling bad.  These vampires are not fictional but very tangible and can drain people’s optimism, resilience, self-efficacy and their overall, wellbeing. Therefore, it is important to fight these “real” vampires with something stronger than a wooden stake at the centre of the heart. Positive Psychology can be a powerful tool to build inner strengths that will be a “shield” against these people that feel the need to persecute, intimidate and leave others feeling helpless. This proposal for communication aims to explore the potential of Positive Psychology, a recent field of psychology, as a way to fight these monsters of modern life that can induce stress, negative thinking and anxiety into others. Positive Psychology focus on people strengths and promotes their flourishing. Known as the “science of wellbeing” it has shown, in many (quasi) experimental studies, impressive results in enhancing people’s wellbeing. Thus, our goal is to present positive strategies and show a “different” way to fight life “real” vampires through Positive Psychology.

Soraia Garcês, Margarida Pocinho and Saúl Neves de Jesus MONEY ARRIVED
Tourists’ wellbeing and myth experiences – building a destination brand

Tourists are each day seeking more and more meaningful experiences where they can learn, feel and immerse in the place they are visiting. Wellbeing and meaning are thus two keywords that we believe are crucial for the current and future of tourism branding. As is occurring in many other systems tourism’ is facing tremendous changes and particular challenges. Therefore, destinations need to offer what it is “on demand” and the “experience economy” is bringing the need to offer more in-depth and different experiences that can enrich people’s lives. Myths can be a “new” way of attraction for people interested in living an original experience while learning about the place. Dracula, Loch Ness or even Roswell are well-known stories and places that have the power to promote curiosity and the desire to visit even if they are not real. People are curious and tourism has in here an opportunity to build a destination brand whereas promoting their unique features as a tourist place. This communication will be focusing on exploring mythology as a creative product that can potentiate tourism and promote a unique experience that can increase tourists’ wellbeing. We will also approach the case of Madeira Island in Portugal and how myths can be a forthcoming offer and an innovative product of differentiation in a well-renown tourism destination and award-winning island.

Penelope J. Goodman (University of Leeds) MONEY ARRIVED
In old Greece, in old Rome: Dracula and Classical antiquity

Bram Stoker’s Dracula may be likened on one level to a magpie’s nest. Themes, motifs, settings, characters and language from multiple sources are skillfully combined and reconfigured to create a new and powerful story-world. Most of Stoker’s influences have been thoroughly analysed by scholars: for example, earlier Gothic and Romantic literature, the history and folklore of eastern Europe and the landscapes of London and Whitby. However, the Classical references within the novel remain under-examined. This paper addresses that gap. That Bram knew his Classics is in no doubt. He could not have got into Trinity College without demonstrating knowledge of Greek and Latin texts, while his subsequent career in the theatre involved regular exposure to Classically-themed stories. Indeed, many of Dracula’s literary predecessors had strong Classical underpinnings: particularly Polidori’s The Vampyre, which unfolds against a backdrop of ruined Greek temples. We should not be surprised to find Stoker perpetuating this tradition. In Dracula itself, Classical references root the title character in antiquity and characterise him as a malign, shape-shifting pagan god. This sits alongside Stoker’s well-recognised assimilation of Dracula to Satan, drawing on the arguments of Church fathers like Eusebius and Augustine that pagan gods were actually demons in disguise. Dracula’s predation on his victims, too, is framed partly in terms of Classical rape stories: specifically those of Persephone, Medusa and Lucretia. Working alongside Stoker’s other, better-studied allusions and motifs, these Classical tropes infuse Dracula with a depth and allure that cannot be fully appreciated until they have been explored.


Content note: this paper discusses and engages with Classical rape stories and with the use of vampiric predation as a literary metaphor for rape. Listener's discretion is advised.

Kishio Sakamoto (Kyoto University of Foreign Studies) MONEY ARRIVED
“Pokemon Go,” a Development through Japanese Tradition of Monsters

“Pokemon Go,” a social game, neutralizes traditional borders between reality and fiction, the poor and the rich and etc.  This neutralization may have a potential to reconstruct these borders to bring a new way of communication and to introduce a new or post-colonial subject to overcome the traditional discrimination.   You might have seen people facing a smartphone and gathering at some places around you, they are hunting pokemons.  The hunters capture pokemons in a smartphone screen for a fighting in a virtual arena.  These catchers living in the real world physically move to the spot themselves to meet the game lovers.  They share the love of the game, but they are just a number of unspecified people who temporary interact virtually or in the reality.  This interaction in the community is different from the traditional relationship between humans and monsters in the Japanese society.   The Japanese society has produced a variety of monsters at the border between the known and the unknown through the centuries along with the animistic way of life.  However, since episteme based on natural history spread in the later 19th century, monsters began to lose realistic ties with humans and to become just Michel Foucault’s“representation” created by naming things and to be subjects of pleasure, not fear.  Moreover, in the 20th century, human mind was explored, gradually, the border was rendered ambiguous, which, we could see through “Pokemon Go,” has unsettled the traditional relations in the human world in the 21st century.

