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Publisher Description

In both movies and novels, the "traditional" vampire is often presented as the "other" who threatens humanity. A white male who penetrates both society and the bodies of his victims, this vampire represents the "queered" or Othered because he embodies the fears and anxieties of the society he infiltrates. When considering some more recent versions of the vampire narrative, however, one can see that the vampire figure itself as well as the role of the vampire and victim have been subverted or rewritten in light of contemporary issues. Frances Gateward addresses the role of the vampire figure in film, but her analysis pertains to vampires in literature as well. (1) She claims that while vampires and vampire films are often dismissed or assigned cult status, "they have the potential to directly challenge the dominant ideologies of sexism, white supremacy, homophobia, and capitalism upon which highbrow aesthetics rest" (para. 18). The vampire figure symbolizes the potential subversion of dominant ideology. Gateward adds that "[m]odern fantasy does not invent supernatural regions, but presents a natural world inverted into something strange, something other.... If as Nina Auerbach states, 'every age has the vampire it needs'" then I pose this question: what need do hybrid vampires serve? Octavia Butler provides an untraditional vampire figure in Fledgling: the black and interspecies--part vampire, part human--subject, whom audiences read as a biracial figure (para. 34). While readers may perceive Butler's heroine, Shori, in biracial terms, the hybrid figure proves valuable for discussing Shori's identity and expanding the conversation beyond a rigid binary of black and white, vampire and human. In addition to the connotation of a hybrid entity as the mixture of two separate elements, it is useful to consider hybridity in the manner proposed by Homi Bhabha in The Location of Culture, where the hybrid figure opens up a space of cultural uncertainty and instability. For Bhabha, this ambivalent space, or Third Space, disrupts the unity and homogeneity of cultural identity to create an in-between that can be read anew. The negotiation of identity within the Third Space creates ambivalence at the source of authority and becomes a form of subversion. Ultimately, hybridity expresses the impossibility of essentialism and fixity through its embodiment of dialogic tension within its own paradoxical structure (Bhabha 36-39).

GENRE
Religion & Spirituality
RELEASED
2008
June 22
LANGUAGE
EN
English
LENGTH
28
Pages
PUBLISHER
Society for Utopian Studies
SIZE
210.8
KB

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