Atlanta Vampire Alliance [AVA]

Vampires & Vampirism => Vampire Community & Subcultural Discussion => Topic started by: Merticus on December 29, 2008, 10:18:59 pm



Title: Vampires Today: The Truth About Modern Vampirism - Joseph Laycock (Academic)
Post by: Merticus on December 29, 2008, 10:18:59 pm
Vampires Today: The Truth About Modern Vampirism
By Joseph Laycock


Publisher:  Praeger Publishers (May 30, 2009)
List Price:  $39.95
Format:  Hardcover
Trim Size:  6 1/8 x 9 1/4 
Language:  English
ISBN-10:  0313364729
ISBN-13:  978-0313364723


Amazon Order:  http://www.amazon.com/Vampires-Today-Truth-Modern-Vampirism/dp/0313364729/ref=sr_1_1

Praeger Publishers / Greenwood Publishing Group: http://www.abc-clio.com/products/overview.aspx?productid=111080


(http://www.veritasvosliberabit.com/vvc/gallery/2_24_12_08_3_46_10.jpg)


Description:  Vampires are not just the stuff of folklore and fiction. This book explores the modern world of vampirism in all its variety. Based upon extensive interviews with members of the Atlanta Vampire Alliance and others within vampire communities throughout the United States, Vampires Today looks at the many expressions of vampirism: "lifestyle vampires," those who adopt a culture and a gothic aesthetic associated with the vampires of art and legend; "real vampires," those who believe they must actually consume blood and/or psychic energy for their well being; or others who self-identify in some way as vampires. Is vampirism a religion? Is it a fantasy? Is it a medical condition? Is it a little bit of each? 

Throughout the world, untold numbers of people are self-identifying as "vampires" and following the ways of "vampirism." Over the years, but particularly in the past decade or so, vampirism has come under increased study, yet most scholarship has portrayed the vampire community at best as a cultural phenomenon and at worst as a religious cult. In this book, author Laycock explores the modern world of vampirism in all its variety. Having interviewed many vampires across the country, both "lifestylers" and "real," even those "reluctants" who try not to be vampires, he argues that today's vampires are best understood as an identity group and that vampirism has caused a profound change in how individuals choose to define themselves. As vampires come "out of the closet," either as followers of a "religion" or "lifestyle" or as people biologically distinct from other humans, their confrontation with mainstream society will raise questions about the definition of "normal" and what it means to be human. In this book the reader will meet "lifestyle" vampires, who adopt a culture and a gothic ascetic associated with the vampires of art and legend; and "real" vampires, who believe that they must actually consume blood and/or psychic energy for their well being. The reader will hear from members of the Atlanta Vampire Alliance and will learn about the Order of the Vampyre, the Ordo Strigoi Vii, and the Temple of the Vampire. Even before Dracula and Bella Lugosi, people have been fascinated with vampires, and this interest has continued, through Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Anne Rice's Interview with the Vampire and other novels, to HBO's new series True Blood and the recent big-screen hit Twilight. Readers will find the details of real vampire life--including vampire role-playing games, grimoires, "vampyre" balls, vampire houses like House Sahjaza and House Kheperu, the vampire "caste" system, and other details--utterly fascinating. 


Additional Notes: The author holds a Masters of Divinity from Harvard University, a recipient of a grant from the Pluralism Project, and currently enrolled in the Division of Religious and Theological Studies at Boston University where he's working on his PhD.  He has presented on the topic of vampirism at the American Academy of Religion Conference in San Diego where he argued that "vampirism" should not be classified as a new religious movement (NRM), to faculty at the University of Michigan and other institutional bodies on the sociological and emergent scientific aspects of vampirism, and has a paper in queue for publication with Nova Religio concerning the Vampirism & Energy Work Research Study conducted by Suscitatio Enterprises, LLC.  He is very well versed in the structure of the vampire community, has interviewed many individuals from diverse paths, and attended multiple gatherings.  Based on what I know internally of this work it is a serious academic treatment of the community and I've personally known Joe for nearly two years and he has both my trust and respect.  I'm looking forward to the release of this important work and encourage others to do the same!


