Stefan Waldschmidt Guest Lecture

Below is a guest lecture / discussion of Dracula and Foucault’s The History of Sexuality by Stefan Waldschmidt, an advanced PhD candidate in Victorian literature at Duke University. The discussion was conducted on February 17th, 2015 — a snow day — and takes this form because Georgetown was closed on the day Stefan was scheduled to meet with us.  We thank Stefan for sharing his expertise with us in this unconventional format.  The video, which is about 35 minutes long, has been divided into four parts.

Each student should watch the video in its entirety and post a comment, using the “post comment” function below.  Thanks for watching!





2 Responses to Stefan Waldschmidt Guest Lecture

  1. Sienna Brancato says:

    To start, I didn’t understand the Zach Galifianakis reference at the beginning of the first video. Also, after listening to you discuss shorthand, I’ve decided I want to learn how to do it (would be helpful for taking notes in some of my classes). I thought the most intriguing part of the lecture was when you referred to Dracula as a “novel of the media age” and discussed the book’s short preface. Of course, it makes sense to selectively choose what diary information to provide and the order in which it is presented, at least for the sake of clarity and continuity. However, an inevitable influence and bias of the mediator is present in this situation. You speculate that the mediator is Jonathan Harker, but it is not explicitly mentioned in the text. This leaves the reader to wonder through whose lens they are reading the novel.

  2. Boya Lee says:

    I was surprised by how relevantly Foucault’s thoughts could be applied to Stoker’s “Dracula”, especially concerning his point that people in the Victorian age were in fact always talking about sex. The novel contains numerous euphemisms for sex, such as multiple men sharing bodily fluids with Lucy, and literally penetrating her, helping to disprove the Repressive Hypothesis. Also, the continuous categorizing of information, done by the characters through Stoker, allows them to deal with new situations and problems, such as the killing of the Lucy vampire and Seward’s handling of Renfield. “Dracula” is a prime example of the fact that information must be carefully organized for meaningful discourse to occur.

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