Once again, we are opening up the digital doors of Signum University. Our Folkloric Transformations class this semester is treating the theme of Vampires and Big Bad Wolves. The transformation of vampire folklore and superstition into folktales, novels, films and television, and popular culture gives us a huge library to browse through in the course. Frankly, we can’t get it all done in our normal weekly class sessions.
So the preceptors, Dr. Maggie Parke and myself, have decided to have an out-of-hours class session and open it up to the wider world. My session is “The Anatomy of the Vampire Myth.” I am using a “whiteboard” approach, making mental maps and literary links between critical aspects of vampire stories, looking for the mythic links. Maggie’s class is on adaptation. Everything in vampire lore is a kind of adaptation, but her specialty will allow attendees to dive deep on box office adaptations and fan reactions.
Open Class: The Anatomy of the Vampire Myth, with Dr. Brenton Dickieson (Tues, Oct 13, 6pm Eastern)
The vampire tale is one of the stories that we study at Signum University as a “Folkloric Transformation”–a story that moves from folklore to folktale, into the stories of the West and the modern novel, and finally into adaptation and pop culture. Wrapped into vampire lore are some mythic ideas that occur again and again–foundational stories about blood, sacrifice, love, life, and humanity. In this “whiteboard” workshop session with Prof. Brenton Dickieson, we will attempt to sketch out the “anatomy” of the vampire myth using concept mapping. Audience participation is key, so bring your favourite vampire tales to this open class session.
About the Teacher
Besides teaching in the literature department at Signum University, Dr. Brenton Dickieson is Lecturer in Literature at The King’s College in New York City, Lecturer in Theology and Literature at Maritime Christian College in Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island, Sessional Instructor in the Centre for the Study of Christianity and Culture at the University of Prince Edward Island, and Instructor in Spiritual Theology at Regent College in Vancouver, BC. He also does freelance speaking and writing and is the author of the popular Faith, Fiction, and Fantasy blog A Pilgrim In Narnia.
About Signum Open Classes
Signum University runs special classes as part of our mission to establish an open and globally accessible digital campus. These classes are linked to specific master’s courses but are open to everyone whether they are a Signum master’s student or not. The teaching is interactive and accessible, requiring no prior knowledge… only an active interest and intellectual curiosity!
Open Class: Adaptations and Fandoms, with Dr. Maggie Parke
Note, this great class is already complete. See the video below.
In this open class, Dr Maggie Parke will discuss something everyone has a strong opinion on – turning our favorite books into films (and games, tv shows, merchandise, theme parks…) – for better or for worse. She will walk us through the process, and discuss the industry engagement with the fans in the process of translating a textual work to a visual one, how that affects reception, engagement, and box office return.
About the Teacher
Maggie Parke earned her PhD in Film and Digital Media from Bangor University, Wales UK, with her specialty in the Creative Industries. She focused on the adaptation processes of event films and fan management, and her research included working on the sets of Twilight (2008), Captain America (2009), case studies of The Golden Compass, The Lord of the Rings, Eragon, Harry Potter, and The Dark is Rising. She also worked on the Academy Award shortlisted short, Love at First Sight (2010), as well conducted research at the game design company Turbine Inc., makers of The Lord of the Rings Online (LOTRO) and DC Comic’s Infinite Crisis.
She currently works in both education and the film industry, developing projects, editing scripts, and consulting on fan management, while also lecturing at Signum University and CAPA University’s London campus. She also works with Universities Wales promoting and enabling International Education. She has been published in The Journal of Gaming and Virtual Worlds (2009), co-edited a book of Critical Essays on Twilight, published by McFarland (2011), writes for Hypable.com, has a chapter on ‘Utilising Fans in the Adaptation Process of The Lord of the Rings’ (2015) in Intellect Publishing’s Fan Phenomena series, and has written the forward and was interviewed about her work on Twilight in their Twilight edition (2016).
These open classes link to ideas in the Folkloric Transformations: Vampires & Big Bad Wolves course.