Title: Re: Vampires Today: The Truth About Modern Vampirism - Joseph Laycock (Academic)
Post by: Lucia on March 27, 2009, 01:56:01 pm
I am so glad you said that the author was not responsible for the cover art work.  That is so garish and a caricature of who we are.  I suppose it's what the marketing people thought would "grab" people.  They should have poled us.  ;-)


Title: Re: Vampires Today: The Truth About Modern Vampirism - Joseph Laycock (Academic)
Post by: Merticus on June 04, 2009, 12:01:37 pm
A groundbreaking academic work on real vampirism and the vampire community is now available.  The long-term academic and sociological significance of this work can't be underscored enough. Joseph Laycock offers a sweeping scholarly examination of the vampire community and the process of self-identification as a vampire. He counters many of the negative stereotypes of the vampire community and posits thought-provoking arguments regarding ontological diversity. Some of the repudiated claims include those made by Keyworth (vampirism is best described as a new religious movement), Perlmutter (vampires represent a dangerous cult), and popular culture (vampires are all disillusioned youth living a fantasy). I strongly encourage everyone to obtain a copy of this book and link to it as a resource for real vampirism and the vampire community.

Amazon:  http://www.amazon.com/Vampires-Today-Truth-Modern-Vampirism/dp/0313364729/ref=sr_1_1

Barnes & Noble:  http://search.barnesandnoble.com/Vampires-Today/Joseph-Laycock/e/9780313364723/?itm=1

Praeger Publishers:  http://www.abc-clio.com/products/overview.aspx?productid=111080  *or*  ABC-CLIO @ Telephone 800.368.6868, 7:00 AM - 4:30 PM (PST)

* This book is primarily aimed towards academicians, scholars, and professionals who are referencing information on the vampire subculture. Distribution will be primarily to universities and libraries; not the general public unless individuals assist with such (Praeger Publishers leaves all external advertising and promotion to the author or interested parties).

Religion Dispatches Article:  http://www.religiondispatches.org/archive/rdbook/1438/modern_vampires%3A_your_neighbors_and_spouses/?page=1

(http://www.veritasvosliberabit.com/vvc/gallery/2_24_12_08_3_46_10.jpg)

Vampires Today:  The Truth About Modern Vampirism
Joseph Laycock


Chapter 1:  What Is a Vampire? or, The Varieties of Vampiric Experience
Chapter 2:  Why Vampires?
Chapter 3:  The Vampire Milieu
Chapter 4:  Initiatory Vampire Groups:  Vampirism as Apotheosis
Chapter 5:  The Vampire Community
Chapter 6:  Vampirism and Religion, a Dialogue
Chapter 7:  Out of the Shadows
Chapter 8:  Vampires and the Modern
Bibliography & Index

Sample Of Material From The Index:

Atlanta Vampire Alliance, Black Veil, Catherine Ramsland, Christopher Partridge, Clan Hidden Shadows, Corvis Nocturnum, Daemonox, Damien Deville, Dawn Perlmutter, D'Drennan, Don Henrie, Eclecta, Elizabeth Miller, Emile Durkheim, Father Sebastiaan, Father Vincent, Goddess Rosemary, House Dark Haven, House Eclipse, House Kheperu, House of the Dreaming, House Pantheon, House Quinotaur, House Sahjaza, Ian Hacking, J. Gordon Melton, Jeff Guinn, Kiera, Konstantinos, Lady CG, Lady Dark Rose, Lord Alistair, Lupa, Madame X, Maloryn, Martin Riccardo, Merticus, Michael Foucault, Michelle Belanger, Ordo Sekhemu, Ordo Strigoi Vii, Order of the Vampyre, Rosemary Ellen Guiley, Sanguinarius, Sarah Dorrance, Shadowlore, Sky, SoulSplat, SphynxCatVP, Stephen O'Mallie, Stephen Held, Suscitatio Enterprises, Temple of the Vampire, Twilight, Vampire Church, Vampirism & Energy Work Research Study, Vicutus, Vlad, Voices of the Vampire Community, Vyrdolak, Zero, Zilchy

Inside Book Jacket:

Vampires are not just the stuff of folklore and fiction. This book explores the modern world of vampirism in all its variety.

