ariad: (btvs // go hand in hand)
[personal profile] ariad
As some of you know, I am leading a Buffy the Vampire Slayer course next semester at my university. I'm a senior at UC Berkeley, and we have a program that allows undergrads to design and facilitate pass/no pass courses. A couple of examples that will be offered next semester are Intro to Soviet Animation and The History of Queer Comics. The DeCal program also allows courses designed around television series, and my Buffy the Vampire Slayer course, which I am inheriting from this semester's fabulous facilitator who laid the very impressive groundwork for the class, is one of them.

My co-facilitator and I are currently gathering readings to go with our chosen episodes. These readings come mostly from Slayage: The Journal of the Whedon Studies Association and Rhonda Wilcox's Why Buffy Matters, with a few essays from Lorna Jowett's Sex and the Slayer, James B. South's Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Philosophy: Fear and Trembling in Sunnydale, and Rhonda Wilcox and David Lavery's Fighting the Forces: What's at Stake in Buffy the Vampire Slayer.

When we finalize our list, I'll post it on this journal, but for now, I'll recommend a few of my favorite readings that come immediately to mind. I don't agree with all of them 100%, but they make damn good cases. [edit: The descriptions below say what the essays argue, but as with all things, I recommend reading them very critically before subscribing to their interpretation.] Most of these are from Slayage, and the links are all to PDFs.

Stacey Abbott, "A Little Less Ritual and a Little More Fun: The Modern Vampire in Buffy the Vampire Slayer"
Abbott examines the transition of depictions of vampires from a traditional, pseudo-religious representation of the “old,” as seen in the Master and his cult, to the anarchic, pop culture-referencing modern vampire that is Spike.

Michele Boyette, "The Comic Anti-Hero in Buffy the Vampire Slayer, or Silly Villain: Spike is for Kicks"
Boyette argues that in order for Spike to be redeemed, he had to first be comedic. In doing so, she provides a wonderful examination of the evolution of Spike's portrayal.

Kevin K. Durand, "'Are You Ready to Finish This?': The Battle Against the Patriarchal Forces of Darkness"
An essay about how Caleb is an unsubtle character but that he is a lens through which we can interpret other patriarchal, hierarchical figures, particularly the Watchers' Council and the Shadow Men, and see them as instantiations of the First.

Greg Forster, "Faith and Plato: 'You're Nothing! Disgusting, Murderous Bitch!'"
A chapter from Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Philosophy. Argues that Buffy is a eudaimonist text and that this is expressed especially through the character of Faith in Season 4. Great analysis of the series' moral code.

Gert Magnusson, "Are Vampires Evil?: Categorizations of Vampires, and Angelus and Spike as the Immoral and the Amoral"
I've actually not read this yet because it came out as I was writing one of my term papers, but look at that title! We necessarily spent a lot of time this semester discussing Angelus' and Spike's morality, and I am eager to have this essay change the course of that conversation for next semester.

Em McAvan, "'I Think I'm Kinda Gay': Willow Rosenberg and the Absent/Present Bisexual in Buffy the Vampire Slayer"
McEvan discusses the potential problem of bisexual erasure in the depiction of Willow's sexual orientation but does so in a way that does not discount the legitimacy of how she identifies. Also discusses how the show codes bisexuality and kink as evil.

Rhonda Wilcox, "I Think I Can Name Myself"
Chapter 3 from Why Buffy Matters, about identity formation, especially in the characters of Anya and Spike.

Rhonda Wilcox, "Fear: The Princess Screamed Once"
Chapter 9 from Why Buffy Matters that focuses on the episode "Hush." Wilcox hits a number of different topics in this chapter, including depictions of successful and unsuccessful communication in the episode and Riley Finn as a representation of the patriarchy.

Enjoy! Later on, I'll also post some of my reading responses from this semester, including responses to Durand, McEvan, and Wilcox.
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