Profs and Pints DC presents: “The Life of the Vampire,” a look at the origins and evolution of a feared and beloved cultural icon, with Stanley Joseph Stepanic, who teaches a course on Dracula and vampire folklore as an assistant professor of Slavic languages and literature at the University of Virginia.
You’ve almost certainly encountered vampires in films, literature, and perhaps even comic books or video games. They’re often portrayed in modern media as sexy and stimulating figures, eliciting admiration, envy, and, in some cases, even desire for marriage.
They’d be almost unrecognizable, however, to those who truly believed in the existence of vampires way back in the day, after learning about them through old Slavic folklore.
Come take flight through time and the darkest corners of the human imagination to learn about the origins of vampire beliefs, which date at least as far back as the 9th century A.D. Your guide on this journey, Professor Stanley Stepanic, has researched vampires and lectured on them for most of his life, with his course on them ranking as one of the most popular at the University of Virginia.
He’ll take you back to the days when vampires were seen as minor demons symbolizing disease and death, and he’ll describe the purpose they served Slavic culture. He’ll then walk you through the process by which they became today’s worldwide pop-culture phenomenon, discussing the attributes they lost and gained along the way.
It’s a talk that will intrigue and surprise you and will leave you better-equipped to recognize an O.V.—original vampire—should you ever bump into one. You might want to order something with garlic off the menu. (Advance tickets: $13.50 plus sales tax and processing fees. Doors: $17, or $15 with a student ID. Listed time is for doors. Talk starts 30 minutes later.)
Image: A frame from the 1922 German vampire film Nosferatu.