Around the globe, untold numbers of people are identifying as "vampires" and following the ways of "vampirism."  But what does it mean to be a vampire?  Is vampirism a religion? Is it a fantasy? Is it a medical condition?  Based upon extensive interviews with members of the Atlanta Vampire Alliance and others within vampire communities throughout the United States, Vampires Today looks at the many expressions of vampirism.

In the past two decades, modern vampirism has come under increased study, yet most scholarship has portrayed the vampire community as a cultural phenomenon or, at worst, as a religious cult. Having interviewed many vampires across the country, both "lifestylers" and "real," even those "reluctants" who try not to be vampires, Laycock argues that today's vampires are best understood as an identity group and that vampirism has caused a profound change in how individuals choose to define themselves. As vampires come "out of the closet," either as followers of a "religion" or "lifestyle" or as people biologically distinct from other humans, their confrontation with mainstream society will raise questions about the definition of "normal" and what it means to be human.

In this book, readers will meet "lifestyle vampires," who adopt a culture and a gothic ascetic associated with the vampires of art and legend.  They will be introduced to "real" vampires, who feel that they must actually consume blood and/or psychic energy for their well being.  They will hear from members of the Atlanta Vampire Alliance, and they will learn about the Order of the Vampyre, the Ordo Strigoi Vii, and the Temple of the Vampire.

There is no doubt that anyone who reads this book will find the details of real vampire life--including vampire role-playing games, grimoires, "vampyre" balls, vampire houses like House Sahjaza and House Kheperu, the vampire "caste" system, and other details--utterly fascinating.

Quote Selections From The Preface:

"Despite increased media attention, the vampire community remains poorly understood.  Television interviews, often accompanied by ominous music, work to portray self-identified vampires as completely other.  The reality is that vampires are all around us and that their subculture is a product of our mainstream culture.  If we can look past the sensationalism, vampires pose compelling questions about how we define ourselves and the world around us in the twenty-first century."

"Some drink blood to sustain their health and some do not.  Some describe a sensitivity to sunlight while others enjoy the beach.  Many compare vampirism to a medical condition with tangible health needs while others dissent.  For some, vampirism is a religion or a spiritual path while others ascribe no religious meaning to it."

"Vampires are not just lurking in goth clubs in New York City; they are all around us.  I have met vampires in the fields of social work, medicine, information technology, and law enforcement.  Vampires cannot be studied as simply other than and isolated from society at large.... One of my goals in writing this book is to stimulate and inform a discussion on how groups like vampires may be understood by outsiders and by scholarship.  Despite the public's fascination with vampires, the same two questions are repeated over and over:  Are these people crazy and are they dangerous?  The answer to both these questions, for all intents and purposes, is a simple "no".  If we set these questions aside, the real vampire community challenges us with serious questions about identity, religion, and the search for meaning."


Title: Re: Vampires Today: The Truth About Modern Vampirism - Joseph Laycock (Academic)
Post by: asteria on June 05, 2009, 11:30:20 am
I have to read this book.


Title: Re: Vampires Today: The Truth About Modern Vampirism - Joseph Laycock (Academic)
Post by: Merticus on June 09, 2009, 11:12:04 am
A note about availability...

Amazon*:  http://www.amazon.com/Vampires-Today-Truth-Modern-Vampirism/dp/0313364729/ref=sr_1_1 (http://www.amazon.com/Vampires-Today-Truth-Modern-Vampirism/dp/0313364729/ref=sr_1_1)
Praeger Publishers*:  http://www.abc-clio.com/products/overview.aspx?productid=111080 (http://www.abc-clio.com/products/overview.aspx?productid=111080)

* This is primarily an academic text intended for libraries, universities, etc.  Once the initial printing is sold through it's highly unlikely they'll be a second printing.  Likewise, this work will not be available in eBook format.  Therefore, this is your only opportunity and means to obtain a copy of this book.  We just want to make everyone aware of this ahead of time.  If you don't wish to wait on Amazon you may also order direct through the publisher at the link above.  If you've already placed an order with Amazon just sit tight... they'll be shipping soon.


Title: Re: Vampires Today: The Truth About Modern Vampirism - Joseph Laycock (Academic)
Post by: Merticus on June 10, 2009, 12:38:44 pm
I answered this question elsewhere but thought I'd post here for others to see:

Question:  Is there any reason not to be reserved in your opinion?  What makes this book different from all the others?  I'm curious.

