Media in the (18)90s: Buffy vs. Dracula

Satisfies the requirement for English 1C, an advanced writing course that emphasizes the analysis and interpretation of texts.


English 1C serves as an advanced English writing course that asks students not only to read literature, but also to “read” other forms of media in relation to past and present cultural climates. In this way, reading becomes as important as writing; this course asks students to think about the power and meaning behind language, images, fashion, music, etc. By engaging with a variety of texts and topics, students will gain the critical thinking skills that enable them to actively contribute to their own media and cultural environments.

Our section will focus on one “traditional” literary text, and one less-traditional piece of media, which entered popular culture exactly 100 years apart: Bram Stoker’s Dracula (1897) and Joss Whedon’s Buffy the Vampire Slayer (1997). Don’t worry—this is NOT a class solely about vampires. Rather, we will explore the thematic similarities between texts from Britain in the 1890s, and the U.S. in the 1990s. Students will examine how these texts employ media technologies, reference other media objects, and address similar issues, like xenophobia and contagion, as well as similar positive changes, such as feminist movements, technological advancements, and more.