Organized by Claire Thomson, Carol O'Sullivan, Catherine Fuller, and Scott Mackenzie. BTF was the first conference devoted solely to BtVS. Hosted by the University of East Anglia in Norwich, England, the conference was held on October 19th and 20th, 2002. The best papers from the conference will be published in a forthcoming book.

Program for the UK Buffy Conference | Abstracts  | Stephanie Zacherkek' s Report (in on the conference



Abbott | Aberdein | Aloi | Amy-Chinn | Barker | Barlaam | Beeler | Bloustien | Bradney | Briggs | Chin | Collinson | Cook | Davies | Fitzpatrick / Fischer / McCourt | Gatti / Ribero | Gray | Halfyard | Heinecken | Hills | Hodson | Introvigne | Jacob | Jenkins / Stuart | Jones | Jowett | Kaveney | Knights | Krzywinska | Lambert | Lavery | Levy | MacKenzie | Melton | Mills | Moen  | Money | Morley | Mukherjea / Bussolini / Willse | O’Sullivan | Patton | Paule / Davison | Pomeroy | Rambo | Roberts | Rose | Sanders | Saxey | Seidl-Arpaci | Simkin | South | Thomson | Walmsley | Wardell | Wiley | Zacharek

The Un-Dead Auteur | Cultural Identities | A History of the Vampire GenreLanguage I: Tropes of Translation | Flesh / Food: Vampire Ecologies | Mythologies and Modernity | Blood, Spirit, Bodies, Technology | Sex and Violence | Families and Transformation | Music I | The Para-televisual | Fandom I: Teenage Audiences | Pathologizing Marginality | Science and magic | Topographies | Death Duties: Theology & Destiny | Language II: Speech Acts (How to Do Things with (S)words) | Queering Buffy and Angel | Narrative Arcs | Wicked women | Slashers and Shippers | Music II | Fandoms II: Fan Communities


The Un-dead Auteur

Chair: Peter Krämer

Cultural Identities

Chair: Neil Ewen

A History of the Vampire Genre

Chair: Lorcan McGrane

J. W. Briggs: Unaired Pilot or Bad Quarto: Textual Problems in Buffy and Shakespeare in an Internet Age

J. Gray: Resurrecting The Author: Joss Whedon’s Place In Buffy’s Textual Universe

D. Lavery: A Religion in Narrative: Joss Whedon and Television Creativity

S. MacKenzie: "We few, we happy few…we band of buggered": The Importance of Being English in BtVS

A. Davies: Passing for American: British and Vampire Identities in Buffy

A. Seidl-Arpaci: Imaginary Para-Sites of the Soul: Representations of 'Race' and 'Culture' in Angel

M. Introvigne: Brainwashing the Working Class: Vampire Comics and Criticism from Dr. Occult to Buffy

R. Roberts: From Metropolis to Melrose Place: Morphic Resonance in BtVS

  J. G. Melton: Playing with Dracula: Joss Whedon’s Creative Adaptation of the Vampire Genre


Language I: Tropes of Translation

Chair: C. Thomson

Flesh / Food: Vampire Ecologies

Chair: Roz Kaveney

Mythologies and Modernity

Chair: Amaia Gabantxo

G. Gatti / F. Ribero: The Buffyspeak

C. O’Sullivan: ‘Deprimere ille babula linter?: crossing over, reading through and puzzling out in the Buffyverse’

A. Pomeroy: “Don’t Speak Latin in Front of the Books”

D. Collinson: What’s Up With Vampires Anyway? (The science of the undead in the Buffyverse)

J. Rose: “It’ll go straight to your thighs”: food and drink issues in BtVS’ and ‘Angel’

L. E. Jones: Slaying: The Stakes of the Warrior

N. Morley: History as Nightmare

K. Lambert: The Fool (for Love): Spike as Trickster


Blood, Spirit, Bodies, Technology

Chair: Matt Weyland

Sex and Violence

Chair: Sarah Salih

Families and Transformation

Chair: Scott MacKenzie

Blood, Spirit, Bodies, and Technology in BtVS

J. Bussolini, A. Mukherjea, C. Willse (CUNY)

S. Simkin: "You hold your gun like a sissy girl": Firearms and Anxious Masculinity in BtVS

T. Cook: White Trash(ing): Spike as Site of Resistance

S. Zacharek: Modern and Mythical Sexuality in BtVS

A. Bradney: Choosing Laws, Choosing Families: Images of Law, Love and Authority in BtVS

K. Moen: "Can’t Even Shout, Can’t Even Cry, The Gentlemen are Coming By": The Articulation of Change in BtVS


Music I

Chair: Daniel Kane

The Para-televisual

Chair: Ann Davies

Fandom I: Teenage Audiences

Chair: Geraint Evans

J. Halfyard: Singing Their Hearts Out: Performance, Sincerity and Musical Diegesis in BtVS and Angel

V. Knights: Sound, Silence, Score and Song in BtVS

T. Krzywinska: Playing Buffy: Form, Tension And Interactivity In The Video-Game Version Of Btvs

S. Levy: Unheimlich Manoeuvres: How BtVS Saved My World

M. Paule / L.Davison: School Harder – Using Buffy The Vampire Slayer To Stretch Young Minds

H. Sanders: From The Screen To The Scene: Representations Of The Teen Witch In Btvs And Its Impact Upon Teen Girl Identity In Contemporary Britain


Pathologizing Marginality

Chair: Doug Cowie

Science and magic

Chair: Stephanie Millar


Chair: Catherine Fuller

Pathologizing Marginality: Sickness, Limnality, and Otherness in Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Angel

-- University of California, Riverside: J.Pinson, C. Firtha, B. Ptalis, M. Mariano

A. Aberdein: Balderdash and Chicanery: Science and beyond in BtVS

C. Wardell: Taking the Initiative: Science and Agency in Buffy the Vampire Slayer

S. Beeler: Overloading the Operator: Computers, Sex and Magic

B. Jacob: Los Angelus: The City of Angel

C. Thomson: She Who Hangs Out in Graveyards (and Libraries): A Heterotopology of Sunnydale


Death Duties: Theology & Destiny

Chair: tbc

Language II: Speech Acts (How to Do Things with (S)words)

Chair: Claire Thomson

Queering Buffy and Angel

Chair: Corin Depper

L. C. Patton: Horror, Hope and Heroes: Practical Theology in BtVS

J. South: ‘They show up, they scare us, I beat them up, and they leave’: the Dialectic of Self-Knowledge in BtVS

J. Hodson: "You made a wish to someone you’ve never seen before?": the dangerous power of speech acts in BtVS

L. Hills: Blood sausage, bangers, and mash: British English and Britishness in ‘BtVS’

A. Jenkins / S.Stuart: Extending Your Mind: The Role Of Non-Standard Perlocutionary Acts In Buffy

M. Barker: Slashing the Slayer: Thematic Analysis of Homo-erotic Buffy Fan Fiction

S. Barlaam: Tuning Bodies In Tv Series: the Straight and the Gay Male Body in ‘Angel ’ and ‘Queer as Folk’

D. Amy-Chinn: Queering the Bitch: Spike, Transgression and Erotic Empowerment


Narrative Arcs

Chair: Rhonda Wilcox

Wicked women

Chair: Ben Moderate

Slashers and Shippers

Chair: Roz Kaveney

E. Rambo: Yeats’s Entropic Gyre and Season Six of BtVS

S. Abbott: Walking a fine line between Angel and Angelus

M. Money: Pylea: A Fairytale for the Buffyverse

L. Jowett: Drusilla: Disruptive Monster, Dark Goddess, Daddy’s Girl

C. Walmsley: Good Girls Go To Hell – The ‘Other’ Willow

P. Aloi: Leaves of Dark Willow: Beyond the Metaphor of Magical Addiction

D. Heinecken: Fan Readings of Sex and Violence on BtVS

E. Saxey: Why is BtVS so Slashable?

B. Chin: Battle Of The ‘Ships’


Music II

Chair: Hannah Sanders

Fandoms II: Fan Communities

Chair: Carol O'Sullivan


C. Wiley: "I Believe the Subtext Here is Rapidly Becoming Text": Music, Gender and Fantasy in BtVS

M. Mills: Meaning and Myth: Leitmotivic Procedures in the Musical Underscore to Angel, Season One

G. Bloustien: Buffy Night at the Seven Stars

J. Fitzpatrick / J. Fischer / A. McCourt: Parasocialism and BtVS



Closing plenary: Roz Kaveney & panel: ‘Where do we go from here? Critical Responses To Buffy In The Aftermath Of Season Six And Angel In The Aftermath Of Season Three.

Chair: Scott MacKenzie



Unaired Pilot or Bad Quarto: Textual Problems in Buffy and Shakespeare in an Internet Age

John W. Briggs, Independent Scholar, UK.


The first published version of Hamlet, the so-called Bad Quarto, is about half the length of the familiar version, with scenes missing or in a different order, and with famous speeches having different words. This is strikingly similar to the case of the 'unaired pilot' of Buffy the Vampire Slayer, which only lasts 25 minutes, has a different actress playing Willow, and a Buffy with brown hair. There are parallels too in its position outside the canon and its unofficial or pirate status of publication. This paper examines the genesis of the opening episodes of Series One of Buffy the Vampire Slayer, from writer's first draft to completed episode, concentating on the pivotal role of the unaired pilot, and drawing on textual studies of film, plays and, of course, Shakespearean texts. A chronological reconstruction of events surrounding the shooting of the 'unaired pilot' is attempted. Some interesting and anomalous features of the 'unaired pilot' are discussed. The various types of Shakespearean text, Bad Quarto, Good Quarto and Folio are introduced, together with the various theories over their origins, and the problems they present are outlined, as are the parallels with the various Buffy texts. I seek to show that the field of textual scholarship, and Shakespearean textual studies in particular, has sufficient in common with Buffy studies for them to be mutually beneficial. A close study of the characteristics of both the Bad Quarto and the 'unaired pilot', using some of the same analytical techniques, can help illuminate the processes that led to their creation.




Jonathan Gray -- Goldsmiths College


The author, Roland Barthes tells us, is dead. But if Buffy the Vampire Slayer has taught us anything, it is that what is dead can return, can be brought back ... albeit in new form. In this paper, then, I will argue that authors once more live amongst us, and I will focus on Joss Whedon as archetype of a growing new breed of author. Far from having been replaced by the Producer (as political economy approaches to popular culture would dictate), or wholly overtaken and possessed by the text (a la more textual approaches), Whedon is *and is seen as* an active force in both the production and reception of Buffy and Angel. As such, this paper argues that to understand texts such as Buffy and to fully appreciate their situatedness and significance in popular culture, we would be wise to once again talk of the author. Whereas Barthes's act of killing the author represented a strategic attempt to empower the reader, and to encourage more critical reflection upon the reader, we are now in a position where we should and must resurrect the author. Consequently, this study of Joss Whedon's place in the Buffyverse, its audiences interactions with it, and their discussion and construction of Whedon will take some preliminary steps towards re-theorising contemporary (inter)relations between author, reader, producer, text, television, and intertext. Although theoretical by nature, this paper will draw on Internet fan discussion of Whedon and Buffy, on interviews with Whedon, and will draw parallels with other, 'undead' authors such as Matt Groening and Chris Carter. The paper, therefore, aims to offer not only new ways to consider authorship, but also new ways to consider Buffy.


Jonathan Gray

Goldsmiths College,

University of London



Proposal for Blood, Texts, and Fears: Reading Around Buffy the Vampire Slayer

Joss Whedon: Television Auteur

David Lavery, Middle Tennessee State University


"[B]ecause of the technological complexity of the medium and as a result of the application to most commercial television production of the principles of modern industrial organization . . . ," Robert C. Allen writes, "it is very difficult to locate the ‘author’ of a television program—if by that we mean the single individual who provides the unifying vision behind the program."


Buffy the Vampire Slayer, however, would seem to present no such problem. In addition to being, for the first five seasons, BtVS’ obsessive, hands-on creator and executive producer, Joss Whedon has written/co-written 21 episodes and directed 19 of them. Though (by his own admission) he knew very little about directing and virtually nothing about creating a television show prior to helming BtVS, Whedon has turned out some of the series’—and contemporary television’s—most memorable, and most innovative, episodes, including "Innocence," "Becoming" (I and II), "Hush," "Restless," "The Body," and "Once More, with Feeling."


Through careful examination of writing, themes, narrative style, and "televisuality," my talk at Blood, Texts, and Fears will offer a new-auteurist reading of Joss Whedon’s work on Buffy.



Allen, Robert C. "Introduction to the Second Edition: More Talk about TV." Channels of Discourse, Reassembled. Ed. Robert C. Allen. Chapel Hill, NC: University of North Carolina Press, 1992. 1-30.

Caldwell, John Thornton. Televisuality: Style, Crisis, and Authority in American Television. New Brunswick: Rutgers University Press, 1995.

Lavery, David "The Genius of Joss Whedon." Afterword to Fighting the Forces: What’s at Stake in Buffy the Vampire Slayer. Ed. Rhonda V. Wilcox and David Lavery. Boulder, CO: Rowman and Littlefield, 2002: 251-56.

Longworth, James. "Joss Whedon: Feminist." TV Creators: Conversations with America’s Top Producers of Television Drama. Vol. 2. The Television Series. Syracuse: Syracuse UP, 2002: 197-220.

Whedon, Joss. Commentary. "Welcome to the Hellmouth" and "The Harvest. Buffy the Vampire Slayer: The Complete First Season. DVD 2002.

___. Interview with BBC Online

___. Interview with David Bianculli. Fresh Air 9 May 2000. Available online at

___. Interview with ET Online

___. Interview with Fanforum

___. Interview with Fraxis.

___. Interview with The Watcher’s Web.

___. Interview. Angel + The Puppet Show. Videocassette. Twentieth Century Fox, 1998.

___. Interview. Buffy the Vampire Slayer. "Welcome to the Hellmouth/The Harvest." Videocassette

___. Interview. Welcome to the Hellmouth. Videocassette, 1998.

___. "joss says: (Thu May 27 08:26:10 1999)." Online posting. 27 May 1999. The Bronze VIP Posting Board Archives. 25 July 2000. <>.

___. "Joss Whedon" (interview with Tasha Robinson). The Onion AV Club



‘We few, we happy few…we band of buggered’: The Importance of Being English in BtVS

Scott MacKenzie, Film and Television Studies, University of East Anglia


One of the most striking aspects of BtVS is not the fact that Sunnydale is virtually over-run by vampires; rather, what’s most bizarre is that this Californian town is over-run by English people. And ‘Englishness’ in the context of BtVS is not simply one ethnic identity amongst many; instead it functions as a dual signifier of both power and danger, at times simultaneously. The duality that lies at the heart of representations of ‘Englishness’ in BtVS can be seen as a shift away from the straightforward notion of ‘Englishness’ as ‘otherness’ so often invoked by Hollywood in the past. For instance, posh, ‘RP’ English accents have functioned in Hollywood cinema not only to connote a certain strata of English class that is foreign to the US, but also, quite perversely, have been used as the dialect of choice to connote Nazism. In contrast to the conflicted and contested notion of ‘otherness’ that ‘Englishness’ and English dialects typically embody in Hollywood film and television, this paper will examine the myriad of ways in which ‘Englishness’ can be seen as a dialogical phenomena in BtVS. What is also of interest here is that in many ways BtVS can be read it terms of anglophilia at a time where the very concept of ‘Englishness’ is under intense scrutiny within the UK. Of particular interest will be an examination of how ‘Englishness’ and national identity are (re-) constituted in the roles of the Watcher and the vampire. More particularly, I shall explore how in Season Six’s Tabula Rasa Giles and Spike have to negotiate their own innate assumptions about ‘Englishness’ in order to reconstitute their sense of selfhood during a state of amnesia.