I've known Joe personally since February 21, 2007 so my perspective on this is somewhat different.  He spent over a year (actually still to this day since he follows events in the online and offline vampire community) shadowing us here in Atlanta and even traveling with us to Ohio to House Kheperu Open House in 2007.  We worked with him on a paper he delivered before the AAR in November 2007 and he was present during the time we were collecting data for the VEWRS.  He presented us with an outline for this book in early 2008.  He asked for guidance navigating the information available on vampirism and the community and enlisted our assistance with contacting individuals from a myriad of paths, beliefs, and individual perspectives on vampi(y)rism.  Throughout the entire time I've been in contact with him he's been completely forthcoming and understanding of the reservations this community has towards the media and interest from outside sources.  He's taken a solely academic approach to the community in an effort to counter the claims made by Keyworth (that we're best described as a new religious movement), Perlmutter (that we're a dangerous cult), and popular culture (that we're kids in capes and fangs living a delusion).  I personally think he accomplishes this and then some in the publication of this book.

If this gives you any idea of his interpretations...

"Despite increased media attention, the vampire community remains poorly understood.  Television interviews, often accompanied by ominous music, work to portray self-identified vampires as completely other.  The reality is that vampires are all around us and that their subculture is a product of our mainstream culture.  If we can look past the sensationalism, vampires pose compelling questions about how we define ourselves and the world around us in the twenty-first century."

"Some drink blood to sustain their health and some do not.  Some describe a sensitivity to sunlight while others enjoy the beach.  Many compare vampirism to a medical condition with tangible health needs while others dissent.  For some, vampirism is a religion or a spiritual path while others ascribe no religious meaning to it."

"Vampires are not just lurking in goth clubs in New York City; they are all around us.  I have met vampires in the fields of social work, medicine, information technology, and law enforcement.  Vampires cannot be studied as simply other than and isolated from society at large.... One of my goals in writing this book is to stimulate and inform a discussion on how groups like vampires may be understood by outsiders and by scholarship.  Despite the public's fascination with vampires, the same two questions are repeated over and over:  Are these people crazy and are they dangerous?  The answer to both these questions, for all intents and purposes, is a simple "no".  If we set these questions aside, the real vampire community challenges us with serious questions about identity, religion, and the search for meaning."  - Preface, Vampires Today:  The Truth About Modern Vampirism; Laycock

Something else to keep in mind... this book is primarily aimed towards academicians, scholars, and professionals who are referencing information on the vampire subculture.  Distribution will be primarily to universities and libraries, not the general public unless we take it upon ourselves to assist with such (Praeger Publishers leaves all advertising and promotion up to the author or interested parties).  This will also allow passages and information from the work to be directly cited without the challenge of it being self-published material.  I hope this answers your question... at least until you've had a chance to examine the content of the book yourself.


Title: Re: Vampires Today: The Truth About Modern Vampirism - Joseph Laycock (Academic)
Post by: cassidy on June 10, 2009, 06:24:18 pm
I know The book Vampires Today is at Barnes and Noble I was just there a few days ago................


Title: Re: Vampires Today: The Truth About Modern Vampirism - Joseph Laycock (Academic)
Post by: Merticus on June 13, 2009, 10:24:38 am
Just a heads up...

Praeger Publishers & Greenwood Publishing recently merged with ABC-CLIO (an academic publisher which distributes to universities and libraries).  The ordering system (e-commerce portion of the web site) for Praeger/Greenwood for Joseph Laycock's book, "Vampires Today: The Truth About Modern Vampirism" was not fully transferred to ABC-CLIO's new system.  Anyone who ordered a copy of this book from this web link:  http://www.greenwood.com/catalog/C36472.aspx will need to call ABC-CLIO on Monday at 1.800.368.6868 from 7:00 AM - 4:30 PM (PST) to confirm that your order was indeed received and being processed.

