Please use this identifier to cite or link to this item: doi:10.22028/D291-27540
Title: Us versus them, or we? Post-2000 vampiric reflections of family, home and hospitality in True Blood and The Originals
Author(s): Bernardi, Verena
Language: English
Year of Publication: 2018
DDC notations: 100 Philosophy
300 Social sciences, sociology, anthropology
420 English
791 Public performances, film, radio, television
810 American literature in English
970 History of North America
Publikation type: Dissertation
Abstract: Since the early 2000s, vampires have had an uninterrupted presence on the big screen as well as the small screen. Continuing the tradition of holding up a mirror to contemporary society, many post-2000 representations of vampires, however, have ceased to function as deterrents to behaviors outside of prescribed social norms. Instead, by focusing on the similarities between the former monsters and humans, vampires – especially those from the post-9/11 era – do substantial cultural work around the changing understanding of humanity in post-2000 Western society. I argue that by using these similarities ultimately call for more tolerance and acceptance in contemporary society, the undead have increasingly come to address the discourses of family, home and hospitality. Throughout this dissertation, True Blood and the Originals serve as case studies to show how twenty-first century vampire television series employ traditional Gothic dichotomies and incorporate posthuman ideologies to portray the humanization of vampires along with the dehumanization or even “monstrification” of humans. Questioning the binary of us versus them, which has been reintroduced and intensified in the age of global terror, international wars and natural catastrophes, twenty-first century representation of vampires’ more progressive realization of the discourses of family, home and hospitality initiates the necessary retrospection of human behavior as well as the acknowledgment that the convergence of continuously humanized monsters and monstrified humans today calls for their summary under a collective “we.” True Blood and The Originals , – both set in Louisiana, the Deep South of America – create an arena which challenges old-fashioned sensibilities of outdated ideologies, which find expression in the fact that parts of American society continue to be prejudiced towards anyone and anything that seems new, unknown or deviant from norms that had often been established arbitrarily a long time ago. Alluding to past and present actions of the U.S. American government, for example, True Blood and The Originals show their viewers that while humanity will be unable to completely defeat evil such as race-related or religious zealotry or terrorism, relations amongst individuals, communities or nations are subject to change, and can indeed be improved. Creating awareness of wrong actions from our politicians as well as our society at large, the vampires in True Blood and The Originals offer us insights into societal, political and cultural ills and impending dilemmas. At the same time, both television series call for the preservation of our hope for a peaceful coexistence and the improvement of humanity’s humanity, ultimately demanding to break the habit of classifying individuals into pre-defined categories.
Link to this record: urn:nbn:de:bsz:291-scidok-ds-275407
Advisor: Fellner, Astrid M.
Date of oral examination: 7-Nov-2018
Date of registration: 27-Nov-2018
Faculty: P - Philosophische Fakultät
Department: P - Anglistik, Amerikanistik und Anglophone Kulturen
Collections:SciDok - Der Wissenschaftsserver der Universität des Saarlandes

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