Nina Anna Trzaska (University of Adam Mickiewicz) MONEY ARRIVED
Vrykolakas, the Greek vampire in accounts and other sources

Nowadays, Greece is not commonly associated with vampire lore. From time to time some Ancient Greek demons are mentioned in specialist literature, but rarely anything on the topic of proper Greek vampires can be found. For example, today, Santorini is viewed as a popular holiday destination rather than the most vampire-infested place on earth. Hardly anybody remembers that the first ‘scientific’ work dedicated to vampires was written by Greek author, Leo Allatius. Moreover, in many Greek areas there were even groups of professional vampire exterminators. Hence, the main subject of my speech is to present the silhouette of Greek vampire, vrykolakas, using written sources such as demotic songs, tractate of Leo Allatius, accounts of G.F. Abbot or Joseph Pitton de Tournefort, work of George Horton, Murray’s handbook, article of Demetracopoulou Lee and other sources. The presentation of Greek beliefs is crucial for Vampire Studies, because the Greek element is strongly visible in first vampire stories, poems and novels, such as Goethe’s The Bride of Corinth, Keats’ Lamia, Polidori’s The Vampyre, Tolstoi’s Amene and many others.

Svetlana Seibel (Saarland University) MONEY ARRIVED
“Let Me Not Start at the Beginning of my Life”: On Vampire Life Writing

With the publication of Fred Saberhagen’s The Dracula Tape (1975) and Anne Rice’s Interview With the Vampire (1976), the 1970s had witnessed a significant change in the constitution of vampire narratives – the one in which the vampire became not only the protagonist of her or his story, but also its narrator. These two novels have set in motion a lasting trend in literature and other narrative media by virtue of which the figure of a vampire has graduated from a voiceless monster to an articulate (auto)biographer. As a result of this shift, the gaze of these new vampire protagonists as well as their audiences has turned inwards, awarding the vampire a particular kind of personhood. In this paper, I propose to explore a selection of first-person vampire narratives as examples of a vampire life writing, paying special attention to the ways in which they conform to or subvert (or, in fact, both) the conventions of life writing through the act of narrating an unlife.

Diego Paleólogo Assunção/ Yuri Garcia Piedade Kurylo (UFRJ –Universidade Federal do Rio de Janeiro / UERJ – State University of Rio de Janeiro) MONEY ARRIVED
The Vampire as a Political Metaphor in Brazilian Post-Coup: monsters and villains kidnap the future

In this presentation, we will map the eruption of the vampire as a strong imagery representation of the current president of Brazil Michel Temer. Since he took over, after a political coup orchestrated to overthrow President Dilma Rousseff, his figure becomes strongly associated with the vampire. It was, however, during the parade of the samba schools of Rio de Janeiro in 2018 that his appearance took place in its most spectacular form. The Paraíso da Tuití Samba School, with the plot ‘My God, My God, is slavery extinct?’, with a strong criticism of the current government, mapped and interconnected Brazil’s colonial and exploratory processes with Temer’s policies and austerity packages - radically warning of the loss of workers’ rights, the retreat of social achievements of minorities etc. In the last parade car, the great highlight was a history teacher incorporating a pale vampire with the presidential track. The vampire’s connection to politics is not exactly new. As an image, it returns in the disturbance of time, in the intention to resist or destroy, to corrupt or to save - but invariably in a parasitic position in relation to life. The vampire also engenders, as Nina Auerbach points in Our Vampire, Ourselves (1995), the anxieties, fears and problems of each epoch in which it arises. As in a symptomatic ritual, it is summoned by the imaginary to account, to catalyze political tensions and in a country like Brazil, the monster appears as a president imposed after a nefarious political coup.

Yuri Garcia Piedade Kurylo (UERJ – State University of Rio de Janeiro) MONEY ARRIVED (see above)
“I am Dracula” or “We are Dracula”? The many vampires in cinema

The presentation focuses on introducing an overall view of the changes found in Dracula through literature and cinema. By trying to outline a history of the famous character in the movies and his diverse transpositions, it is possible to identify important changes that the difference between the media allows. The literary vampire has unexplored features that are not very commonly portrayed on the screen. The audiovisual Dracula is not the same Dracula as the one in Bram Stokers words and these differences can be seen in many aspects, such as appearance, abilities, intentions or even in the main plot. With almost a century of existence on the silver screen (considering the 1922 Nosferatu or the lost 1921 Hungarian movie Drakula as the first cinematic Draculas), the famous villain was imagined under many versions in many movies and his image has been mutating since then. This analysis is based in two previous works: the book “Drácula, o vampiro camaleônico” (Dracula’the chameleonic vampire, 2014) and the paper “Drácula, o imortal do cinema: uma arqueologia das encarnações do famoso vampiro no audiovisual” (Dracula, the immortal of cinema: an archaeology of the incarnations of the famous vampire in the audiovisual, 2017)


Dax Stokes, Librarian, Texas (per Skype)
The Un-Orthodox Vampire: Heresy, Mysticism, and the Eastern Church’s Creation of the Undead

While many of the modern day religious ideas associated with vampires are taken from Roman Catholicism, it is the mystical nature of the Eastern Orthodox Church, that provides many of the superstitions surrounding the Vampire and other revenants. From the creation of vampires to the dispatching of them, Orthodox theological ideas are at the root of the Vampire myth. This presentation will focus on how the mystical nature of Orthodox theology helped create the modern day Vampire legends of Eastern Europe, and the world.