Volume 4, Issue 1
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Editors' Note and Introduction, by Leah Richards and John R. Ziegler (7-9)
A Supernatural Spectacle: Film Style Within the Prologue of Black Swan, by Derek M. Dubois (11-23)
Abstract: Filmmaker Darren Aronofsky is well-known for a dynamic film style that showcases characters who self-destruct in visceral, kinetic ways. His Black Swan (2010) concerns a talented but infantilized ballet dancer whose quest for perfection in her renowned company's performance of Swan Lake leads her down a darkened path of self-mutilation. The film externalizes this threat through the introduction of supernatural elements—most specifically—through the emergence of the double. This essay argues that Aronofsky establishes his key themes and genre elements through the techniques of art cinema immediately within the film’s prologue.
Keywords: art cinema, the double/doppelgänger, film style, narrative
The girlie-wolf—good for nothing: Twilight and the Anti-Feminist She-Wolf, by Stephanie Gallon (24-37)
Abstract: Stephenie Meyer's Twilight saga has been an international phenomenon, yielding much debate about the agency of the heroine. Though a minor character, Leah Clearwater is a character worth studying and an ideal lens through which to examine the series, as she occupies a unique space within the world and narrative: she is the only she-wolf in the Quileute pack. This essay argues that an analytical focus on Leah Clearwater reveals that the Twilight saga, by cultural and authorial definitions, fails as a feminist piece.
Keywords: Gothic, female werewolf, feminist post-colonialism, Twilight
"Keeping the Past Present": Time and the Shifting Bog in Bram Stoker's The Snake's Pass, by Nancy Marck Cantwell (38-50)
Abstract: Bram Stoker’s Irish novel, The Snake’s Pass, interrogates the continuity of Irish history and national identity through a legend explaining a Connemara bog’s supernatural influence, a story that portrays the trauma of Ireland’s dispossession as indelible and timeless. This reading of the novel employs Julia Kristeva’s conceptualization of linear and monumental time to argue for the preeminence of the supernatural bog as a totem of Irish identity that persists in cultural memory to counter the forward momentum of the Anglo-Irish assimilation narrative.
Keywords: bog, Bram Stoker, dispossession, Ireland, Julia Kristeva
Cultural Human Sacrifice in Wes Craven's A Nightmare on Elm Street Films, by Brittany Caroline Speller (51-68)
Abstract: Wes Craven’s films often feature veiled or outright commentaries on their cultural context. With this trait in mind, a reexamination of his initial two entries in the Elm Street series is warranted. By utilizing a theoretical lens of cultural human sacrifice, combined with traditional film criticism techniques, this essay argues that Craven’s films A Nightmare on Elm Street (1984) and A Nightmare on Elm Street 3: Dream Warriors (1987) can be seen as inclusive of instances of human sacrifice that were deemed necessary in order to perpetuate the hegemonic societal norms of the 1980s.
Keywords: Elm Street series, horror genre, human sacrifice, slasher films, Wes Craven
Damsels, Dragons, and Death-girls: Married and Unmarried Foreign Women in The Book of John Mandeville, by Ellis Light (69-87)
Abstract: This article examines the (re)presentations of foreign women in The Book of John Mandeville, arguing that foreign women’s marital status is central in determining their inclusion in the category of the human. Unmarried foreign women appear as dangerous figures whose bodies transform into monstrous forms such as dragons and human-animal hybrids, while married women are seen as commodities whose value depends on performances of status.
Keywords: abjection, gender studies, Mandeville, marriage, medieval, monstrosity, travel writing
Academia, Relativism, and the "Supernatural": What is True, What is Real, and What is Reasonable?, by Elizabeth Lowry (88-98)
Abstract: Considering other people’s esoteric or “supernatural” experiences in a professional capacity can be challenging because, as academics, we are expected to reject such discourses. But while “critical thinking” presupposes a strictly rationalist and positivist standpoint, the act of thinking critically may sometimes require a more relativistic perspective on what is generally accepted as being true and real. Acknowledging the social and political dangers of accepting an overly relativistic view of “truth” and “reality,” this paper explores the plusses and pitfalls of relativism with regard to truth claims associated with the supernatural.
Keywords: esoteric, rational, reason, relativism, truth-claims