Passing for American: British and Vampire Identities in Buffy

Ann Davies

University of Newcastle


The fear of the vampire as social infiltrator - whose resemblance to the human suggests Homi Bhabha’s notion of mimicry as almost but not quite the same – came to the fore with Stoker’s Dracula, whose central character passes for an Englishman (the subsequent influence of Bela Lugosi notwithstanding). In Buffy, while it has been justly remarked that there is a distinct lack of representation of ethnic identities, the issue of ‘passing’ and infiltration still occurs, not only in relation to the vampires, who can apparently assume a vamp face at will, but also British characters, who can look like Americans and who speak the same language, but who are nonetheless in some way different: the ‘almost but not quite’ element of mimicry that Bhabha has suggested. (British here means Southern English – British regional identities have been unsurprisingly erased for the benefit of American audiences).


This paper examines the negotiation of passing in Buffy, in a Buffyverse that has developed an increasingly heterogeneous society in more recent seasons, within which a sharp distinction between good and evil starts to dissolve, and where demons such as Clem and Halfrek – to say nothing of Anya – interact on an equal footing with the humans. Only ‘paranoid’ Americans such as the early Riley and his Initiative team prefer not to see others in shades of grey – and their lack of discrimination is ruthlessly coopted by sinister government programmes. British and vampire identities in this context come to simultaneously highlight and problematise the (usually invisible) American identity; but simultaneously through their mimicry they come to problematise that distinction. Whereas passing in Dracula threatens English identity (which must be defended by the Crew of Light, of markedly differing nationalities), by series 6 of Buffy the threat to American society appears to come from Americans themselves rather than from those who pass.




Annette Seidel-Arpacı

Imaginary Para-Sites of the Soul: Representations of ‘Race’ and ‘Culture’ in Angel


What does it mean when a vampire was ‘cursed’ with a soul (by ‘gypsies’)? What about those vampires who are ‘staked’, ‘dusted’? What is this soul of Angel, who are the ‘good ones’ or the ‘evil ones’ and why, what do we make of ‘the powers’ and ‘Wolfram and Hart’? What are the human desires and fears behind the vampire myth, and what is the place of Angel, the ‘vampire with a soul’, who is constantly slipping in and out of the images that came to represent human ‘others’ in these dead and demonic forms?


My paper explores the ambivalent and contradictory constructions of ‘race’ and ‘culture’ in Angel, and seeks to read those images in relation to questions of ‘difference’, ‘otherness’ and assimilation. I will discuss the role(s) of Angel as well as (and in contrast to) other vampires within the series in connection with the history of images of ‘the vampire’, which echo(ed) at different times the racist stereotypes and propaganda about ‘the Jews’ and ‘the foreigners’ within several societies. In Angel these (ambivalent) images are also interesting in relation to archives, ‘demons’ and the representation of histories of ‘the other’ in the series. I will be drawing for instance on Nina Auerbach’ s reading of vampires as mirroring ‘ourselves’ and the political discourses and circumstances at a particular historical moment, on Sander Gilman’s work on constructions of ‘the Jew’s body’ and other works from the field of ‘Jewish Cultural Studies’.



Brainwashing the Working Class: Vampire Comics and Criticism from Dr. Occult to Buffy

Dr Massimo Introvigne


Via Confienza 19

10121 Torino, Italy


Abstract: When popular culture studies, newly born as an independent academic field, devoted their attention to comics, they were initially influenced by the critical analysis of psychiatrist Fredric Wertham (1895-1981), a staunch critic of horror comics. Wertham's ideas about the detrimental effects of horror comics on education were translated by popular culture scholars into a theory making horror comics a capitalist tool for brainwashing the working class. This debate caused in the 1950s both legislative developments (in the U.K.) and self-regulation through the Comics Code (in the U.S.), and halted for a while the development of vampire comics. Vampires, in fact, had emerged as the second most featured characters in comics after superheroes. Keeping vampires buried is, however, always difficult, and they re-emerged in the 1980s with even greater success. In the meantime, Umberto Eco had criticized in its influential essays on comics the "apocalyptic" approach to horror comics as capitalist brainwashing. In the late 1990s Buffy comics emerged among the most successful vampire comics ever and introduced a new revolution in the field. The paper examines the development of vampire comics within the framework of scholarly and political controversies on the social role of comics in general and horror comics in particular, and the role of Buffy comics.


If an overhead projector is available, the paper will be illustrated by transparencies.


CV: Dr Massimo Introvigne, a member of the "Religions" group of AIS (the Italian Association of Sociology), is managing director of the Center for Studies on New Religions (CESNUR), and the author or editor of more than thirty books (including one on Dracula and vampires), and more than a hundred articles in referred journals and collective books in the field of sociology of religion and popular culture. See bibliography at



Ron Roberts (University of Strathclyde)

From Metropolis to Melrose Place: Morphic Resonance in Buffy the Vampire Slayer


The fabula of Buffy the Vampire Slayer’s earlier episodes was controlled by a suzjet that mimicked four-colour comic book reality. Therefore, the entire universe of possible discourses within the world of Buffy the Vampire Slayer (including gender, sexuality, identity, belonging, race) was carefully filtered through the use and abuse of these comic-book conventions.


This comic book aesthetic subsumes these wider discourses under its fantastic logic. In a theoretical narrative hierarchy, the manipulation of such tropes as "the monster of the week", "the arch villain", "the double issue (double episode)", "the mysterious stranger" rank above the more prosaic "soap operatic" concerns while still allowing them to function in the background of the texts. This mixture of fantasy action and generic teenage angst enabled Buffy the Vampire Slayer to transcend ordinary genre audience boundaries, growing into the multimedia enterprise consumed today.


As the narrative structure of Buffy changes over time, so does its reception amongst certain target audiences. As the comic book structure peaks, so does the show’s popularity, leading to increased celebrity for recurring players, a wider, more homogenised consumer base, and the imposition of pseudo-"auteur" status on the show’s creator (one might also add academic interest to this list). These factors contribute to a radical restructuring of Buffy’s narrative framework, resulting in a dominant soap opera aesthetic. This fails to match the previous format’s potential for subversion and difference, turning the once radical show into a carefully stage-managed marketing exercise.


This paper will address both the radical nature of Buffy’s early narrative structure, and the shift in narrative and extra-narrative dynamics that results in the creation of Buffy the product or phenomenon, as opposed to Buffy the innovative television genre-buster.



J. Gordon Melton

Playing with Dracula: Joss Whedon's Creative Adaptation of the Vampire Genre


At the beginning of the nineteenth century, Western European writers adopted the accounts of vampires from Eastern Europe by transforming the vampire into a character useful for novels, poems and stage productions. This development culminated in Bram Stoker's Dracula, which appropriated Transylvanian folklore to build a picture of vampire. Throughout the twentieth century, the chapter 17 of Dracula (with supporting comments elsewhere in the novel) became for all intents and purpose the "orthodox" description of the nature of vampirism.


Through the twentieth century, various authors played with orthodox text, some quite successfully as with Hamilton Dean's placing Dracula in evening attire and the movie's establishment of the Sun as the vampire's deadly enemy. Other authors explored a more natural, rather than supernatural, vampire (Matheson), a more human vampire (Dark Shadows, Anne Rice), or a vampire hero (Vampirella, Chelsea Quinn Yarbro). Deviation from the canon of the Dracula text has become necessary as vampire fiction became more popular (more than half of all vampire novels having been written in the 1990s).


In Buffy the Vampire Slayer (and its spin-off Angel), Joss Whedon has recreated the vampire with a comprehensive reworking of the image of the vampire that builds upon the work especially of the prominent "new breed" vampire novels of the 1970s (Saberhagen, Yarbro, Rice). He has offered a new mythical framework to explain the existence of vampires and accepted/rejected particular elements of the "orthodox" literary vampire in such a way as to justify the Slayer, allow a vampire community to exist, and perpetuate ongoing warfare in the face of an oblivious public. This highly creative recasting of the literary vampire has been one key to the continued success of Buffy, as opposed to more limited adaptations that are exhausted in one story.


J. Gordon Melton, Ph.D.


Institute for the Study of American Religion

Santa Barbara, California



Gatti and Ribero

The Buffyspeak: the journey of cultural references, play on words and neologisms from the English original to other European languages, and Italian in particular, via the constraints imposed by dubbing and subtitling.


The translation of Buffy The Vampire Slayer presents the translator with very peculiar problems, not only because of the cultural references that need to be rendered in a different cultural context but also because what has grown to be known by the fans of the series as the "Buffyspeak" is unique in its own way. In addition to the challenges posed by the translation in itself, the requirements of subtitling and dubbing add to the limits a translator is faced with.


Cultural references:

Here are some of the various categories of cultural references that can be found in Buffy The Vampire Slayer:

·                     References which are specific to the culture and the society of the source language

·                     References understandable by the Buffy audience on an international level

·                     References which are linked not only to the culture but also the generation of the target audience


Neologisms, play on words and characterization

The translator needs to render made up words and creative play on words bearing in mind that very often these expressions become peculiar to a character and will be carried on during the series. Hence the need to find means to recreate the peculiarity of every character’s way of speaking in the target language and keep the consistency of the style throughout the series.


The constraints of dubbing and subtitling

The translator needs to be loyal to all the pecularities of the Buffyspeak bearing in mind the constraints of:

·                     dubbing (lip synchronization and time limits)


·                     subtitling (readability, space and time limits)


Hence, the task of the translator is to recreate the spirit, the humour and the irony of the original text, bearing in mind all the above references and limits, but without being to rigidly loyal to the source language because what is crucial is to obtain the same overall effect in the target language.


'Deprimere ille babula linter?: crossing over, reading through and puzzling out in the Buffyverse'

Carol O'Sullivan (UEA)


The worlds of Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Angel rest on a foundation of language. The polyglossia of the text encompasses both the language that Buffy and her friends speak, and which can be hard for adults to understand and the arcane languages of spellcasting and incantations, Latinate or Latinesque for the most part, but sometimes stretching back to Sumerian and proto-Bantu. A facility with languages is a survival skill, in a universe where knowledge is power. Acts of translation feature prominently in the narrative, notably in Spike and Drusilla's vampire henchman Dalton's attempts to decipher the Du Lac manuscript in Season Two of Buffy, and the figuring out of the prophecies in Season One of Angel, where the season finale hangs between the two opposed meanings of the word Shanshu, and Season Three of Angel, where the entire season story arc hangs on the interpretation of a word in the prophecy which could variously be interpreted as 'to kill' 'to eat' and 'to devour.' Translation also functions as a major vehicle of suspense; can our heroes translate the inscription and find the artefact before it is too late? Lastly, this paper will consider 'translation' in the sense in which Stephen Donaldson uses it, as moving between dimensions, into a slightly different version of ourselves. Through the looking glass, Angel can walk in sunlight, and Bottom has ass's ears.



Art Pomeroy

"Don't Speak Latin in Front of the Books"


The uses of the classical languages in Buffy in particular display the possibilities of using the ancient world either as a force of conservatism or as a validator for progressive social behaviour. The ancient world appears frequently as a backdrop in Buffy. In the main, this is Mesopotamian or Egyptian mythology in association with magic spells (for instance, the Isis-Osiris connection crossed with the Mummy for the resurrection of the heroine at the beginning of Series 6). Classical myth appears at second hand in the battle between Spike and the ghora demon in the presence of Dawn, recalling Jason and Medea battling the Hydra in Harryhausen's Jason and the Argonauts (1963). Latin appears for incantations, both for good and evil, in part because of its use in the rites of the Catholic church (GILES: "What ever happened to Latin? At least when that made no sense, the church approved.") This use of Latin as a half-familiar language, understood only by over-educated (but ineffectual) academics is a standard topos of the horror movie genre (e.g. Martin Balsam in Michael Winner's The Sentinel [1977]), but in "The Yoko Factor" approval is a main theme. Greek is much less common. Although the oracle in Angel has Greek-looking divinities serving it and a modern Greek inscription (The Gate of Lost Souls), as perhaps befits Angelus, the most interesting use is in Buffy. In "Restless" (the coda to Series 4), Willow is portrayed as writing Sappho 1 on Tara's back. The choice of the poetry of the original Lesbian in an episode featuring the first slayer to represent female desire (and the need for reassurance) cannot be accidental. Here there is a sexuality which is not named, which is linked to the kitty (a potential animalism which can be tamed), represented in a positive fashion (contrast the portrayal of lesbians in The Sentinel).


Prof Arthur J. Pomeroy, Classics (Te Tari Ahuatanga Onamata), SACR, Victoria University of Wellington, P.O.Box 600, Wellington, New Zealand



What’s Up With Vampires Anyway (The science of the undead in the Buffyverse)

D.F. Collinson


In this paper it is postulated that while there are a number of features of the Buffyverse vampire that do not occur among the creatures of our world, these features can be explained by the science of our world. While the existence of magic in the Buffyverse is acknowledged, consideration is restricted to common vampires, not special "magical vampires" like Dracula. Where appropriate, reference is made to specific episodes of "Buffy the Vampire Slayer". The features considered are (1) the process in which a human corpse is reanimated as a vampire. The extent to which this can be compared to procreation as we know it is considered. (2) The state of the reanimated body in terms of tissue preservation (including a healing process), and activity in the absence of what is regarded as vital function is addressed. (3) The manner in which the bodily functions are maintained by the consumption of blood. (4) The vulnerability of the vampire to destruction by certain causes, and what this tells us about the vampires morphology (e.g. why the stake has to be wood). (5) The rapid anatomical changes of the vampire (e.g. game face and fangs). (6) The manner in which the deceased vampire disincorporates (dusting). (7) The non-reflection of vampires in mirrors. Finally an overview of the nature of the vampire is considered from the viewpoint that that the physics of our Universe cannot be violated by non-magical processes, The chemistry that we know must apply to the substances we are familiar with, and the biology of creatures which stand apart from ordinary evolution must still conform to general principles. Particular consideration will be given to the role of blood.


"It’ll go straight to your thighs": food and drink issues in ‘Buffy the Vampire Slayer’ and ‘Angel’

Jocelyn Rose


Food and drink plays a significant part in both BtVS and Angel – not only in the vampire-sex-food triangle, but in other metaphorical ways throughout the canon. This paper addresses the various aspects of vampire nutrition – the predatory, the intimate, the industrialised – including the different expedients found by Angel and (from Buffy 4 onwards) Spike to manage their atypical feeding problem, and how they cope when required to eat ‘normal’ food.


