'Buffy' academic conferences. Discuss.

Buffy_lThe third Slayage Conference on the Whedonverses (SC3) kicks off todayat Henderson State University in Arkansas. It’s not the first scholarly gathering devoted to Buffy the Vampire Slayer. I remember speaking to Joss Whedon in 2002, about a UK academic conference called Blood, Text, and Fears. He said he wished he could be there to hear the live debate on the paper titled "The Spike/Buffy Relationship: Law, Morals, Rape and S&M; orYou Always Hurt the One You Love." Still, more than 90 papers will be presented at SC3, which covers BtVS, Angel, Firefly, and Whedon’s film career. You can check out the program on the conference’s site. Which titles speak to you? My picks:

Buffy the Vampire Slayer:
• "’When You Kiss Me, I Want to Die': Gothic Relationships and Social Taboos on BtVS"
• "A Sexy Fuddy-Duddy and a Woman Who Knows How to Moisturize: Adulthood, Authority, and Sex in BtVS" [Giles and Joyce!!!]
• "’Kicking Ass Is Comfort Food': Girlie Feminism, Violence, and the Slayer"
• "… And Yet': The Limitations of Buffy’s Feminism"
• "’It’s Just… Painful': Love and the Wounded Vampire"
• "The Buffy-Riley Leitmotif and Musical Evidence for the Romantic Conflation of Angel and Riley" [No idea what that means, really, but I like the word conflation.]
• "’Here Endeth the Lesson': Spike’s Torturous Romances and Life Laid Bare"
• "’You Let Him Domesticate You': Anya/Anyanka and Insensitive Interpretations of Consumer and Domestic Stereotypes in Buffy the Vampire Slayer"
• "Lies My Mother Told Me: Moms and Offspring in the Buffyverse. Is Death the Only Gift Mothers Can Give?"
• "’It’s Only Our Methods That Differ. We Use the Latest in Scientific Technology and State-of-the-Art Weaponry, and You… Poke Them with a Sharp Stick': Various Methods for Teaching with Buffy" [There are teachers and professors who use Buffy in the classroom? AWESOME.]

addCredit(“Sarah Michelle Gellar: Richard Cartwright”)

• "’I Don’t Know What Kind of Man I Am Anymore': The Damaged Man in Angel and Post-Angel Cult Television"
• "Cordelia Chase: Sunnydale Cheerleader and L.A. ‘Rogue Demon Huntress,’ the Feminine Myth Deconstructed"
• "Gazing at Male Vampires: Angel’s and Spike’s Bodies as Spectacle" [!!!!!]
• "Nothing Left but Skin and Cartilage: The Body and Toxic Masculinity"
• "To Shanshu or Not to Shanshu"
• "Evil intelligence: Angel versus Angelus"
• "Vampire Noir: How Angel Subverts the Detective Genre"
• "What the Hell? — Angel’s ‘The Girl in Question’"
• "’Sometimes You Have to… Compromise': Lilah as Lawyer" [An unexplored character, I believe.]

• "River Is Wolverine: Whedon Performs a Sex Change"
• "’Big Damn Heroes': The Modernization of Western Archetypes in Joss Whedon’s Firefly"

General Joss
• "New Lines: The Fan and Textual Poaching in the Work of Joss Whedon"
• "Myth, Metaphor, Morality and Monsters: How Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Other Works by Joss Whedon Changed Ethical Thought Forever"
• "The Real Hell Dimension: Joss Whedon’s Film Career" [Ha.]

Your turn.

P.S. If there is an issue in the Whedonverse you’d like to explore,feel free to reveal the title of your forthcoming paper below as well.I’m working on "’… And, I Think It’s Kinda Pretty': Angel’s Third Identity, Fanilow, Demystified."

Comments (31 total) Add your comment
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  • Alissa

    I’m in a master’s program in literature, and one of my classmates is writing her thesis on Buffy the Vampire Slayer. I just fear the day she gets to present it in front of Whedon.