Official ABC-CLIO Web Link For Book:
  http://www.abc-clio.com/products/overview.aspx?productid=111080

If you've not already ordered the book (or your order did not go through on the Praeger/Greenwood web site) you can place an order via the telephone number above during business hours or through Amazon:

Amazon:  http://www.amazon.com/Vampires-Today-Truth-Modern-Vampirism/dp/0313364729/ref=sr_1_1


Title: Re: Vampires Today: The Truth About Modern Vampirism - Joseph Laycock (Academic)
Post by: Merticus on June 15, 2009, 03:26:56 pm
There's been a temporary price reduction on Vampires Today based on new shipments from the publisher to Amazon's distributor.  You might want to take advantage of this before they are back out of stock.  Also, it's now listed as in-stock with Barnes & Noble and also available on the ABC-CLIO site directly.

http://www.amazon.com/Vampires-Today-Truth-Modern-Vampirism/dp/0313364729/ref=sr_1_1

http://search.barnesandnoble.com/Vampires-Today/Joseph-Laycock/e/9780313364723/?itm=1

http://www.abc-clio.com/products/overview.aspx?productid=111080 or ABC-CLIO @ Telephone 800.368.6868, 7:00 AM - 4:30 PM (PST) - Monday to Friday


Title: Re: Vampires Today: The Truth About Modern Vampirism - Joseph Laycock (Academic)
Post by: pier on June 23, 2009, 06:56:07 pm
         Thank you for always keeping us updated on things..Waiting for mine to arrive...Looking forward to your questions on the book..


Title: Re: Vampires Today: The Truth About Modern Vampirism - Joseph Laycock (Academic)
Post by: AVA Staff on June 23, 2009, 09:52:28 pm
Commentary by Zero of the Atlanta Vampire Alliance & Suscitatio Enterprises, LLC

In a media culture which has romanticized vampire fiction and a mainstream culture which has become increasingly curious about vampire realities, the texts on the vampire community that regularly make it into academic libraries and term papers are unfortunate works of armchair scholarship - gross misunderstandings and outright fabrications, allowed to exist because of a lack of answering material, armchair research allowed to pass for scholarship. The need for accurate information and scholarly, theory-based interpretations of the Vampire Community had been going un-met, and before this book, mainstream and scholarly interest had to make do with an ever-increasing body of substandard information. I'll not name any names, and some previous works were better than others, but none have provided what Laycock's book is offering -- the balance of accurate insider accounts with solid social theory.

Laycock did what no researcher before had really bothered to do - he studied the Vampire Community as if it were any other group. He researched the Community first-hand, he met with many representatives from the diverse sub-cultures within the Community, and he applied existing social and philosophical theory to what he found. In the process, he examined the previous work done on the Community, and exposed the prejudices, the incorrect assumptions, and the outright failure-to-comprehend that many previous analyses have offered.

In other words, many previous works have taken the Vampire Community as an anomaly, and then attempted to explain why we are sick, wrong, and dangerous -- outliers in an otherwise orderly world. Laycock has taken the Vampire Community as a working part of the greater society that its members participate in, and used it to explain how the Vampire Community is a product of, even a function of, mainstream society's ideas about self and identity. Previous analyses have placed the Vampire Community outside, or even in opposition to, the norms of society. Laycock's analysis has demonstrated that vampires have not only embraced the values of Western civilization concerning self and identity, they have jumped somewhat ahead of the curve in terms of self-exploration, self-narrative, and self-definition. It's possible that the "technology of the self" that vampires are negotiating today may be (or at least inform) the standard of mental health and self-integrity for future generations.

This represents a watershed in how the Community is approached and analyzed by outsiders. This book has decisively raised the standards for future interpretation of the Community.

I was delighted to see several chapters right up front that were devoted to sorting out the problems that researchers traditionally have in understanding the Vampire Community. Laycock pretty much lists every faulty analysis, every pitfall where a researcher has a blind spot or misses the point, and tears it to shreds. We have always known that vampirism is not in and of itself a religion -- vampires HAVE religions, plural, and many of them. We have always known that mental illness is not the origin of the Community, that we don't "think we are vampires" in the same way that one might "think he is Napoleon" or "think that aliens are out to get him." We know damn well that we are not suffering from porphyria, or any other "vampire disease," and that psychological explanations for why "we want to be cool" are not sufficient to explain our chosen self-identification as "real vampires." Yet, these analyses have been impossible to shake; they show up repeatedly in outsider treatments on the Vampire Community as possible explanations for our freakishness and supposed delusion.