I move on to consider the ways in which food and drink is used to contrast the two ‘families’ - Buffy’s and Angel’s – and its use as a signifier for emotional crisis, comparing in particular the home-cooked meal with the takeaway, and addressing the ways in which food is used by Buffy in an attempt to replace her lost mother. This leads to a discussion of the role of ice cream, both as metaphor and as red herring; and of the messages about healthy eating and drinking, and about body image, that run through both series. Connor’s transition from the hunter-gatherer lifestyle of Quor’Toth to total junkfood overload in LA contributes not a little, I contend, to his inability to handle family relationships.


Finally the paper looks at places where people in ‘Buffy’ and ‘Angel’ eat outside the home, with particular reference to the Doublemeat Palace, with its subversion of the usual role of the fast-food joint in the genre, and to the school canteen where, in contrast, the allusion is reinforced by the various perils of snake sandwiches, green Jello and the archetypal evil lunchlady. In these cases food and drink moves from being a supporter and expositor of plot and character development in the two series to becoming a central plot driver in its own right.


Joc Rose is a health promotion officer, proud owner of the entire BtVS/Angel canon on video, and postgraduate student at UEA.


Slaying: The Stakes of the Warrior

by Leslie Ellen Jones, PhD


Mythologist Georges Dumézil theorized that Indo-European mythologies perceive the social world as divided among three "functions": sovereignty (exemplified by the priest-king), force (exemplified by the warrior) and fecundity (exemplified by agriculturalists, artisans, and/or women). In his book The Stakes of the Warrior (1948/1988) and elsewhere, Dumézil identified three "sins" that the warrior, by reason of his vocation, inevitably commits against the society he is sworn to protect: sins against sovereignty, in the form of regicide or disobedience; sins against the warrior ethos, in the form of deceit, treachery, or cowardice; and sins against fecundity, in the form of rape or adultery, or the disruption of the "provisions" that the third function creates. These sins reflect the ambivalent status of the warrior, whose martial prowess is necessary for the defense of his society, but who is also apt, in the frenzy of battle, to forget the distinction between friend and foe, and attack indiscriminately. This paper discusses the ways in which the characters of Buffy, Angel, and Spike reflect aspects of the Indo-European warrior's inevitable sin, especially in light of the fact that one is a woman, and the other two undead. Comparisons are made to characters in the Ulster cycle of Irish mythological tales, such as Queen Medb and Macha (women warriors) and Cú Chulain (whose "warp-spasm" or ríastrad is remarkably similar to the vampire's "game face") as well as to more recent mythological retellings, such as Xena, Warrior Princess. My contact information:


Leslie Ellen Jones

2410 Kansas Ave. #A

Santa Monica, CA 90404 USA



Neville Morley

Department of Classics & Ancient History

University fo Bristol

11 Woodland Road


BS8 1TB.History as Nightmare


‘The tradition of all the dead generations weighs like a nightmare on the brains of the living.’ Karl Marx, The Eighteenth Brumaire of Louis Bonaparte

‘Let the dead bury their dead, so that we ourselves may not come under the influence of the smell of the corpses.’ Friedrich Nietzsche, We Philologists


Buffy the Vampire Slayer explores and articulates a particular set of attitudes towards the past, characterised above all by fear and anxiety and drawing on a distinctive ‘grand narrative’ of history. Demons, monsters and magic are reminders of the continuing power and threat of the ‘dark ages’ of antiquity; dangerous in themselves, but also striving to return the world to its original ‘hellish’ state. In part this reflects a characteristic American attitude to the corrupting influence of the Old World (numerous episodes portray the threat to our heroine as specifically European in origin), but it also has affiliations with more general discussions of the birth, development and future of modernity and its relationship with the past. Both Marx and Nietzsche present the past as something that can drain human potential, that must be overcome through struggle.


At the same time, of course, both writers offer a far-reaching critique of modernity itself, often drawing upon the past for their rhetorical weapons. Buffy, too, is all too conscious of the dangers posed by unrestrained modernity, especially but not only when technological sophistication is allied with the attitudes and values of the barbaric past. Finally, the programme is not afraid to undercut the American myth of the 1950s as a lost golden age of innocence. The power of the series derives in no small part from its willingness to explore ambiguities and expose unsettling contradictions, not least, as this paper will argue, in our attitudes towards past and present, antiquity and modernity.


Kate Lambert

Working title: "The fool (for love)": Spike as Trickster

Rationale: That the character of Spike can be read as fulfilling many of the requirements of the trickster in folklore. That an understanding of the structural role of Trickster can help us to understand and interpret the character of Spike and his role in BtVS.


Draft outline: First to establish the character of Trickster and (nearly invariably) his role in a number of myth cycles. To outline what makes him unique and distinct from other mythic heroes. To explore the role of the fool in literature and how this role is connected to that of Trickster.


Next, to examine how Spike fits the role (for example: swings between good and evil; morally ambiguous; occupies the literal and figurative space between opposing groups; behaviour externally controlled; reluctant force for good; clever, cunning and often verbally dextrous; both wins and looses in unexpected ways; can be both bringer of change and comic relief …).


Conclude by examining the structural role of Trickster and how this can be applied to a reading of Spike’s role within the text.


Areas for research: The trickster in myth, legend and authored texts (e.g., Monkey, Anansi, Loki, Brere Rabbit); structural, cultural and psychoanalytic explanations of the trickster role; series 2 through 6 of BtVS.


Ananya Mukherjea, Jeffrey Bussolini, Craig Willse Doctoral Students, Department of Sociology, CUNY Graduate Center

Blood, Spirit, Bodies, and Technology in Buffy the Vampire Slayer Jeffrey Bussolini, Ananya Mukherjea, Craig Willse, Sociology, City University of New York


The treatment of various bodies (human, demon, textual, technological) is a prominent thematic in Buffy the Vampire Slayer. Buffy is characterized by her destiny to save human lives (and the world) from demons and the forces of darkness. To this end she is in continual combat of the most direct and bodily form. Yet, what constitutes a body in Buffy is very fluid. In the eighth episode of the series, the demon Moloch the Corruptor transitions from flesh/bodily form to text written on a page to cyber-presence on the Internet and finally to robot?an interesting array of bodies indeed. We reflect on several elements of the thinking about bodies presented in Buffy the Vampire Slayer.


As the series is largely defined by not only its technical filmic qualities but also the way in which it so immediately and profoundly entails and opens onto a host of philosophical questions, each paper carries out careful close reading of the formal texts of the Buffyverse while situating and interpreting these texts in relation to questions of life and death (and their ontological status), technology, Spirit, and existence.


Jeffrey Bussolini considers the role of blood as element of material body and symbol in Buffy. Departing from an analysis that treats the mythology of Buffy as in a specific dialogue with Christianity and European history, he looks at how the ingestion of the blood is figured as crucial to survival and to transmission of the Spirit in the traditions of Christianity and vampirism.


Ananya Mukherjea examines the practices of taxonomy in and around BtVS. She notes that a simple analysis of race in the show does not strike on the fundamental issue of classifying bodies and Being in Buffy. Some of the thorniest questions of the show concern the reckoning of what signs or boundaries indicate who is good and evil, who can legitimately be killed by a slayer, and how spirit and life and the body are connected.


Craig Willse reflects on the issues of embodiment, technology and hybridity in BtVS. While noting that the conceptions of personhood are notably fluid, he illustrates how there is a particular treatment of technology vis-à-vis the body. While there is no outright rejection of technology in Buffy, there is a deep skepticism about objective, masculine science which seeks to control nature coupled with a crucial use of prosthetics which extend and transform bodies and continually emphasize hybridity.


Blood, Vamps and Christianity

Jeffrey Bussolini, Sociology, City University of New York Graduate Center and Histoire des Techniques, Ecole des Hautes Etudes en Sciences Sociales, Paris


As the 'first word' on the topic in the title of this conference, blood clearly occupies a decisive place in Buffy the Vampire Slayer and the discourses into which it is tied. Although vampire myths of different kinds are transcultural, the lore into which Buffy taps is a set of legends about vampires that has a specific relation to Christianity. Blood and flesh, as in the blood and flesh of Christ, are the central symbols of Christianity (along with the crucifix often deployed by Buffy and friends). In Christianity, and especially in its oldest and most pagan-inflected form, Roman Catholicism, ingestion of the blood is the key element for the transmission of the Holy Spirit. Hence the emphasis placed on first communion and the intense debates about transubstantiation in the mass. In order to accept the salvation of Christ and be part of his community, one must drink from the cup, as his disciples did, and partake of his blood. In like fashion, or perhaps more accurately in a specific inversion of this practice, vampirism also constitutes a religion of the blood. Blood is crucial to the survival of vampires--their food--and it is also the means by which the 'Spirit' of vampirism is transmitted. This concept of transmission and community by blood gives both Christianity and vampirism a strong metaphorical and material resonance with blood-borne diseases like HIV/AIDS and sets them up as the 'original' blood diseases of the West. Buffy the Vampire Slayer is replete with a number of crucial references to blood and to its role in relation to spirit and life: the Vessel Luke drinks blood which strengthens the Master in the initial episodes; only Angel's blood can release Acathla the demon, then prevent his coming, in Becoming (and Giles' blood must be spilled to learn this fact); only the blood of a slayer can cure the stricken Angel in the Graduation Day episodes; Riley1s fascination with the transmission of blood and its power leads him to the vampire dens of Sunnydale; blood is crucial to opening the trans-dimensional rift sought by Glory; the blood of the sacrificed fawn enables the black magic carried out by Willow to bring back Buffy. This paper examines these touchstone episodes in order to think the role of blood in BtVS in relation to notions of blood and life long-circulating in European history.


Existence, Monsters and Love: Classifying Creatures in Buffy the Vampire Slayer Ananya Mukherjea, Sociology, The City University of New York and Asian/Pacific/American Studies, New York University


The treatment of race in Buffy the Vampire Slayer sometimes receives superficial attention, generally extending only to highlighting its conspicuous lack on the series. While there are occasional characters like the slayer Kendra, the ascending mayor’s vampire assistant Mr. Trick, and Giles’ English girlfriend, non-white characters usually appear briefly, only to be eaten or staked. This sort of racism-by-exclusion, of course, is an industry-wide problem, and more effective critiques take on television overall, rather than this show in particular. BtVS does, however, provide rich ground for considering how and why we taxonomise creatures so aggressively. As occurs in this prosaic human world we inhabit, the denizens of the hellmouth--human and demon--approach the unwieldy questions of what constitutes life, how character and spirit manifest, and what forces determine existence, by attending to the more tangible matter of categorising beings. Which lines amongst the classes cannot be crossed? Which ones merely complicate the relations they breach? Buffy’s relationship with Angel, Dawn’s desire to resurrect their mother in season 5, and the impossibility of solidly classifying Warren, Spike, Anya and Willow in season 6 all push these questions. They evoke the varied meanings of blood and the soul in signifying both life and love. Buffy’s essential principle is that of an impermeable boundary between humans and demons, between the living and the undead. Life and the ability to love, though, are not centralised in the heart (useless in demon bodies) but in the soul. The transfer of blood makes a vampire, suspending her/his soul away from the body and making that body (un)dead, but the return of Angel’s soul makes him alive enough to become Buffy’s lover. The absence of a soul makes Spike a "dead, hollow thing" (and, as he sings in the musical episode, could his heart beat, it would break his chest with love), but piercing the heart with wood "kills" vampires. And, of course, only the possession of a human soul excludes Warren from the demon realm, even after he fully becomes a monster, albeit a human one. Life and existence, the body and the soul, blood and the heart are central elements of the Buffy mythology and interrelate to shape and define its characters and narrative. This paper interrogates several Buffy "myths" to consider the arrangement and delineation of humans and demons in the Buffyverse and what we watchers derive from this about our own world.


Technodemons and the Material Bodies of Vampires Craig Willse, Sociology, City University of New York Graduate Center


In this paper, I explore discourses of technology, hybridity, and embodiment in Buffy the Vampire Slayer. As this past season's finale demonstrated, science and technology occupy a dubious position in the supernatural landscape of the Buffyverse. While the human, inhuman, and hybrid move fluidly across grids of guilt/innocence and enemy/ally, in Sunnydale, the scientist and scientifically-engineered almost exclusively come to represent failure and betrayal. The Trio undermine their own efforts in their campaign against Buffy as their technological innovations ? automated saw blades and jet packs ? fail due to Buffy's bodily strength and the Trio1s own techno/egomania. When Warren appears in Buffy's backyard brandishing a hand gun, he both wakes the audience up from our suspension of disbelief (that the world could be saved through hand-to-hand combat) and confirms Buffy's worst suspicions about what science can do to the body. The series contrasts an objective-masculinist version of science that seeks to dominate and control nature with what we might think of as a prosthetic-science that seeks to bend and extend the limits of the body and "nature" in a way that continually resurfaces bodies as material even if unnatural or supernatural. Dr. Walsh/Frankenstein and her Adam-cyborg provide an example of the first model, whereas Willow's witchery and Buffy's low-tech weaponry represent the second model. While the series shares a suspicion of the liberatory potential of technology with critics such as Paul Virilio, it reintroduces a dynamic and queer conception of desire that can productively deform technology and refuse an erasure or naturalization of the body. The work of Donna Haraway helps elucidate some of these implications. Finally, I also examine how, in Buffy's engagement with vampire mythology of the body, the series inherits a tradition of aligning transgressive bodies and bodily acts with excess and compulsion, and in so doing sets limits on the proper movement of desiring bodies.


Dr. Stevie Simkin

Senior Lecturer in Drama

School of CPA King Alfred’s College of HE


SO22 4NR


"You hold your gun like a sissy girl" – Firearms and anxious masculinity in Buffy the Vampire Slayer


Drawing on aspects of psychoanalytical, performance and gender theory, this paper will uncover some of the subtle negotiations, conflicts and exchanges of gender and power in four key scenes.


Buffy’s regular use of mediaeval weaponry in nod-and-wink fashion to hint at female subversion of the male is familiar to fans and critics – the obvious phallic/penetrative "dusting" of vampires, as well as other more varied instances - when Snyder expels Buffy from Sunnydale High, Buffy draws a sword from a bag, holds it out, erect and threatening, and metaphorically emasculates him: "You never got a single date in high school, did you?" (Innocence, 2.21). Spike’s reply to Buffy when she asks, "Do we really need weapons for this?" - "I just like them. They make me feel all manly" (School Hard, 2.03) – is another representative exchange.


The finale of season 6 features the most significant use of contemporary weaponry. There are many reasons (ranging from audience demographics to Buffy cosmology) why firearms do not appear more often in the series. However, this paper will focus on four episodes from seasons 2 and 4 where firearms do feature prominently. The examples are:


a.                  Buffy shooting Angelus whilst channelling the ghost of Grace Newman in 2.19 (I Only Have Eyes for You);

b.                  Buffy and the rigged gun supplied by Professor Walsh in 4.13 (The "I" in Team);

c.                  pistols used in a number of scenarios in attempts to establish control in 4.20 (The Yoko Factor);

d.                  the acquisition and deployment of the rocket-launcher in 2.14 (Innocence).


