Learning Communities Into the Woods: Cultural Tourism, History and Folklore in Eastern Europe
"Into the Woods: Cultural Tourism, History and Folklore in Eastern Europe" draws on folklore, history, and myth about vampires and revenants to examine popular representations of both vampires and Eastern Europe past and present.
Students will travel to Romania to visit a number of places associated with Vlad Tepes, the inspiration for Bram Stoker's Dracula.
At these sites we will explore how the Romanian tourist trade utilizes the Dracula story and images of Eastern Europe to appeal to a Western audience and how these images of magic and mystery contrast with historical record as well as the concerns of contemporary Romanians.
- "All my life I have been fascinated by the horror and vampire genres. The current popularity of the "Twilight" novels and Showtime's "True Blood" series attest to the allurement of vampires in our current American culture. Behind such fictional characters and myths lurk historical figures whose lives, in turn, have been embellished and mythologized through centuries of folk storytelling. Together with my colleagues and students, I want to investigate these historical myths from both an historical and anthropological approach first hand by visiting Transylvania to see how the 'land of Dracul' presents its history to the touring public." -- Rev. Kevin P. Spicer, C.S.C.
- "For me what is fascinating about vampire stories is how they project American fears and fantasies onto Eastern Europe, and how these images contrast with the folklore and culture of a region that I have spent much of my life as a scholar seeking to understand on its own terms." -- Dr. Erica Tucker