The only truly shocking thing about these first few chapters is that Laycock needed only a few paragraphs to decisively take the above arguments apart. I thought it would take longer to take apart the misinterpretations of the past, to make room for a much more adept theory of the hows and whys of the Vampire Community. But it was a quick and painless process: here's the assumption, here's the history of that kind of thinking and the faulty theory at the root of it, and here's why it's not going to work. Laycock neatly dismantled almost thirty years of spurious psychological, psychiatric, religious, and medical "explanations" of vampirism. And he did it in less than thirty pages.

One of the first things that an insider reader will notice is a distinct and thorough exploration of the internal diversity of the Vampire Community. This is something that outside analysts usually miss; they tend to pick the groups within the Community that confirm their (faulty) theories, or focus on the most flamboyant and visible subcultures, and ignore the existence of the rest. Laycock gives the reader some important and, in my opinion, extremely adept distinctions by which to understand the Community. The most important thing that vampires can take away from his explanations is that the distinctions are based on the Vampire Community's own terms and analyses, not on any outsider interpretations. The idea of sanguinarian and psi vampires, initiatory versus Awakened models, Lifestyler and "real" vampires will be familiar dichotomies. Laycock allows the Community to make its own meanings, and in doing so has provided a much more accurate view of the Community to outsiders than I think has ever been shown before.

Laycock also does a very adept job of untangling the Vampire Community's relationship with vampire fiction and folklore. Usually, we just get a "facts versus fiction" rundown where a cheeky author explains that real vampires don't sleep in coffins and don't turn into bats. In the place of this nonsense, Laycock gives us a very adept analysis of what he calls the "vampire milieu," and its points of intersection and diversion with the real Vampire Community. Here, the reader's mileage may vary - I'm not sure I entirely agree with all the conclusions he reaches, and I definitely think that the "vampire milieu" served more as an an information surrogate than an inspiration for the early community, but the idea itself will be extremely useful as a replacement for the traditional bullet-points list of how real vampires are different from those of fiction. It shows how our culture has absorbed the word, the myth, the fiction, and the pop culture icon of the vampire, and suggests ways in which the Vampire Community has been informed by the milieu. Feel free to agree, disagree, or discuss.

Laycock includes in his "vampire milieu" ideas which are not explicitly attributed to vampirism in fiction and folklore, but which the vampire community makes use of: prana, "energy," magick, Chi, and holistic medicine theory, among others. With this argument, he establishes a cultural context in which many types and groups of people can separately make use of the idea of "vampires," and sets up arguments later on in the book for distinguishing these from one another. The Vampire Community will find this very useful in explaining how roleplayers, lifestylers, sanguinarian and psi vampires can participate in the same community, and why the media can label high-profile murderers "vampires," even when the perpetrators are unconnected to the Vampire Community. These are things we have always known to be true, but never had a clear explanation of before. Laycock has laid out the framework for an argument that "informed by" does not mean, or lead to "obsessed with," or "controlled by."

One of the most important ramifications of this book for our Community will probably come directly from Laycock's refusal to treat vampires as social outsiders. Vampires understand our own roles as members of society as we support our friends, relatives, and communities -- we don't feel disconnected from society "because we are vampires," as many outside analysts have guessed, and likewise, we don't "think we are vampires" because we are disconnected. If vampires feel like outsiders in society, it's usually because we feel that society doesn't accept us, not because we have rejected our communities. Survey says... most vampires are involved in their communities, as church members, PTA members, volunteers, or civil service workers. Some are firefighters, police, EMTs, and soldiers. How can this be, if, as the armchair analysts say, vampires are social outcasts, repudiators of mainstream values?