The paper will examine and compare these contrasting examples which feature cross-gender performance and exchanges of male/female power [(a)]; female jealousy and conflict over the male [(b)]; male v. male assertion of physical/sexual dominance [(c), (d)]; and male jealousy and conflict over the female [(a), (c)].




Stephanie Zacharek

Senior Writer,

Modern and Mythical Sexuality in "Buffy the Vampire Slayer"


No television show has ever been as forthright in addressing the subtleties of sexual desire as "Buffy the Vampire Slayer" has been. What's most shocking about the show is not that it is particularly sexually explicit, but that it deals with issues of erotic intimacy in such an unvarnished and deeply emotional way. In "Buffy," immortal vampires fall in love and couple with humans, a re-embroidering of the ancient theme of gods' (or monsters') mating with mortals. But instead of stressing the differences between humans and "monsters," more often than not the show seeks out the spot where the animal desires of humans and vampires intersect. For example, the teenage Buffy wants nothing more than to have a safe, warm, blissfully cocooned romantic relationship with Angel. And Angel, an unusual cross between a traditionally masculine brooding hero and an enlightened contemporary male, wants exactly the same thing. The tragic obstacle to his happiness is an old gypsy curse that turns him into a monster at precisely the moment Buffy has given him the greatest pleasure of his life (and crossed over into womanhood herself). But even as a teenager, Buffy isn't a naif, and as she gets older, she discovers more about herself and the wildness and unpredictability of her own desires. Buffy and Spike fall into bed together out of frustration and desperation. Buffy learns just how much like Spike she really is; in fact, her sexual aggressiveness outstrips his. Their lovemaking is sometimes rough, but -she- is generally the instigator. When they fight, she's the one you put your money on. In "Sexual Personae," Camille Paglia wrote that with "The Faerie Queene," Edmund Spenser was the first to "sense the identity of sex and power, the permeation of eroticism by aggression." She also wrote a line that, unwittingly and perfectly, presaged the tete-a-tete between Buffy and Spike: "The masculine hurls itself at the feminine in an eternal circle of pursuit and flight."


"Buffy the Vampire Slayer" has always been redolent of a lush, overtly sexual romanticism that isn't always pretty; Joss Whedon and his team of writers have never been afraid to confront the messiness, and sometimes the danger, of sex. Even so, the show also revels in a deep appreciation of sensual beauty that's unabashedly pagan. (Think of the scene in the musical episode of "Buffy," "Once More, With Feeling," in which Willow and Tara turn levitation into a metaphor for oral sex.) We may think we live in a modern, enlightened age when it comes to sexuality. But by exploring sexual issues that are as old as humankind itself, "Buffy the Vampire Slayer" reminds us that we can't tame or corral sexual desire as easily as we might think. Each human heart (and libido) has to find its own direction, and that goes for vampires, too.


Anthony Bradney, Professor of Law, Faculty of Law, University of Leicester

Choosing Laws, Choosing Families: Images of Law, Love and Authority in "Buffy the Vampire Slayer"


Images of law and authority permeate BtVS. This paper will argue that during the six series of BtVS there is a change in Buffy’s relationship to law and authority which is mirrored by and relates to the developing emotional structures within which she lives.


In the first three series Buffy operates not as a representative of vigilante justice, as McClelland has suggested (McClelland, 2000), but as a deviant police officer working within an established hierarchy of Watcher and Watcher’s Council, obeying "laws that have existed longer than civilization" ("Graduation: Part One", Episode 55, Series Three). Like Regan in the 1970s police series "The Sweeney", Buffy practises "rule-suppression in pursuit of law" (Hurd, 1976, 50). Indeed there are archetypical examples of Hurd’s rule-suppression in BtVS as, for example, when Buffy physically intimidates and then hits a human suspect in order to obtain information in one episode and when she tortures a vampire for the same purpose in another ("Band Candy", Episode 40, Series Three, Part Three; "When She Was Bad", Episode 13 Series Two, Act Four, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, 2001a, 442-43). Nevertheless, whilst Buffy sometimes disobey’s her Watcher and breaks the rules, her intent is enforcement of the law.


Buffy’s growing emotional attachments, to Giles, the Scooby Gang and to Angel, are accompanied by a changing attitude to the authority of the Watcher’s Council. When Giles is sacked by the Council because, he is told, "[y]ou have a father’s love for the child" ("Helpless", Episode 46, Series Three, Part 4) and replaced by Wesley Buffy quickly refuses to obey him ("Bad Girls", Episode 48, Series Three, Part Two) and then rejects the Council’s jurisdiction ("Graduation Part 1" Episode 55, Series Three). Whilst, in the main, she continues to accept the role of Slayer she is now working outside established structures of law and command and BtVS moves beyond the genre of the police series.


A major theme of series four to six of BtVS is a search for an answer to the question, what laws should we obey once we have rejected traditional authority. In BtVS the answer to this question is seen in a need to make connections with others whilst still pursuing one’s own existential quest. Choosing families ("Family" Episode 84, Series Five) and choosing laws become intertwined matters. In taking this position BtVS, rather than supporting traditional accounts, of law, authority and family as it does in the first three series, becomes subversive of such accounts.



"Buffy the Vampire Slayer: The Script Book: Season Two, Volume One" (2001a), Pocket Books, New York.

Hurd, Geoff (1976) "’The Sweeney’ – Contradiction and Coherence" 20 Screen Education 47.

McClelland, Bruce, (2001) "By Whose Authority? The Magical Tradition, Violence and the Legitimation of the Vampire Slayer" 1 Slayage: The Online International Journal of Buffy Studies.


Kristian Moen

University of East Anglia

"Can’t Even Shout, Can’t Even Cry, The Gentlemen are Coming By": The Articulation of Change in Buffy the Vampire Slayer


From Buffy’s birthday to peculiar Hallowe’ens, from horror hommages to musical episodes, Buffy the Vampire Slayer communicates the changes in its characters’ lives through a wide range of social and narrative structures. The show typically depicts realms of narrative and social stability in order to draw on their powers and question their limits. Sometimes playful, sometimes deadly serious, Buffy often twists these structures of meaning to provide multifaceted expressions of desire, change and rupture. Rites of passage in the show vividly externalize changes in a character’s sexual or violent impulses, whereas specific genre episodes typically explore the ways in which characters articulate these changes. Moreover, rather than relying exclusively upon dialogue, performance and narrative to suggest meaning, Buffy draws on what might be termed "excessive" signifying practices, particularly through its Manichean (good and evil, eros and thanatos) and genre (melodrama, horror, musical) elements. While this suggests the breadth of issues in Buffy that I will consider, I will discuss one specific instance of the ways in which genre and rites of passage function: the Nosferatu (Murnau, 1922) hommage, "Hush". This well-known episode draws explicitly on the horror genre, and depicts rites of passage through its thematization of sexual relationships, the crossing of boundaries and the thwarting of rationality. Most importantly, "Hush" self-consciously uses elements of melodrama (such as the tableau) and the fairy tale (such as the threat to speech) to explore its own mode of expression. In order to investigate the narrative and social implications of this episode’s relation to the series, I will rely on Mikhail Bakhtin’s discussions of the functions of genre, intertextuality and parody. I will also draw on more recent discussions of modes and genres – particularly melodrama – in the writings of Peter Brooks, Christine Gledhill and Linda Williams. Their work effectively considers the relation between externality and the representation of social change which informs much of Buffy’s discourse. The consideration of genre, modes and rites of will illustrate some of the complex issues regarding expression and representation with which Buffy engages.


Dr Janet K Halfyard

Birmingham Conservatoire, University of Central England

"Singing their hearts out: performance, sincerity and musical diegesis in Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Angel."


Season 2 of Angel introduced an apparently new element into the Buffyverse, namely Caritas, the demon-friendly kareoke bar, the presence of which led to almost all the principal characters singing there at least once. The most obvious thing this revealed was who among them could and could not sing but it also revealed a very clear pattern of which characters were allowed (by the external forces of the writers and producers) to be able to sing. This leads to the question of what the act of singing itself signifies, such that ability or inability to do it is given such a clear narrative position.


Performances in the context of Caritas in turn mirror other instances of singing and performance by principal characters in both BtVS (from season 1 onwards) and Angel. This paper explores how the very nature of the singing voice and how it reveals us and renders us vulnerable to scrutiny is exploited in both series to demonstrate the extent to which we can trust the singing characters, with an apparent direct inverse correlation between performative competence and sincerity. In addition, it can be shown that the positioning of singing and the games that are played with musical diegesis serve to reinforce the credibility of Buffy’s diegetic universe.


This paper examines the nature of performance in the Buffyverse and reflects on issues of sincerity that these performances reveal, drawing on ideas from Jonathan Rée and Simon Frith. The paper also examines why Giles is the main exception to this rule; and how similar themes are brought to bear in Once More with Feeling, the Season Six musical episode, exploring the way the rules of musical diegesis are suspended and distorted in both this episode and in the dream sequences of the BtVS season four finale.



Frith, Simon 1998 Performing Rites: evaluating popular music (Oxford: OUP)

Rée, Jonathan 1999 I see a voice: language, deafness and the senses (London: HarperCollins)


Dr Vanessa Knights

Department of Spanish, Portuguese and Latin American Studies

University of Newcastle

Newcastle upon Tyne NE1 7RU

United Kingdom

Sound, Silence, Score and Song in Buffy the Vampire Slayer


Surprisingly, given the amount of space devoted to it in interviews and features on the show in the SF/fantasy/cult TV specialist press, little attention has been paid in academic writing to the use of music in the show with the exception of Janet K Halfyard’s analysis of gender and identity in the theme tunes of Buffy and its spin-off show Angel (Slayage 2001) and S. Renee Dechert’s ‘My Boyfriend’s in the Band!: Buffy and the Rhetoric of Music’ (Wilcox & Lavery, 2002). Like the fansites devoted to music such as ‘The Buffy and Angel Music Pages’ (, Dechert focuses primarily on the songs featured on the show. For Dechert popular music confirms the indie aesthetics and credibility of the show and its location on the fringe of the mainstream whilst contributing to the identification between fans and the programme. It also provides a thematic backdrop and contributes to characterisation. Apart from the brief essay by Halfyard, which uses Philip Tagg’s model to analyse gender-associative responses to specific musical parameters (1989), scant attention has been paid to the music itself. This should perhaps come as no surprise as, in contrast to the volume of writing on music in film there is relatively little available on the role of music in TV.


I propose to adapt Anahid Kassabian’s framework from Hearing Film: Tracking Identifications in Contemporary Hollywood Film Music (2001) to analyse the function of source music, source scoring and dramatic scoring primarily (although not exclusively) in three key innovative episodes written and directed by the show’s creator Joss Whedon. I will examine:

·                     music, dialogue and narrative/commentary

·                     music, silence, mood and affective association

·                     music and characterisation

·                     music and affiliating/assimilating identification processes


·                     ‘Hush’ (Season 4): featuring Danse macabre by Camille Saint Saëns and twenty five minutes without dialogue, score by Christophe Beck

·                     ‘The Body’ (Season 5): featuring the Christmas carol ‘The First Noel’ but notably lacking in dramatic scoring

·                     ‘Once More with Feeling’ (Season 6): musical episode, overture by Christophe Beck, songs by Joss Whedon, orchestration by Christophe Beck and Jesse Tobias

This analysis will demonstrate the pivotal role of music in the construction and interpretation of Whedon’s Buffyverse.


Playing Buffy: Form, Tension and Interactivity in the video-game version of Buffy the Vampire Slayer

Tanya Krzywinska


Playing Buffy focuses on the long-awaited Buffy the Vampire Slayer video-game released for the X-Box and explores the impact of the interactive form of the videogame on the tropes, forms and pleasures of the television show. Issues of narrative, remediation, genre, immersion, the design of player interaction and the necessary alterations to the handling of suspenseful devices will be addressed. The central argument is that the interactive form of the videogame brings an emotional dynamic to the Buffyverse that has hitherto been unavailable in the other formats (TV, comics). This leans on the game’s formal ability to heighten players’ experience of being ‘in control’ and ‘out of control’ of in-game events. Power and powerlessness in the face of traumatic events are key generic themes of the horror genre, Buffy the Vampire Slayer included, but non-interactive texts can only represent resulting in a relatively passive mode of consumption. By contrast the interactive nature of videogames, which is controlled by the game’s programming, actively invites and channels a more actively ‘hands-on’ experience of being in-control and out of control. As I will show this media-specific addition has a special resonance within the context of the show’s focus on the Buffy and Scooby Gang’s experiences of acting upon and being acted upon by their world. The paper brings together, and builds on, my previously published work on Buffy and the horror film, as well as my current research on the interface between video-games, television and cinema.


NB: at the time of writing this proposal the game was not yet released (due date is June 2002), hence the proposal is rather ‘loose’ until I actually get my hands on the game. I would welcome the opportunity to tighten up the proposal after it has been released.


Tanya Krzywinska is a Senior Lecturer in Film and TV Studies at Brunel University. She is an associate editor of Slayage: The Online International Journal of Buffy Studies, has an article ‘Hubble-Bubble, Herbs and Grimoires: Manichaeanism, Magic and Witchcraft in Buffy the Vampire Slayer’ in Fighting the Forces: What’s at Stake in Buffy the Vampire Slayer (Rowman and Littlefield, 2002). She is also the author of A Skin For Dancing In: Possession, Witchcraft and Voodoo in Film (Flicks Books, 2000), co-author (with Geoff King) of Science Fiction Cinema: From Outerspace to Cyberspace (Wallflower Press, 2000), and co-editor (with Geoff King) of ScreenPlay: Cinema / Videogames / Interfaces (forthcoming from Wallflower Press, 2002), in which she has an article entitled ‘Hands on Horror’ in which the relationship between horror games and the horror film is explored).


'Unheimlich Manouevres, or how Buffy the Vampire Slayer Saved my World'.

Sophie Levy, Ph.D. I, English Literature/Women's Studies, University of Toronto


This paper looks at how _BTVS_ emerges from the tradition of Gothic heroines situated in institutions, particularly the school and the familial house, and how Whedon and his writers play off the traditional narratives of Gothic to create an insurgent heroine of/for the information age, particularly through the accumulation of para-televisual material, such as talk boards, comix, and action figures, which demand active viewer engagement and offer subversive potential. Using Elizabeth Grosz' Volatile Bodies, I'll offer close readings of some central _BTVS_ episodes, particularly the hallucinatory ones in which Buffy experiences her/our world as 'other', including Nightmares (1), Halloween (2), Killed by Death (2), Helpless (3), Earshot (3), This Year's Girl/Who Are You (4), The Weight of the World (5), and Normal Again (6). These episodes all pit Buffy against her (other) self: the good heroine of Gothic encased in the institution. Culminating in Normal Again, these episodes follow a story-arc that highlights the 'otherness' of being a Slayer, also intimating the transgressiveness of femininity, a central theme of Gothic.


