Friday, May 13, 2005

"I wrote my thesis on you!": Buffy Studies as an Academic Cult

"I wrote my thesis on you!": Buffy Studies as an Academic Cult. This article gives a good overview to the growing status of Buffy the Vampire Slayer in academia. I will note that many librarians are part of this group. How many TV series feature a librarian as a main character and regularly show the cast engaged in library research?

From the site:

At Spike’s crypt a female Watcher named Lydia presses Spike in order to understand why it is that he sometimes cooperates with the current Slayer when, in his own bloody past, he has killed two of Buffy’s forebears. A clearly flattered Spike replies, "Heard of me, have you?" While two male Watchers ready their weapons in fear of the legendary vampire, Lydia herself, embarrassed as only an academic can be embarrassed, replies, "I . . . wrote my thesis on you!"

When I chose these words for my title, I did so because they represented, in a series both intertextual and self-referential, a wonderful moment in which the Buffyverse seemed almost to acknowledge and even to anticipate the extraordinary field of Buffy Studies then just beginning to bud. January 2001—the month in which "Checkpoint" first aired—also saw the debut of Slayage: The Online International Journal of Buffy Studies, a venue for serious consideration of Buffy originally inspired by the gross of submissions the editors of Fighting the Forces: What’s at Stake in Buffy the Vampire Slayer received from BtVS scholars around the world hoping to become players in this new academic playing field.

Now, a year and a half after BtVS came to its end after seven seasons, Buffy Studies is in full bloom. As Emily Nussbaum noted in an article entitled "Sick of ‘Buffy’ Cultists? You Ain’t Seen Nothing Yet" in the New York Times in June 2003, the demise of the show could well result in more rather than less posthumous interest in the show, positively encouraging devotees, both fans and scholars, to "live in the past."

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