From Local Legends to Global Imaginary
Using the vampire as the emblem of the entire “Eastern” part of Europe, Tomislav Longinovic (University of Wisconsin-Madison) analyzes the rise of the Gothic imaginary in literature, music and film. Focusing on the Balkans as an exemplary territory plagued by violence, this lecture traces the parallel rise of the nation and the vampire. The figure of the legendary bloodsucker is permeated with a negative cultural coding of excessive violence and sexuality. Yet, this figure thrives in the European cultural subcontinent of the Balkans, where nationalism is perceived by the centers of power, knowledge and meaning as a particularly fierce one.
The connection between violent national imaginary and the post-Oriental condition the Balkan Slavs find themselves in after the Ottoman rule is analyzed by tracing the invention of “the serbs” as a prototypical example of the discursively engendered vampire nation. The European center refuses to see its own distorted mirror image in the abhorrent parasite requiring blood for its food.