_BTVS_ frequently uses Gothic tropes, only to decentralise or disband them, exemplified in Buffy vs. Dracula (5). This referentiality figures tropes of doubling and repetition. Considering both the world within _BTVS_ (the Buffyverse) and the show's interactions with the 'real' world, I consider these tropes as a manifestation of Deleuze and Guattari's postmodern schizophrenia, relating it to the subversive interplay of femininity and institutionality in the characters of Buffy, Willow and Faith. This highlights the ways in which the show and its paraphernalia forge a non-teleological model, replacing the post- with the para-, and generating narrative potentiality through the volatile bodies of its central characters. This resistance to teleology (through averted apocalypse and self-reflexive use of the circularity of TV seasons) offers the paranormal and the paranoid as warriors for a different future.


School Harder – using Buffy the Vampire Slayer to stretch young minds.

Michele Paule and Laura Davison

Westminster Institute of Education

Oxford Brookes University


English educational policy is for the first time addressing the particular needs of students with potential, living in areas of deprivation. The Excellence in Cities initiative compels schools to develop ‘a distinct teaching and learning programme’ for such students in urban contexts. This has led to a new focus on pedagogies and resources.


This paper will consider the particular contribution that Buffy can make in the classroom via a range of learning theories associated with addressing underachievement. Indeed, the first author has successfully used Buffy as a teaching vehicle in educational enrichment programmes.


We see Buffy as an especially appropriate tool: Popular with teenagers and adults alike, the show is likely to find approval in the classroom from both teacher and pupil. Working on a multiplicity of levels, its high production values and rich vein of references mean that the show fulfils teacher concerns regarding the use of perceived ‘quality’ texts in the classroom. Moreover, Buffy directly engages with the factors which inhibit attainment in adolescents as a core part of its values.


While Buffy’s enormous potential for use in the classroom cannot be comprehensively addressed here, we have identified three specific themes which demonstrate the fitness of this remarkable series in a pedagogy for challenge.

·                     Analogies and the creative brain

·                     The see-saw model for introducing challenge

·                     Renzulli’s Enrichment Triad for extending learning and motivating learners

In conclusion, we hope to demonstrate that the peculiar features of Joss Whedon’s brain child have a particular resonance with how we learn, why we learn, and what makes us want to learn.



Hannah Sanders (Norwich School of Art and Design)

From the Screen to the Scene: Representations of the teen witch in Buffy the Vampire Slayer and its impact upon teen girl identity in contemporary Britain.


This paper will refer to aspects of my current PhD research, exploring the textual representation of the teen witch figure in BTVS, demonstrating a percieved relationship between this female television icon and the current trend in Britain of teenage girls actively identifying themselves as witches. Informed by feminist/ Foucauldian theoretical perspectives I will examine the representation of the witch characters 'powers' in BTVS; specifically the construction of the witches' magic as an expression of ' female specific' power. I will consider the construction of these othered and feminised powers as represented by the witch figure, relating this textual analysis to the data generated though an established internet community of individuals identifying themselves as teenage witches. I will discuss the audience reception data gathered through qualitative questionnaire responces, email correspondance and chat room discussions generated by British adolescents identifying themselves as 'teen witches' through the medium of the internet site. In discussing this data, I will establish a relationship between the particular witch characterisations in BTVS, most notably Willow Rosenburgh (Alyson Hannigan) and Tara Maclay (Amber Benson) and a specific portion of viewers/ watchers; by extension I will evaluate the nature of the impact this vision of teenage femininity has upon a proportion of its viewing public and the circular relationship between textual author and audience culture. I will conclude by questioning whether this vision of feminine power acts as a transgressive discourse of empowerment and identity politics for today's young women.



Pathologizing Marginality: Sickness, Limnality, and Otherness in Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Angel

University of California, Riverside


This panel explores the connection between illness and marginality in "Buffy the Vampire Slayer" and "Angel." It is our contention that, in these series, marginalized characters (such as Buffy, Angel and Billy) are often pathologized, while at the same time, the characters are required police the boundaries of normalcy. Even while the characters blur the lines between what would ordinarily be considered sick and well, normal and abnormal they paradoxically reestablish the status quo. Buffy is a limnal, hybrid character whose duties are to police the boundaries of normalcy; while at the same time, Buffy episodes show how the division between Buffy’s heroism and mental illness are indistinguishable. The mentally ill can often "see reality" more clearly than the well, suggesting that Buffy herself is mentally ill in her insistence on heroically upholding prevailing customs and ideals. In Angel, Darla's diseased body is the site of perennial feminine abjectness; likewise in "Angel," Billy’s blood infects society, causing men to behave violently towards women, and in essence, reinstates the cultural myth that justifies and requires male aggression. By contrasting these discourses, we hope to show that the two series use limnality and illness to maintain the societal myths about propriety.


1.      John Pinson, MA, ABD Lecturer, University of California, Riverside. On Patrol: Buffy the Vampire Slayer as Limnal Enforcer My contention is that Buffy he Vampire Slayer is a limnal figure, as are several of her cohorts. Her existence as Buffy the Slayer is contingent on her duties of "patrolling" the line between life and death, or else the worlds of normal and the paranormal. As enforcer of this boundary between worlds, she performs a delimiting task of preserving normalcy against the ever-present menace of the dark forces outside of normalcy. This is the obvious reading of Buffy, but what this reading allows is the mapping of the figure of the Slayer onto current social concerns about the enforcement of limits for the preservation of normalcy. Buffy can be read as metaphor for the mixed-race figure (Angel, and Anya, are other clear examples of standins for racial mixture). She is the figure between mortal and immortal, darkness and light. Though connected to the former as a young, relatively normal mortal, she is empowered by and implicated in the world of magic and darkness she works to limit. She also shares common traits (such as beauty, dual association and hybrid vigor) with other mixed race figures in literature from Kleist onward. Likewise, there has been a concern in several well-known American pop cultural artifacts with the penetration and enforcement of borders by and against manacing, alien figures, as in the television series "The X-Files" and the motion pictures Independence Day and Men in Black, which elucidate American social concerns about the enforcement of national borders in the age of globalization and NAFTA. Finally I would like to end by arguing (through the work of Dick Hebdige and more recent cultural studies work) that this concern with the patrolling of borders also conveniently maps onto issues of sexuality where the marginal space of the paranormal is marked as queer against the heteronormative world of Sunnydale. In moments like the possible but failed marriage between Anya and Xander the show appears to appeal to the conservative enforcement of sexuality.

2.      Christie Firtha, MA, 1st year Ph.D. Slaying the Slayer: Buffy, Insanity and the Tragic Mulatta In this paper, I explore the connection between Buffy’s trials with mental illness and John Pinson’s idea that Buffy is a hybrid character. I argue that a specific type of mental illness is apparent in Buffy and that this illness is shared by other archtypical figures, specifically that of the tragic mulatta. Against what one would consider her own self-interest, the tragic mulatta conforms to and fights to uphold the power structures that oppress her. Similarly, especially in the fifth and sixth season, Buffy feels oppressed by her calling. Like the tragic mulatta, she is "chosen" by the powers that be to bare the burden of limnality, which forces her to police normalcy against her own desires and self-interest.  If we recognize as part of the definition of mental illness a sort of sociopathy, where an individual is castigated and considered insane for not capitulating to social norms, then, during the fifth season of Buffy, insanity is rampant. Buffy’s mother develops a brain tumor, and during her illness, is able to somehow see past reality. Images float through her mind, making her aware that Dawn was not always part of her life and letting her know that her memories are deceitful. Similarly, in an attempt to solve some Glory related problems, Buffy meditates herself into a heightened state of awareness, where she too is able to see past reality. In this meditative state, Buffy’s world turns black and white, and she realizes that her memories are deceiving her, that Dawn has only recently become her sister, revealing 14 years of fabricated memories. Yet, despite the realization that her memories are false, given to her by the powers that be—read ISA’s of various sorts—Buffy continues to uphold the values that her memories impart. She continues to/begins to love and protect her sister from the very forces of darkness that threaten them, which, paradoxically, partially constitute them. Thus, Buffy’s insanity develops in the love she feels for an interdimensional key and her compulsive need to protect it. She becomes the tragic mulatta. Just as the tragic mulatta can see the boundaries of a system of meaning and how she is hailed into a subordinate ideological space, Buffy sees past the falsity of the memories implanted into her mind. Yet for some unfathomable reason, in a quest for some ideal of love and normalcy that Buffy herself does not fully understand she fights to uphold the boundaries of the very systems of meaning that confuse and oppress her.

3.      Beth Ptalis, MA, 2nd year Ph.D In the Blood: Myths of Male Aggression in "Billy"  For centuries, humans have been justifying male aggression towards women with the excuse that it is natural. Although many scholars have argued that there is no innate basis for male violence, this fantasy continues to perpetuate. In this paper, I explore the episode "Billy" in the series Angel in order to illustrate how popular culture maintains the illusion that masculine pugnacity is "in the blood."  In the episode, the part-demon Billy has something in his blood that, when it comes into contact with other men, causes them to become savagely violent towards any women that cross their paths. By all accounts, Billy’s power speaks to something "primal" in men, implying that all men harbor the potential for violence. Additionally, the episode positions Angel in direct contrast to human men: as a vampire, he is unaffected by Billy’s blood, for not only is he not quite human, as a man who has "lived" for hundreds of years, he has worked out all the anger and hatred towards women that Billy’s power affects. Finally, although women actively fight to stop Billy, they are only able to do so by killing him, implying that the only way to end violence against women is to execute the perpetuators. In essence, "Billy" implies that humans are unable to rise above the cycle of violence between men and women.  By exploring these issues, I hope to call attention to the discourses around violence and point to the manner in which popular culture reinscribes the myths of male aggressiveness.

4.      Merry A. Mariano, MA, 3rd year Ph.D. Disease, Vampirism, Child Birth and Dust: The Abject Construction of Darla’s Body This paper discusses the construction of Darla’s body by analyzing several episodes of the television program Angel. The purpose of this talk is to participate in the discourse that addresses how the female body—particularly the female vampire body—is represented in popular media. A discussion concerning the female vampire’s body is necessary considering how it is a site where Otherness is inhabited. At first, Darla inhabits the margins of society as a prostitute. She is further constructed as the societal Other by contracting and suffering from syphilis (a sexually transmitted disease associated with foreign origins). However, she gains agency by becoming a vampire; yet, this is a troubling agency because it requires her body to inhabit the margins of society as the undead. This undead body is constructed as a diseased body because it feeds on blood, a carrier of disease, to sustain itself. Darla’s pregnancy continues this theme of disease because of its abjectness to Nature’s provenance of motherhood. Thus, Darla’s body is constantly constructed as the site of illness, death and the uncertain. No other male vampire’s body has met with such travails in regards to agency and disease in popular culture. Hence, the female vampire’s body is the double Other—the being whose body is imperfect and ineffective.  This talk will address the differences in agency between male vampires’ bodies and that of the female vampires’. This talk will encourage discussion with how popular culture constructs the female vampire as the tragic vampire or the imperfect vampire and privileges the male vampire as the sole being with agency.



Balderdash and Chicanery: Science and beyond in BtVS

Andrew Aberdein


The status and limits of scientific enquiry have become the focus of urgent public debate. This paper shows how a philosophically informed reading of science and the supernatural in BtVS can advance this debate. I explore and critique a three-fold taxonomy of supernatural narratives: (1) reduction of the supernatural to contemporary science (as in The Hound of the Baskervilles); (2) reduction to a 'future science' methodologically continuous with contemporary science (as in Ghostbusters); (3) the supernatural as irreducible. Although aspects of this distinction can be perceived in many pop culture texts, from Star Trek to The X-Files, BtVS engages with it in much greater depth. The show adopts a grade (3) perspective, while offering a commentary on grade (1) ("I can't believe that you of all people are trying to Scully me" as Buffy complains when Giles attempts to explain away Xander's behaviour in 'The Pack') and—more extensively—grade (2).

Indeed, the whole Initiative vs. Scoobies plot arc of Season 4 is a detailed dramatization of the conflict between grades (2) and (3). There would be little true philosophical content in merely reconstructing Joss Whedon's metaphysical assumptions; but this conflict, and the way he resolves it, offer fascinating insights into a range of deeper issues:

• feminist epistemology and philosophy of science. How far do the different grades reflect contrasts between masculine and feminine 'ways of knowing'?

• debates between the sciences and the humanities: the 'science wars', the two cultures debate, and—going back rather further—the ancients vs. moderns dispute of the C17th all have congruences with the grades (2)/(3) contrast.

• does the show's commitment to grade (3) amount to an anti-science attitude? I shall argue that it does not, although this perspective does explain why such an accusation might initially seem plausible.



Claire Wardell (Dr)

Sociology Department

Goldsmiths College

University of London

New Cross


SE14 6NW


Taking the Initiative: Science and Agency in Buffy the Vampire Slayer


This paper considers the extent to which the television show Buffy the Vampire Slayer can be seen as a cultural manifestation of contemporary Western society’s disillusionment with science, as some commentators have argued. The dominant themes of magic, religion, and the supernatural constitute the epistemological foundation of the Buffy world, and the absence of technologies in problem resolution is conspicuous in the wider context of cult television. Indeed, the Buffy epistemology is so robust that there seems to be no need for science; science is not merely superseded by the magical and physical powers of the characters but is, for the most part, entirely absent from the show.


The fourth season of Buffy, however, represents a departure from this general rule. This season sees the introduction of a government-run scientific and military programme to tackle Sunnydale’s demon problems, and also sees the construction of oppositional relationships not only between science and the supernatural, but between science and morality. It is a very particular version of science – an authoritarian, masculine, institutional and militarised science – which is so heavily critiqued in this season, and as such it sits relatively easily amidst other oppositions such as good vs evil, adolescent vs adult, male vs female, and self-empowerment vs social control that characterise the show. Critical sociology of science has emphasised the role of agency in society’s relationships with science, and suggested that the apparently increasing public rejection of science may be more appropriately understood as an anxiety about the various sources of agency associated with science. Such insights can provide a useful framework for conceptualising the representations of science and technology in Buffy the Vampire Slayer.



Overloading the Operator: Computers, Sex and Magic

Stan Beeler


In computer science the phrase "overloading an operator" refers to the practice of having a given symbol have more than one function according to its context. For example, a plus symbol can mean addition of values when dealing with numerical data, but serve to indicate concatenation when used in conjunction with words and letters. In the the alternate world that Joss Whedon terms the Buffyverse, magic is a metaphorical operator that has a complex relationship with the real world verities of sex, computers and drugs. This intriguing multivalent use of metaphor is very similar to the practice of overloading operators in a computer language. Whedon and the writers make very clear some of the metaphorical equivalences that abound in the Buffyverse while others are only accessible to more subtle interpretation. In the first season Willow's chaste relationship with Jenny Calendar the computer teacher at Sunnydale High results in her learning magic as well as programming. By Season Six, we see that Willow's use of magic has become an addiction that is almost directly applicable to real world drug use. Willow becomes a junkie who seeks out a dealer who can provide her with stronger, more exhilarating magical power. However, it is also clear that Willow's magical power is somehow linked to her developing sexual relationship with another woman, Tara. The slow building of Willow's alternate sexuality is closely tied with her sharing of magical knowledge and power with her new lover. Willow and Tara's sexuality is often represented in terms of magic rather than the straightforward bedroom scenes between Buffy and her lovers. Yet, there is no chance of the audience confusing magic, the sexual metaphor, with magic as a metaphor for destructive addiction. In this paper I would like to explore this cross referencing of metaphors as an example of the complex interlacing of the fantastic and real in the structure of Buffy the Vampire Slayer.


