They've Got A Theory: Scholars Talk Buffy At Conference This Weekend
Author: Kelly West
published: 2008-06-07 17:47:01
Some people say that the TV series Buffy the Vampire Slayer is just another overrated TV show with an overly enthusiastic fanbase. Ok, maybe the second part is true. We who love Buffy (and Firefly, Angel and anything else that spawned from the mind of the great Joss Whedon) do tend to get a bit excited whenever the topic comes up (or whenever we find a way to bring it up). That being said, years after the series cancellation, people are still talking about it and this weekend, Buffy is the subject of a three-day conference taking place at Henderson State University in Arkansas.
The people running this conference aren’t the first to analyze the series from an academic and philosophical perspective. In fact, according to what associate professor of philosophy at Henderson Kevin Durand told the Associated Press, the university library has a 15-foot-wide bookshelf packed with books dedicated to the series as it relates to “the philosophy surrounding the roles of friendship and feminism.”
Durand expects about 150 people to attend the conference and discuss Whedon’s work from all angles and perspectives. Not only will this include discussion on Whedon’s three previous TV series, Buffy, Angel and Firefly but they’ll also discuss Toy Story, which Whedon co-wrote. Over 90 academic papers have been submitted and will be discussed, including “Buffy and Feminism,” “Buffy and Identity,” “Gender Stereotypes and the Image of Domesticity in Firefly” and “Hero’s Journey, Heroine’s Return: Buffy, Eurydice and the Orpheus Myth.”
Buffy aired for seven seasons and during that time, the title character and her two closest friends made it through adolescence and into adulthood almost entirely in one piece (Xander was short an eye by the end of the series). For anyone who actually watched the series from beginning to end, it shouldn't need to be said that the characters all evolved quite a bit as the series went on, dealing with the pangs of growing up and finding their place in the world. (Plus they had that whole pesky hellmouth thing to contend to on a regular basis.) Whether metaphorically or more literally, numerous “real life” issues were addressed throughout the series, including homosexuality, parental loss, substance abuse, and all of the difficulties that come with growing up and managing responsibilities (school work, family obligations, stopping the apocalypse, etc). So needless to say, the people at the conference at Henderson should have plenty to discuss this weekend.
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