For those who are not aware, the University of Hertfordshire is home to a interdisciplinary research project on Vampires and the Undead in Modern Culture called ‘Open Graves, Open Minds‘ (now extended to include those more hirsute cousins – werewolves). The name of the project comes from Daniel Water’s Generation Dead series, and it a slogan to encourage the social inclusion of those who are ‘differently biotic’. The lead contact is Dr Sam George who runs the MA Literature Module ‘Reading the Vampire: Science, Sexuality and Alterity in Modern Culture’.
From a personal point of view, the ‘Open Graves, Open Minds’ conference in 2010 was my introduction into the world of academic vampire studies and was hugely inspirational when writing my MA dissertation.
I am therefore over the moon (slight lycanthropic pun intended) to say that there is now the OGOM blog which articulates far more eloquently the aims and achievements of the project. As well as this Sam George is offering an undergraduate module entitled ‘Generation Dead: YA Fiction and the Gothic‘ – the reading list is posted on the OGOM blog and includes the eponymous Generation Dead. Now, that may seem plenty, but hold onto your horses, hats, and underskirts if necessary as there is also the ‘Company of Wolves’ conference coming in July 2015 looking at werewolves, shape-shifters and feral children. (It’s okay to loosen your corset and grab your smelling salts at this point).
Which if nothing else proves there is no better time to be studying the Gothic in all its guises (Gothic: the ultimate shape-shifter?). For further encouragement there was recently a wonderful blog posted on ‘The Gothic Imagination’ website entitled ‘Why Study the Gothic’ – extra points for the use of the Boromir/ Sean Bean meme. Well worth a read over a cup of tea and chocolate digestive.