Dr. Stan Beeler

Chair of English

University of Northern British Columbia

3333 University Way

Prince George, BC




Los Angelus: The City of Angel

Ben Jacob, University of York


Both literally and figuratively (the first episode of the first series is called "City Of"; the last "To Shanshu in LA", while the second series opens with a monologue on the nature of LA), the city embraces Angel. Angel also embraces the city. Exactly how both city and character are interrlinked is the subject of this paper. Simultaneously American dream and dystopian nightmare, at one point in its history commonly referred to as "Hell Town", urban geographers have long recognized LA's unique status as a metropolis: some call it 'Citadel-LA', others 'Monstro-City'. From the Wild West to Disneyland, via Chandler, film noir and Hollywood, LA is also a city with a cinematic and literary history. Angel embraces this legacy - and an older one, that of Blake, Baudelaire's (and others: Breton, Barnes, Dostoyevsky) "Dark City" of modernity and the Gothic anti-pastoral convention. The Gothic, detective fiction, medieval romance, film noir and (as James Naremore's study has shown) high Modernism are all intimately related genres. Tracing these influences, I show how Angel's LA is not only a vital addition to depictions of the LA and the city (reflecting, as it does, contemporary fears and anxieties alongside much older ones) but that it also re(-)forms this history in a way reminiscent of Eliot's urban Waste Land. As a figure who echoes both Samurai and medieval knight (and, more recently Chandler's Marlowe who also embodies these qualities), Angel follows his own Grail quest for redemption. As in the Grail quest, the fate of Angel and the city are one: the city and the body reflect one another. As in the Waste Land, Angel shores the fragments of LA - its cinematic and literary past - against its/his ruin. These fragments from the past erect a barrier of hope and redemption against the Dostoyevskian nocturnal city of modernity's nightmare.



She Who Hangs Out in Cemeteries (and Libraries): A Heterotopology of Sunnydale

Claire Thomson (UEA)


‘We are at a moment, I believe, when our experience of the world is less that of a long life developing through time than that of a network that connects points and intersects with its own skein […] Time probably appears to us only as one of the various distributive operations that are possible for the elements that are spread out in space’ (1)


BtVS is deeply concerned with biological and historical time, charting the developmental trajectory of adolescence into adulthood, emplotted according to a basically linear chronology and an anchoring in the temporality of the extratextual world ("Dawn’s in trouble? Must be Tuesday"). However, the show’s engagement with postmodern popular scepticism about linear time (or Benjamin’s ‘homogeneous’ and ‘empty’ time of modernity), through standard (and not-so-standard) fantastical tropes of parallel universes, eddies in the space-time continuum and apocalypse postponed imbues the narrative with a kind of spatial ballast: temporal disturbances and disjunctures are initiated or resolved with a (re)-ordering of space, such as penetration or closure of the Hellmouth (3.13, 4.11), the geographical dispersal of the Judge (2.13), or Glory’s tower (5.22).


The concept of heterotopia (Des espaces autres, 1967) is probably Foucault’s most tightly-argued contribution to his own call for a history of space. An organising principle of all societies, heterotopias are spaces whose function is to question or invert other sites within the culture. They may be sites of crisis or deviance (honeymoons, hospitals), of ritualised or privileged access (prisons, churches, saunas), or of utopian perfection (brothels, colonies). The heterotopia usually opens out onto a ‘slice of time’, a heterochrony, which stands in relation to orthodox time. And it can juxtapose in a single real site several, possibly incompatible, spaces. This last quality makes the concept useful for the analysis of film and TV (Foucault’s paper mentions only the theatre) as sites where heterogeneous spaces (that of the viewer, the studio, the live broadcast, the imaginary/fictional world) meet and interrogate each other.


Using examples from seasons two and six of BtVS (with occasional excursions to Angel’s LA), this paper picks up Foucault’s extended discussion of two heterotopias, the cemetery and the library: Buffy’s usual hang-outs. As simultaneously everyday and mythic sites, where time congeals (death) or accumulates (historical knowledge), these Sunnydale heterotopias are more than chronotopic narrative nodes. Read as counter-sites whose functions shift as the Buffyverse unfolds, they allow for a mapping of our own world of ‘places’ (understood in Marc Augé’s(2) sense as historical, relational and concerned with identity) onto Sunnydale.


(1) Michel Foucault: ‘Des espaces autres’, Architecture/Mouvement/Continuité (1984; 1967); translated by Jay Miskowiec as ‘Of Other Spaces’, Diacritics (1986)

(2) Marc Augé: Non-places: Introduction to an Anthropology of Supermodernity, London/NY: Verso, 1995, translated by John Howe from the French Non-lieux, Seuil, 1992




Lori C. Patton, Vanderbilt University


Since its 1997 premiere, the series "Buffy the Vampire Slayer" has regularly dealt in the sort of sacred symbols and narrative which (according to Clifford Geertz) any religion must provide to address the challenges of bafflement, suffering, and evil in human life. "Buffy" goes where few popular entertainments dare: admitting that there are problems which lie beyond the edge of our cognitive maps, but denying that events are ultimately inexplicable or that life is therefore meaningless; exploring suffering in many forms, but denying that life is unendurable; demonstrating that great evils exist, but denying that justice is a mirage or that right and wrong no longer matter. As practical theology aimed squarely at the problem of meaning and the challenge of feeling that you are real and life is worth living, Buffy frequently kicks butt, I argue, providing resources where traditional theologies cannot, or do not . This paper explores ways in which "Buffy" provides a potential space—like that ideally found in religion, art, and therapy—in which fans can safely play with subjects and concerns that would otherwise be too threatening, citing specific examples from episodes and from fan writings on the Internet (see D.W. Winnicott’s Playing and Reality, Gerard Jones’ Killing Monsters, Geertz’s The Interpretation of Cultures). The very ambiguity, or openness, in the series’ cosmology leaves space for viewers to attempt to develop their own set of meanings for terms like ‘soul’ or ‘hell,’ and more easily appropriate the mythology of the ‘Buffyverse’ to their own needs (see Henry Jenkins’ Textual Poachers). By transplanting homely horrors and fears "off the map," to the realm of monsters, where they can be explored at a tolerable distance from real life, Buffy also gives us the opportunity to expand our maps, to address the problem of meaning, and to find some hope and heroism in our own lives (with reference to Religion and Its Monsters by Timothy K. Beal, Paul Tillich’s Theology of Culture, and academic works on Buffy in print and online).



James South

Editor, Philosophy and Theology

Dept. of Philosophy

PO Box 1881

Milwaukee, WI 53201-1881


"'They show up, they scare us, I beat them up, and they leave:' the Dialectic of Self-Knowledge in Buffy the Vampire Slayer"


Slavoj Zizek has argued that one result of psychoanalytic treatment is the acquisition of the capacity to enjoy one's duty. In this paper, I look at the way that duty and enjoyment intertwine in the character of Buffy Summers, the eponymous heroine of Buffy the Vampire Slayer. Many early episodes of the series neatly delineate Buffy's constant conflict between what she wants (to be normal teenager) and what she must do (her duties as a vampire slayer). In the first part of my paper, I give several examples of this conflict. In the second part, I turn to an analysis of Buffy's two death's--the first at the hands of an ancient vampire known as "The Master" and the second a voluntary sacrifice of her life to close a passageway to multiple demon dimensions. I explore the very different contexts in which these deaths occur. The first, in which Buffy was only dead for a couple of minutes, ironically served the needs of The Master and was a path Buffy was led down by a prophecy. The few minutes in which Buffy confronts The Master, discovers that she was fated to aid the master in opening up the Mouth of Hell, and dies are extraordinarily painful to watch precisely because we can see her fear, revulsion and hopelessness. By contrast, her second death consists in her "gift," that is, it is voluntary and she greets it with open fearlessness. In the third part of the paper, I show how the second death demonstrates that Buffy has discovered a way to overcome what Zizek has called the deadlock between "the superego dialectic of Law and transgression." In other words, she has learned, or at least chosen, to distance herself from that to which she is most drawn, from that which is most precious to her--her life, or more precisely, the hope for a normal life. In her act of giving her life, she has learned to enjoy her duty.



Dr Jane Hodson

School of English

University of Sheffield

Shearwood Road

Shearwood Mount

S10 2TD


"You made a wish to someone you've never seen before?": the dangerous power of speech acts in Buffy the Vampire Slayer


Speech act theory, as formulated by Searle and Austin, treats an utterance as an act performed by a speaker in a context with respect to the addressee. Speech acts such as wishes, promises, invocations, confessions, and invitations abound in Buffy, with far-reaching and often deadly consequences. This obsessive concern with the power of utterances is of course a long-standing feature of Gothic fiction from its earliest inception. In this paper, I shall consider the role of speech acts in Buffy, comparing this role to that found in earlier Gothic texts.


In a 1992 article Michael Meyer uses a Foucauldian framework to analyse the functioning of confessions and vows in Matthew Lewis's The Monk. He argues that the transferral of confessions and vows from the religious into the private sphere in The Monk reflects the increasing discursivization of sexuality during the eighteenth century, and that these discourses serve not only to control but also to elicit desire. I shall argue that in Buffy we see this process taken a stage further. The religious foundations from which these speech acts originally derived their power have virtually disappeared, with matters of morality and desire now policed within the private group. At the same time, the acts, in different ways, become more rather than less powerful. Wishing replaces prayer, and may be interpreted very literally by a passing vengeance demon. Confessions must now be offered to the entire group, and any failure to confess in a timely and adequate fashion can result in exclusion from the group and even death. Vows are felt to be more rather than less binding when uttered without reference to any recognisable moral framework. In conclusion, I shall suggest that Buffy reflects a deep-seated anxiety about words in a secularised world. When the original institutional framework of the speech act has disintegrated, the power of the speech act itself remains, but dangerously dislocated from the context that used to govern its function.



Michael Meyer "Let's Talk About Sex: Confessions and Vows in The Monk", Arbeiten aus Anglistik und Amerikanistik 20:2, 1995, pp.307-316



Blood sausage, bangers, and mash: British English and Britishness in 'Buffy the Vampire Slayer'

Laura Hills


British characters are not new to American TV. Since the 1960s there has been a motley assortment of British butlers, baddies and buffoons in American sitcoms and series. The characters of 'Buffy the Vampire Slayer' are part of this long tradition. Giles, Spike, Wesley and the other watchers are quintessentially British: their language, accents, dress and even names denote them as such. But the portrayal of Britishness, and particularly British English, in the programme goes beyond national caricature. This paper will examine the use of British English in 'Buffy the Vampire Slayer', and seeks to demonstrate how it relates to wider themes emerging from the programme.


British English is the linguistic badge of otherness in 'Buffy the Vampire Slayer'. The paper will examine the use of British phraseology in ‘Buffy’, and evaluate the portrayal of Britishness. Taking Giles and Spike as the central British characters, it will show that their use of ‘Britishisms’ is a constant aural reminder of their (adult) outsider status in the California milieu of the Scooby gang. It is also a reference to the Old World credentials they share with vampires and their hunters. The paper will demonstrate that British English, while uniting Giles and Spike as outsiders, serves to divide them. Giles' upper class accent, and old-fashioned language, representative of the language of all Watchers, contrasts sharply with the Cockneyesque voice and abrasive vocabulary of Spike, whose journey as a vampire has brought him a long way linguistically from the simpering William.


The paper also traces what I believe to be an evolution in the use of British English in Buffy the Vampire Slayer. Despite its inference of difference, British English has increasingly become part of the language of the show. This increase in use implies an audience aware of the meaning of Britishisms in the programme, a fact reinforced by their incorporation into 'Buffy' fan fiction. References to, and use of, British English by other characters also denote its internalisation to the central core of 'Buffy' vocabulary. The paper will demonstrate that, as a result of this evolution, British English is now part of Slayerspeak.



"Extending your mind: the role of non-standard perlocutionary acts in Buffy"


Dr Alice Jenkins (Department of English Literature, University of Glasgow) and Dr Susan Stuart (Department of Philosophy, University of Glasgow)


In the context of a series remarkable for its interest in linguistic expression and its exploration of the formal possibilities of dialogue and metaphors for dialogue (such as fights), _Buffy_'s experiments with non-vocal forms of communication demands critical attention. Analysis of one selected episode, 'Hush', reveals dense patterns of authority, community and convention which interplay among characters and between characters and audience. Through a speech act theory-based examination of the public and private language games that are being played, and the uses of vocal and non-vocal communication, we identify examples of non-standard perlocutionary acts and the roles that these acts play in extending the agent's mind into their environment.



Slashing the Slayer: Thematic Analysis of Homo-erotic Buffy Fan Fiction

Meg Barker


'Slash' is a genre of fan fiction portraying same-sex relationships between film or television characters. Generally the characters in slash are not involved in a sexual relationship in the original TV show or movie, and they are frequently both male, although some slash is devoted to female-female or group relationships. Bondage, domination, and sado-masochistic themes are also common (BDSM slash). The term 'slash' refers to the convention of using the slash punctuation mark to signify the relationship, for example Spock/Kirk, Angel/Xander. Much slash fiction is written and read by women. This paper deals with slash fiction on the web which is based on the 'Buffy' and 'Angel' television series. The main themes within this fiction are drawn out and analysed in relation to other fan fiction and conventional women's romance fiction. Bacon-Smith (1992) has suggested that, like mass-market romance, most slash focuses on the 'first time' that the two characters discover their attraction for each other, and there are other marked similarities between slash and traditional romance, despite the homo-erotic and/or sado-masochistic themes. Jenkins (1992) suggests that slash is a genre about the limitations of traditional masculinity, as constructed by films, TV and standard pornography. This notion will also be examined in the paper, as will the relationship between Buffy slash, sado-masochism and vampire subculture. Buffy slash seems to differ from that based on other sources because there are more female/female stories and many stories involve characters being turned into vampires (becoming a 'childe' when they are bitten by their 'sire').


Authors such as Hardy (1998) and McRobbie (1991) have pointed out that it is important not to assume that pornographic/romance stories are read in certain ways just because of their content. Therefore, the paper also considers the constructions of the authors and readers of Buffy-related slash themselves, and their accounts of how they create and read this fiction.



Silvia Barlaam

University of East Anglia

Film Studies (EAS)


TUNING BODIES IN TV SERIES: the Straight and the Gay Male Body in ‘Angel ’ and ‘Queer as Folk’


This paper compares (tele)visual representations of the body in two recent TV shows: ‘Angel: the Series’ (US) and ‘Queer as Folk’ (UK).


The comparison between the bodies of the main male characters promises to be an interesting one: while Angel from the eponymous series is allegedly portrayed as a heterosexual man, Stuart from QAF is gay. This analysis will specifically consider the appeal of these male bodies’ portrayal; their relation to their target audience; the power of the gaze and its complex relation with the object looked-at; finally, the TV series Production’s reworking of social constructs to accommodate new entities.


