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Furthering ‘Buffy Studies’

Five years after the television run of the fantasy/drama “Buffy the Vampire Slayer” ended, scholars are still studying the issues this program brought to America’s living rooms.

In fact, a conference titled “Slayage Conference of the Whedonverses 3” earlier this month at Henderson State University in Arkansas brought together scholars from across the country who are studying the 20th Century Fox Television show. Academics in disciplines such as literature, music, pop culture and television, mathematics, philosophy and sociology, among others, converged to discuss and further “Buffy studies.”

Dr. Lynne Edwards, an associate professor of media and communication studies who has taught a course on the show at Ursinus College in Pennsylvania, explains the show’s social relevance.

 “Theorists from Eric Erickson to Milton Rokeach to Claude Lévi-Strauss and Joseph Campbell have argued that we all share these common experiences, struggles, goals, values, and stories … the human experience is, for all intents and purposes, universal. And Buffy personifies this sentiment on so very many levels … . Put all of these common experiences on a Hellmouth [a fictional universe established by the show] with two hot vampires and a booty-kicking, quip-tossing, sexy-as-sin slayer, and you’ve got cultural gold!”

The show’s protagonist, Buffy Summers, was played by actress Sarah Michelle Gellar through its entire run, from 1997- 2003.

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