Immortal exhibition

Wright State English students’ study of vampire literature will impact them forever

If you happened to walk past the Allyn Hall lobby on April 25, you may have thought you were at a wake or memorial. Over two dozen Wright State University students, faculty and staff were dressed in black clothing while music by Taylor Swift filled the background. 

Students in the Studies in Literary Theory course offered by the School of Humanities and Cultural Studies created a Vampire Exhibition as their final project and culminating experience for the class. 

“I thought this was one of the best classes I’ve ever been in,” said Miranda Stidham, a junior majoring in English who created a Taylor Swift playlist and a display explaining how certain Swift songs represent various vampire novels. 

Students read Bram Stoker’s “Dracula” and Stephenie Meyer’s “Twilight” and conducted research and wrote essays for the English course. The final project required students to think creatively and critically about what they researched and curate an object based on their thoughts about vampires. 

Keri Friend, a junior majoring in English, filled blood donor bags with various flavors of Kool-Aid and distributed them to her classmates and attendees. “Four different flavors and colors for the four different men that gave their blood to Lucy in ‘Dracula,’” Friend said. 

The exhibition also featured vampire dentures, a garlic press, portraits of characters from “Interview with the Vampire,” a coffin selfie station and a model of Bella Swan’s room from “Twilight.” 

“The class takes vampires seriously as representations in literature,” said Crystal Lake, Ph.D., professor of English, who instructed the spring course. “We don’t think vampires are real, but we do think that vampires have important things to tell us about what we believe and value.” 

Lake said the 25 students who participated in the exhibition had to adhere to a high degree of professionalism when developing the exhibition, which will benefit them for the rest of their lives. 

“Whether they are doing that for a class on vampires or for any other topic or professional context, they now have the skills to do that based on this experience,” said Lake.

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