It is said that 'opposites attract'. I will argue that the televisual media put a conscious effort into adjusting the representation, that is, ‘tuning’ these two male bodies in order to appeal to a wider audience. This construction seems to take into account the varied composition of the audience in more ways than one, and tries at the same time to appeal to all, by presenting ostensibly different messages through a perceptual coded, connoted and in fact very similar visual representation.


This paper is part of an ongoing research project about the sexual representation of mainstream TV series couples. Another section of this project (titled: "There’s Nowt as Queer as Folk: the British and American Televisual Approach to the Politics of Homosexuality") was presented at the 3rd Annual Southwest Postgraduate Conference "Flaming Intellects and Floating Acolytes" (3rd September 2001).



Dee Amy-Chinn

Queering the Bitch: Spike, Transgression and Erotic Empowerment


Spike: ‘I may be love’s bitch, but at least I’m man enough to admit it’

Lover’s Walk


The vampire genre has traditionally been used as a vehicle for the representation of queer sexuality. In contrast Buffy the Vampire Slayer (BtVS) privileges normative heterosexuality, with a token acknowledgement of a non-transgressive lesbian relationship and a negative view of homosexuality.


The paper will address the way Spike operates as the embodiment of queer sexuality within BtVS, challenging boundaries not only between man/monster but also between masculine/feminine (both epistemologically and ontologically) active/passive and dominant/submissive. This will be done by


a.                 Examining his hostility towards effeminacy while manifesting a hyper-femininity – both behaviourally and corporally – using Nicole Loraux’s paradigm of Herakles as the embodiment of the supermale and hyper-feminine and Judith Butler’s theory of gender as performative to explore the way in which Spike calls into question the relationship between sex and gender and the way in which he ‘performs’ vampire.

b.                 Looking at Spike’s performance of queer sexuality, not in the traditional vampire terms of orality and exchange of bodily fluids (in Buffy vampire sexuality operates through conventional penetrative sex), but in terms of his engagement in sex with machines (the Buffybot), public sex, bondage and sadomasochism. Gayle Rubin’s Thinking Sex will serve to locate Spike’s behaviour at the outer limits of the sexual charmed circle and the work of Pat Califia and others will be used as the basis for exploring queer behaviours.

The paper takes the view that having created the most fascinating heterosexual queer character on television BtVS nevertheless continually reinforces the heteronormative framework, equating queer with non-human behaviour and undermining the validity of non-traditional sexuality. This has implications for Season 7 of BtVS in respect of whether Spike’s ensouling will impact on the gender and sexual fluidity that has undoubtedly contributed to his cult status.

The Author: Dee Amy-Chinn is a member of the Dept of Media Arts at Royal Holloway College, University of London. She teaches representations of gender and sexuality on screen and is completing her PhD on controversial portrayals of gender and sexuality in UK advertising. Her article ‘Sex Offence: The Cultural Politics of Perfume’ was published in the Summer 2001 issue of Women: A Cultural Review



Elizabeth Rambo

English Department, Campbell University

P.O. Box 507

Buies Creek, NC 27506


Yeats’s Entropic Gyre and Season Six of Buffy the Vampire Slayer


Turning and turning in the widening gyre

The falcon cannot hear the falconer;

Things fall apart; the center cannot hold (W.B. Yeats, "The Second Coming" 1-3)


TARA: Things fall apart, they fall so hard... You can't ever put them back the way they were... ("Entropy," 6018)


One question was asked again and again in various forms during the sixth season of Buffy the Vampire Slayer: "What’s wrong?" Buffy was back from the dead, the theme for the season, according to series creator/producer Joss Whedon and executive producer Marti Noxon, was supposed to be "Oh, grow up," so why did everyone seem to be behaving so immaturely? The key was episode 18, "Entropy," and Tara’s allusion to Yeats’s famous poem, "The Second Coming."


The image of the "gyre"—the spiral or cone—became a central figure for Yeats’s poetry and thought. A complete rendering of this symbol consists of two interpenetrating cones or spirals within a sphere, representing "the world of appearance, a world in which, as he says, ‘Consciousness is conflict’. Wedded in antagonism, they symbolize any of the opposing elements that make up existence" (Ellmann 153).


The widening gyre, and indeed, several images in "The Second Coming," symbolize loss of innocence, irresistible change, and although most are associated with fear, destruction and chaos—in short, entropy—the end may be less than apocalyptic. In Season Six of Buffy the Vampire Slayer, the characters’ attempts to resist or evade change or growth cause much of the apparent lack of direction and self-destructive choices. While Buffy, the central character, begins the season in confusion, she gradually spirals down to a point of certainty and renewed mission. Her friends begin as a cohesive group and spiral outward, becoming separated from Buffy and from each other by internal and external forces. Certain aspects of the show reflect this apparent disorder as well. But despite the "anarchy," loss of control, even total fragmentation, Yeats’s widening gyre is precisely intended to take a system "beyond experience" to rebirth (Vendler 101). In many ways, the entire sixth season seemed like what I like to call "the anti-Buffy," but in Yeats’s mysterious world of opposing spirals, that is the only way to fully come back from the grave, the only way to win one’s soul, the only way to get past vengeance to forgiveness.


Works Cited

Ellmann, Richard. The Identity of Yeats. New York: Oxford UP, 1964.

"Entropy." Drew Z. Greenberg. Buffy the Vampire Slayer. UPN. 30 April 2002.

Noxon, Marti. Interview. "Growing Up." Matt Springer. Official UK Buffy Magazine. May 2002.

Vendler, Helen Hennessy. Yeats’s Vision and the Later Plays. Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard UP, 1963.



Stacey Abbott

Education Officer

British Film Institute

21 Stephen Street




Walking a fine line between Angel and Angelus


It is not unprecedented for a television series to have a vampire protagonist as demonstrated by the success and cult status of the 1960s series Dark Shadows. Similar to Barnabus Collins, Angel is a reluctant vampire cursed with a soul and desperate to atone for his past sins. Initially presented on Buffy the Vampire Slayer as a carefully constructed split between the good Angel and his evil alter-ego Angelus, the character seemed to embody a clear cut opposition between the notions of good and evil. And yet the audiences of both Buffy and Angel are constantly reminded of his past and vampire nature. When Angelus briefly resurfaces in Eternity (Angel season 2, episode ) through the effects of a drug that induces a feeling of euphoria, ie. it simulates true happiness, and nearly murders his colleagues Wesley and Cordelia, this opposition is undermined to suggest that Angelus is always lurking beneath the surface. Wesley observes that Angel "walks a fine line," a position he does not envy.


This paper will explore the way in which the relocation of Angel from a peripheral love interest in Buffy the Vampire Slayer to the central protagonist of his own series, has shifted the emphasis of his character away from the opposition between good and evil to the fine line that exists between the two. This shift in narrative focus, along with the gradual unravelling of Angel’s broader arcing narrative, has opened up the series to a more complex exploration of the duality of good and evil in the modern world, no longer opposing forces but carefully intertwined.



Mary Alice Money

Gordon College B Humanities

419 College Drive

Barnesville, Georgia 30204-1506



Angel in Pylea: A Fairy Tale for the Buffyverse


Scholars of the Buffyverse have generally considered the spin-off series Angel a less worthy achievement than Buffy the Vampire Slayer, and the Pylea episodes the least worthy of the Angel story arcs. I disagree. First and most obviously, these light-on-the-surface episodes (telecast May 2001 at the end Angel=s second season) provide a balance for the directly preceding episodes of one of the darkest arcs of BtVS, ending with Buffy=s second death in AThe Gift.@ Conflicts, revelations, and choices by characters in the BtVS arc are echoed in a less disturbing, brighter key in the comic-opera Angel arc. Also, the seemingly simple fun and games and surprises of Pylea provide the same antidote for the dark and introspective Angel that Cordelia offers to Angel himself: Wolfram and Hart might destroy the world tomorrow, but we don=t need to take it all so seriously.


Yet Pylea provides more than comic relief for an audience living in the Buffyverse. In the words of Keith Topping in the 2002 unofficial guide Hollywood Vampire, the Pylea arc is Aa fairy tale with a moral center . . . in which the hero rediscovers his humanity in the face of overwhelming odds, the heroine sacrifices love and an easy life for what is right and Wesley learns hard lessons on leadership and emerges triumphant@ (252). Appropriately, under Pylea=s sun Angel can live in light, and it is here that he finally accepts his shadow/demon self; Ursula K. LeGuin would approve (see her 1975 essay AThe Child and the Shadow@) as would Jung himself. If more is needed, the arc is also the foundation for more the third season=s momentous developments in all the characters of Angel. Wesley misapplies his newfound strength to destroy the Afamily@; but Angel, Cordelia, Fred, and Gunn use their new strengths to survive.



Drusilla: Disruptive Monster, Dark Goddess, Daddy’s Girl.

Dr. Lorna Jowett, University College Northampton


Drusilla was a regular cast member in Season Two of Buffy when she came to Sunnydale with Spike. Since then she has had recurring appearances in Season Five of Buffy and Season Two of Angel. In current criticism and commentary, Drusilla is almost exclusively mentioned in connection with Spike, Angel/us, Darla, or Kendra, the Slayer whom she killed in "Becoming" Part II. This implies that Drusilla is important only because she can shed light on regular or popular characters. Here I will explore the larger significance of Drusilla’s character in terms of wider themes of the shows, and of underlying issues, particularly gender representation in Buffy. Drusilla combines paradoxical elements. On the one hand she is potentially disruptive, indeed she has been described as "the most chaotic character" in Buffy*. As a vampire, and a "madwoman" she embodies aspects of the monstrous-feminine, violating order and law, while her visions tie her to the mystical and to instinctive (female) knowledge. Thus Drusilla is a powerful character, but this power is coded in particular ways as feminine. Indeed, on such a post-modern and post-feminist show Drusilla is, I argue, one of the most conservatively presented female characters. She was initially defined by her sexual and familial relationships with male characters (Spike and Angel/us) and continues to be seen primarily in relation to her vampire "family". Further, she displays many negative characteristics of "femininity": weakness, passivity, manipulation, childishness, infidelity, madness. I will discuss these aspects of Drusilla’s character in the context of Buffy and Angel, particularly with reference to the other female vampires on the shows, and in other texts.

*Brian Wall and Michael Zryd "Vampire Dialectics: Knowledge, Institutions and Labour" in Reading the Vampire Slayer ed. Roz Kaveney (London: I B Tauris, 2001): p57.


Dr. Lorna Jowett

American Studies

University College Northampton

Boughton Green Road





Good Girls Go To Hell – The 'Other' Willow

Chris Walmsley


Season 6 of Buffy has provided several surprises and disappointments for its following. The traditional 'big bad' (whether this has been the Vampire Master, Glory or even the postmodern Adam) was displaced by a trio of geeky ex-classmates while the solid Scooby gang seemed intent on self-destructing with the absence of the paternalistic Giles. The series climax, however, saw Buffy face her greatest challenge yet: an evil Willow juiced up with grief, revenge and, of course, Black Magic. Although it's a tradition within the series for characters to reveal their radical Others (Giles as Ripper, Xander's GI heroics, Buffy as powerless teen) these transformations rarely provide pivotal plot points and are normally contained within the framework of that particular story and for good reason: the function of the support team in any action/adventure story is, as Palmer suggests, "to demonstrate, by their own deficiencies, the hero's superiority" whilst providing "support for the hero's perspective on the action" (Palmer, 1989, p.188).


Throughout its run Buffy has been willing to play with and subvert generic forms but the transition of Willow from the mousy computer nerd, through her lesbian love goddess period to her final corruption as a dark demi-goddess is perhaps the most dramatic and is one that creates significant questions regarding gender within the series. This paper will begin by examining the traditional function of the support team in the action series before discussing, via Helene Cixous's essay "Sorties" and Gauthier's "Is There Such A Thing As Woman's Writing" whether magic and witchcraft provide a dark and exclusively feminine space within the series where female characters can escape the masquerade of 'womanliness'. With the theoretical framework in place (which will also include brief discussions of Irigary's "The sex which is not one") I shall show how Willow's potential for evil has been linked inexorably with desire throughout the series focusing not only on the series 6 finale but on earlier episodes such as "I Robot" and, of course "Dopplegangland" where the overt clues of Willow's destiny are revealed before concluding with a few comments on the role of sex and corruption within the framework of both the series and the action genre.


I am a post-graduate student entering the final phases of my PhD on Political Writing in the 1980s at the University of Durham under the supervision of Prof. P Waugh. I recently gave a paper at a Post-Theory Conference at DeMontfort University in Leicester.



Leaves of Dark Willow: Beyond the Metaphor of Magical Addiction

Peg Aloi


"Hell Hath No Fury Like a Wiccan Scorned" read the sensational, titillating teaser provided courtesy of UPN. The season finale preview hinted that the troubled trajectory of Willow’s life this past season would culminate in a misanthropic apoplexy of rage and pain, in which the young witch with nothing left to live for would seize her dormant powers and destroy the world as we know it. Or so the network would have us believe. The sudden, senseless death of Tara would awaken uncharacteristic emotions and behavior: ruthlessness, revenge, a sociopathic disregard for morality, and a sadistic glee at the prospect of murdering anyone in her path. The advance hype surrounding this storyline created an enormous buzz in the contemporary pagan community, and not just among Buffy fans. Of paramount concern was the misappropriation of the word "Wiccan," mainly because Willow’s spells and magics bear as much resemblance to modern Wicca as Buffy’s martial brand of vampire slaying does to the cross-and-garlic ministrations of Doctor Van Helsing. This crisis point in Willow’s character arc, following hard upon her addiction to magic and a harrowing period of withdrawal and rehabilitation, is one which functions on many levels as a powerful metaphorical examination of the very real dangers of drug addiction. But, metaphor aside, it is also true that Willow’s situation reflects the very real type of psychic damage inflicted when inexperienced practitioners attempt to use magical means to manipulate their lives and the lives of others. This essay will explore the syndrome of magical addiction, both within the show’s seemingly heavy-handed (but often subtle) fictional narrative, and through its real-life counterpart in the contemporary pagan community. Anecdotes and testimonials by contemporary witches, Wiccans and other magic practitioners, as well as modern texts of magical ethics and theory by the likes of Aleister Crowley, Dion Fortune and Alice Bailey, will be examined in an attempt to illuminate this very real phenomenon.



I currently teach film studies at Emerson College. In 1996, I taught a course on Witchcraft in Film and Literature at Tufts University. I was an unofficial script advisor for Blair Witch 2: Book of Shadows (I wrote the Persephone invocation). In my work as Media Coordinator for The Witches' Voice at, a recent installment of my "Witch Cinema" column included commentary on the Buffy season finale. Last week I gave a talk on neo-pagan ritual damage to standing stones at a travel writing conference at the University of Aberdeen; and am presenting a paper entitled "Cows in the Croft, Witches in the Butter: Praise and Protection of Livestock in the Foklore of the Highland Shieling" at the Harvard Celtic Colloquium in October. I am quite active in teaching within the pagan community, and have taught, among other topics, an eight week course on Magical Theory and Practice, the History of Modern Witchcraft, Magical Perfumery and Herbalism, and the Seasonal Festivals of Wicca. Finally, I am writing a book on paganism in the United States, to be published by HarperSanFrancisco.