  • Middento

    Yes, Mandi, there are several of us who use Buffy in the classroom. And heck, one of my grad students is at the conference right now. (Go, Lauren!)

  • Heleno

    I read an article on Buffy and law enforcement a few years back… ah yes, here it is: Choosing Laws, Choosing Families: Images of Law, Love and Authority in “Buffy the Vampire Slayer”. And there’s the “Buffy Paradigm”, a phrase coined, if memory serves, by some think tank on terrorism and foreign policy. There’s also a website called something like All things philosophical on Buffy and Angel.
    I think all of this is awesome, and a testament to the show’s surprising complexity. There can’t be many other shows that inspire this sort of thinking (The Simpsons maybe), but I look forward to one day reading “Starbuck: Maverick, Mole or Messiah? Examining Religious Thought in the 21st century”. Or something like that.

  • Sara

    I wish I’d been a Buffy fan while still in college (just caught up on DVD this past year) and could have written a paper on it. This conference sounds awesome.

  • Vlada

    Smart Pop Books has a line of books that sort of tie-in with these kind of academic studies. They’re not quite as seriously focused on theory/philosophy/etc., but they do cover a range of movies, shows and comic book figures from genre fare (Whedon, Farscape, Charmed) to mainstream fare (24, The Matrix, Superheroes).


    Also, in one of my college classes (Gender and Media) I actually had to read an essay from “Sex and the Slayer.”

  • strickens_girl

    I would love to go to something like that. And I actually wrote a paper in college about Buffy in one of my Women’s Studies classes and got an A.

  • Jessica

    Who else is hoping that Dollhouse gets the chance to be included in the 4th annual Slayage conference? Joss Whedon is a master of human emotion and it’s because of his intelligence that others have the ability to present Buffy/Angel/Firefly as academia. I just want to congratulate all those that are participating in the event this year!
    This is my happiest PopWatch day ever! Firefly Fridays and this! I am so blessed:)
    Oh, and I would love to read Evil Intelligence: Angel versus Angelus. Sounds incredibly intriguing.

  • Snarf

    You had me at “Gazing at Male Vampires: Angel’s and Spike’s Bodies as Spectacle” ok. Fine. Works for me.

  • Alissa

    Middento is a professor at my school. This popwatch comments section shas become too surreal.

  • Maggie

    As a senior English major in college, I did an independent study in Pop Culture with the chair of the department, and my final paper/project was on Buffy the Vampire Slayer. And my little sis did her senior English project in high school on archetypal images in Buffy the Vampire Slayer. So much fun and I wish all of my papers could have been such a blast to write!

  • Susan

    I wrote a few papers about Buffy in college (I got to take a class called “Vampire Cinema”). It was awesome! I’m so happy more and more people are using this show as a means for intellectual discussion.

  • Rob Grizzly

    “The Limitations of Buffy’s Feminism” grabs my attention.
    -“It’s Only Our Methods That Differ” also sounds interesting.
    If I did a paper, I’d examine the original Buffy movie, and how Kristy Swanson measures up (or doesn’t) against Sarah Michelle.

  • MSF

    Mandi: What is the context for the “and I think it’s kind of pretty” quote? It’s driving me nuts!

  • Andromeda Strayn

    I was lucky enough to attend Blood, Text, and Fears, and it was an awesome conference. The highlight for me was, unfortunately, not so academic, eating pizza and watching the first two eps of the new season in the local sci-fi shop at midnight. So many great people, and I met one of my best friends there, too. I don’t remember what my submission was about, but it wasn’t accepted. No harm, though, it was far more fun to play spectator.

  • Natalie

    @ MSF-I think it’s about when Angel sang at Caritas the first time (i think) and Lorne asked him why he picked to sing ‘Mandy’.
    He listed reasons and ended with ‘and, i think it’s kinda pretty’. =]

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