Dawn Heinecken

University of Louisville

Fan Readings of Sex and Violence on Buffy the Vampire Slayer


Buffy the Vampire Slayer was created by Joss Whedon as an antidote to the defenseless sexualized female victim of countless horror films. However, it has a long history of situating its heroine in a world full of monstrous men and consistently linking sex to death and violence. Recently, the series gained critical attention and spurred fan debate in the U.S. for its sixth-season storyline focusing on Buffy’s often violent sexual relationship with her former nemesis, Spike. Interpretations of the storyline range from seeing it as representing domestic violence, replicating repressive messages of female passivity, or positively representing the strength of female desire.


This paper examines fans’ on-line discussions regarding the storyline to uncover the various interpretive strategies employed by "B/S shippers" – those fans who support the storyline - in their readings of the text. B/S shipper discourse reveals that shippers are not simply subscribing to sexist ideologies of passive female sexuality, but read the text in ways that are consistent with readings of other texts such as contemporary romances. Understanding Buffy as a romance helps explain viewers’ pleasure in dangerous men as a sign of female power. B/S shippers also show an understanding that the dangerous sexuality presented is a method of developing the female identity of the heroine. In addition, shipper readings demonstrate their desire to see a more complex representation of morality in the series and their pleasure in textual ambiguity. Finally, shippers read the Buffy/ Spike storyline as potentially representing a shift in the series’ epistemology and political message.




Esther Saxey

University of Sussex

Why is BtVS so Slashable?


The Buffy fanfiction community is one of the liveliest on the web. Slash fiction in particular offers a way for fans to discuss, interact with, and often to critique the series via same-sex erotic fiction. This paper considers why Buffy should be so slashable. The forms of narrative offered by Buffy - the long story arcs, with motifs of personal growth and the ongoing erotic interactions between key characters which extend beyond episodes and even beyond seasons - produce a state of tension and possibility from which new pairings and possibilities constantly arise. Slash often functions to "ground" these random erotic undercurrents in actual encounters, often described as conclusive and providing romantic closure. In general, this paper suggests ways in which sex in a series will always be different from traditional romantic closure as found in a one-shot genre such as the novel or film; how an ongoing series sets up a need for closure which slash can satisfy.


To discuss these narrative forms and their possible impact on the creative work of fans, this paper concentrates on Xander and asks - why is he always coming out in slash fiction? What makes his character so suitable for an identity-based story arc, when other characters (for example, Spike) can engage in same-sex sex without entering a similar personal quest? And why, in the established slash genre of hurt-comfort, do slash writers like to see Xander suffer so much before they let him have sex? The paper draws on idea of plot and narrative from _Reading for the Plot_, the idea of the romantic heteronarrative from Julie Abraham's _Are Girls Necessary_, Judith Roof and others, and on accounts of the motivations of slash from Joanne Russ onwards.



Bertha Chin

Battle of the ‘ships’: Buffy/Angel vs. Cordelia/Angel ‘shippers’ – hierarchy in the Buffy, The Vampire Slayer and Angel fandoms.


‘Shippers’ (short for relationshippers), within cult TV fandom are fans who adamantly support the relationship of their favourite couple. They form most of the major categorization of fans if fans were to divide themselves (and they usually do) into sub-groups. They are outspoken in defending their couple of preference, writing and distributing fan fiction and artworks, among other fan activities centring on the relationships of characters like Mulder and Scully from The X-Files; Buffy and Angel on Buffy; to Cordelia and Angel on Angel.


Despite the diverging storylines and recent network separation in the US, Buffy and Angel remains intricately linked to each other due to the (unresolved) relationships between the major characters of both shows. The fans’ relationship too, becomes connected, especially through the character of Angel as fans struggle to provide the accepted reading of his character, as well as his relationship with Buffy and Cordelia. This constant struggle inevitably creates a notion of hierarchy among the fans, most clearly exhibited by the antagonistic (non)-relationship between two of the bigger ‘shipper’ groups centring on Angel – the Buffy/Angel and Cordelia/Angel ‘shippers’.


Influential works on fandom, such as those by Henry Jenkins (1992) and Camille Bacon-Smith (1992) have not explicitly discussed fans’ hierarchical relationship within their respective fan communities. Even if this hierarchical relationship is acknowledged, it is often explored within the context of fan communities in the same fandom, such as Andrea MacDonald’s 1998 paper [1] on the online fans of Quantum Leap.


This paper will explore fans’ perception and exposition of hierarchy through the often-hostile relationship between the Buffy/Angel and Cordelia/Angel ‘shippers’, especially in both public and private online discussion forums; and how despite their constant insistence that the two shows remain separate, their relationships are often bounded and influenced by their interpretations of the characters’ relationships.


[1] "Uncertain Utopia: Science Fiction Media Fandom & Computer Mediated Communication" in Harris, C. & Alexander, A. (eds.) (1998) Theorizing Fandom: Fans, Subculture and Identity. Hampton Press: New Jersey, USA.



"I Believe the Subtext Here is Rapidly Becoming Text": Music, Gender and Fantasy in Buffy the Vampire Slayer




June 2002


Previous versions of this paper were delivered at Royal Holloway, University of London (7 December 2001) and at ‘The Aesthetics and Philosophy of Art’, University of Warwick (11 May 2002), alongside Matthew Mills’s paper on the music of the spin-off series, Angel. These presentations, conceived to complement and contrast with one another, together theorise the cultural significance in television drama of the discursive ambiguity of music relative to other aesthetic experiences – and the narrative values thus accorded to it – taking the two aforementioned popular shows as case studies.



Buffy the Vampire Slayer accords a special, integrated place to music, which participates subtly in the narrative and operates in conjunction with other topics central to the show, including fantasy, gender and sexuality, and (postmodern) genre cross-reference and subversion. Bridging the disciplines of musicology, gender studies and cultural studies, this paper explores the various facets of the role played by music in Buffy, in terms of constructions of musicality (Oz’s guitar-playing, Giles’s singing), acts of performance (music, dance, fighting, spellcasting), and the various strata of the soundtrack (musical numbers, original underscore). Considering themes from the six seasons of Buffy to date, this examination centres on the pivotal fourth-season episode ‘Hush’, which exceptionally includes nearly 30 minutes of material devoid of spoken dialogue – thus forcing music to the fore and thereby giving fleeting voice to a number of the show’s subtexts.


Drawing on the scholarship of Philip Brett and Suzanne Cusick on the correspondence of music/ality and sex/uality, and the research of Lawrence Kramer into the nature of music as Other, I investigate the explicit alignment of music with the elements of otherness in Buffy the Vampire Slayer – with dreams and the otherworldly – and the ways in which it functions on the show to reveal otherwise obfuscated matters of gender and sexual difference. This line of enquiry leads to the theorisation of music in broader terms as a decentring aesthetic experience whose (ambiguous) discursive framework facilitates the exploration and explication of issues otherwise shrouded in silence, by according it narrative value as an agent for enhancing the meaning of words and images. Music’s construction within popular culture as exclusive and allied to various forms of difference confirms its own Othered status and its corresponding empowerment to transcend such ordinarily impenetrable boundaries.



Meaning and Myth: Leitmotivic Procedures in the Musical Underscore to Angel, Season One

Matthew Mills

Royal Holloway, University of London


June 2002


Earlier versions of this paper have been delivered at the Fourth Annual Oxbridge-London Graduate Exchange Conference on November 17, 2001, in a session chaired by Ian Taylor entitled ‘Compositional Techniques’; at Royal Holloway, University of London on December 7, 2001, alongside a paper by Chris Wiley on the music of the parent series Buffy the Vampire Slayer, in a session chaired by Anne Widén on ‘Music in the Television Dramas of Joss Whedon’; and at the Conference on ‘The Aesthetics and Philosophy of Art’ hosted/sponsored by the Department of Philosophy, University of Warwick, on May 10-11, 2002.



In tandem with verbal or visual images, music becomes a powerful agent of ‘meaning’. The compositional device of leitmotif, employed most explicitly in the music-dramas of Richard Wagner, capitalises on the mnemonic function of multiple and ongoing associations between musical and extra-musical aspects of a hybrid artwork, which create a potentially vast nexus of events, themes, and ideas, all of which have come to be associated with a specific recurring musical ‘object’—a melody, chord, or rhythmic pattern—at each of its appearances.


Drawing on musicology and film studies, this paper examines the leitmotivic construction of the musical underscore to Season One of Angel (1999-2000). Using extracts from the series, I discuss the alignment of recurring motifs and significant plot events. By means of Turner and Fauconnier’s Conceptual Integration Network model, I examine how successive statements of motifs acquire potentially contradictory associations, and how meaning is implicitly negotiated in collaboration with other elements of the televisual medium. These implications lend the underscore a chorus-like function, inviting the audience to compare distinct situations and events, and thereby commenting upon the action. By thus acquiring new layers of meaning, which reciprocally influence and are influenced by audience expectations, the underscore assumes an inherently narrative voice.


Angel’s underscore serves as an important point of mnemonic reference not only during each discrete episode but also between episodes whose viewing may be separated by longer spans of time. The aesthetic implications for time-scale and continuity are therefore very different (and, indeed, more clearly pronounced) in a television drama series than in a feature film, and the significance of the underscore as a unifying means is concomitantly greater. I conclude by arguing also that the deliberate allusion to the Wagnerian music-drama serves to heighten the mythic nature of the plot itself, which deals with acts of heroism and self-sacrifice in the quest for redemption.


Buffy Night at the Seven Stars : experiencing the global phenomenon of Buffy at the ‘glocal’ level.

Gerry Bloustien


This paper focuses upon the activities of a local fan group for Buffy the Vampire Slayer in Adelaide South Australia. It explores the phenomenon of this experiential community, mapping the relationship between fandom and such ‘subcultural’ groupings, highlighting the importance to both of local space and place. Some years ago, the Adelaide-based fans of the popular American NBO television programme, demanded and got a local publican to host Buffy nights on a regular basis. Monday night have become Buffy nights at the Seven Stars, when the whole lounge bar ignores the pokie machines and idle chatter and becomes dedicated instead to shared intensive viewing; any non-fan client on those evening (the ‘non believers’) are quietly shown to an alternative room. While the fans also share their enjoyment of the programme in more private spaces, in their homes and on line, the shared activity in the pub both legitimates and constitutes their sense of (sub)cultural identity, belonging and authenticity.


Drawing on my own fandom, participant observation and unstructured interviews, this study probes the nature of a local fan group. It looks closely at the ways in which the Buffy group constitutes and maintains itself, re-examining the strategic tool of play in the hard work of shared cultural ‘self-making’ (Battaglia 1995). The analysis of ‘play’ (Handelman 1990; Schechner 1993) underpinned by Bourdieu’s insights on symbolic space (Bourdieu 1998) reveal the ways in which complexity, fluidity, heterogeneity and difference necessarily characterise many ‘subcultural’ groupings, including this one, which are often perceived as static and bounded.



Battaglia, D. (1995). The Rhetorics of Self-Making. Berkley, L.A., University of California Press.

Bourdieu, P. (1998). Practical Reason. Cambridge, Polity Press.

Handelman, D. (1990). Models and Mirrors: Towards an Anthology of Public Events. Cambridge, Cambridge University Press.

Schechner, R. (1993). The Future of Ritual. London, Routledge.

Turner, V. (1982). From Ritual to Theatre: The Human Seriousness of Play. New York City, Performing Arts Journal Publications.



Parasocialism and BtVS


J. Fitzpatrick

J. Fischer

Ani McCourt


Parasocialism represents viewers' connections to media characters (Rubin & McHugh, 1987). This is reflected in speaking to players during a sports game, reading about favorite programs, and experiencing an emotional response to program events. Past research has focused on TV personalities (e.g., newscasters) or daytime soap operas, but less is known about relationships to primetime fictional TV characters. Our recent quantitative study showed that parasocialism with fictional characters exists alongside other actual relationships (e.g., friendship, romance), defying a negative stereotype that it is limited to solitary individuals (e.g., McCourt & Fitzpatrick, 2002; McCourt, Fitzpatrick, & Fischer, 2002). Qualitative research has indicated that parasocialism is a multilayered phenomenon. Across two studies, Sood and colleagues (Papa et al., 2000; Sood & Rogers, 2000) identified five parasocial relationship dimensions: (a) affective interaction; (b) cognitive interaction; (c) behavioral interaction; (d) referential involvement; (e) critical involvement. The present study will extend the research by applying this typology to fan reactions toward characters from "Buffy, the Vampire Slayer" and "Angel". These characters might be unique sources of parasocialism because they have a context (vampirism) which distinguishes them from other programming.


The internet allows "Buffy" and "Angel" fans (and critics) a forum to express unsolicited public commentary revelatory of parasocial processes. The present qualitative study will be a content analysis of viewer comments posted on two public internet sources ( and Through sampling comments, we will identify aspects of parasocialism in accordance with Sood and colleagues' dimensions. This approach will reveal ways in which the programs affect such viewers and make a unique contribution to understanding the social impact of "Buffy the Vampire Slayer".



McCourt, A., & Fitzpatrick, J. (2002, July). The role of social

support and interpersonal competence in parasocial (television)

relationships. Poster presented at the Fourth Annual INPR/ISSPR Joint

Conference, Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada.

McCourt, A., Fitzpatrick, J., & Fischer, J. (2002, June). The

Inventory of Parasocial Investments (IPI): Development of a measure of

individuals' behavioral connections to favorite television characters.

Paper presented at the First Hawaii International Conference on Social

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& Shefner-Rogers, C.L. (2000). Entertainment-education and social change:

An analysis of parasocial interaction, social learning, collective efficacy,

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opera in India. Journal of Broadcast and Electronic Media, 44(3), 386-414.





Roz Kaveney


There has been a tendency in Buffy studies to look at particular episodes or seasons - as the show moves into what will probably be its last season, it is perhaps time to work out some overall responses and look for overall patterns.

For example:

1.      The original premise - adolescent angst modelled through supernatural horror tropes - has been opened out to deal with the problems of adulthood.

2.      The shows' complicated dialogue with, and reference to, religious and metaphysical themes has become significantly more intense (Xander the carpenter undergoes ritual wounding and saves the world from evil Willow, the fallen 'best of us', through unconditional love).

3.      The patterns of shadowing/doubling have become more complicated with Cordelia as heroine mirroring both Buffy and Darla, with Spike actually *choosing* to become Angel's mirror.

4.      The use of gender roles has become steadily more complex with empowered women not always being good -Willow's decision to destroy the world to save it from suffering interestingly echoes a particular sort of female multiple murderer - and males adopting complex gender roles when acting as saviours -e.g. Giles' acting as bearer of a coven's magic and deliberately fighting to lose.


The panel will discuss the future of Buffy macro-studies and speculate on

the likely logical development of themes in Season Seven/Four


Language I: Tropes of Translation

Chair: C. Thomson

Flesh / Food: Vampire Ecologies

Chair: Roz Kaveney

Mythologies and Modernity

Chair: Amaia Gabantxo