Laycock uses the accounts given by real vampires to provide an explanation of vampirism, not as a cult, a delusion or a psychopathology, not as a "new religious movement" or monolithic rejection of mainstream spiritual values, but as an "identity group," one identity construction among many which individuals in modern Western society use to construct their self. Laycock's interpretation of vampirism as a "self-narrative," a "technology of the self," and an expression of the free market style of person-hood which is dominant in the Western world today is especially important to the Vampire Community and to outsiders trying to understand us. Vampires have always prized the narrative of the self - the personal history of discovery, the story of personal Awakening. Vampires think of the vampire identity as what Laycock calls "essentialist - " we are a group because of our nature and experiences, not because of outside forces (though outside cultural forces like the "vampire milieu" have played a role in our choice of metaphors and aesthetics, at times). Laycock's argument is that in defining ourselves as "vampire," we are doing what every other identity group in the West is doing in demanding the right to define ourselves and our spiritual realities. I do disagree with Laycock that the "ontological reality" that vampires claim for themselves is actually a form of subjective individualism -- vampires themselves expect that physical realities for us like sunlight intolerance will someday be understood medical phenomena, for example. But the idea that individuals expecting to be able to define themselves through the experiences that are important to them -- the self-narrative, personal interpretations and subjective perception of experiences -- rings true, as does the idea that "vampires" are not rejectors of society or humanity, but instead are engaged in exactly the same work of self-definition that everyone else in our society is, and that the choice of a "vampire" identity isn't a warning sign of potential disaster, but just another instance of modern culture's everyday constructions of self.


Title: Re: Vampires Today: The Truth About Modern Vampirism - Joseph Laycock (Academic)
Post by: Merticus on June 24, 2009, 03:12:45 pm
Book Review By Chris Braak
http://threatquality.com/2009/06/23/reviews-vampires-today-the-truth-about-modern-vampires/

Reviews: Vampires Today: The Truth About Modern Vampires

I have watched with joy and dismay as my friend Joe Laycock, with whom I attended Hampshire College, by dint of research and training, rapidly exceeded my own ad-hoc and eclectic folkloric knowledge.  Joy because it’s good to know a guy that knows about this stuff; dismay because I hate the idea that people are better at things than me.

Joe’s book, Vampires Today:  The Truth About Modern Vampires, is a piece that I could have never written.  It is an ethnographic study of modern, self-identified “vampires,” and it is exhaustive, clear, intelligent, and wholly non-judgmental.

This is about all there is to say about it because, like I said, it’s an ethnographic study.  Exhaustive, clear, intelligent, and wholly non-judmental are the four categories by which an ethnographic study is evaluated, and there you have it.

(Just to be clear:  I could probably do the intelligent part, but exhaustive?  No way.  Joe, you are a better man than I am.)

Do you want to know what modern vampires are like?  You’ll probably be disappointed to discover that they’re basically like regular people, only slightly kookier, and more committed to their lifestyle than you are.  And, in fact, they’re not even that much kookier than, say, die-hard Phillies fans, whose obsession influences their style of dress, behaviors, and makes their lives rife with superstition.  (No doubt once the Phillies won the pennant, ten thousand new post/propter fallacies were given validity, just like with Skinner and those pigeons.)

The two things that especially fascinated me (in light of a post I’m going to do this week about my first zazen session) were:  1) the technology of self.  2)  Self-narrative.

Actually, wait, let me do (2) first.  Joe offers up a theory that modern self-identified vampires are participating in a kind of self-directed autonarrative:  that because we live in a world in which our positions are not defined, expectations are unclear, our faith in authority has waned, and our experiences are not always satisfactorily explained, modern human beings must create a narrative of self-identity themselves.

The process appears to work both ways.  A person has an experience, chooses the cultural context from “the vampire millieu” (for whatever reason), and in turn continues to define and refine their experience according to those terms.  It’s a process that seems to lend itself to an oscillation between conformity and radical individualism, as contextual elements are reinterpreted according to individual elements.

What’s doubly fascinating, of course, are the circumstances of psychologists trying to define the “vampire condition”–using the word “vampire” in a new context to describe individuals who have repurposed the word “vampire” to be commensurate with their own context; which word itself was coined to describe a different condition entirely.  Civilization is revealed to be a series of increasingly elaborate metaphors designed to explain the failures of the previous metaphors.

It’s interesting to look at vampire self-identification as a kind of pathology, though not really fruitful, as most self-identified vampires don’t appear to be pathological.  I mean this in a very specific sense, I guess–a fear of spiders isn’t a psychological disorder; spiders are weird, and sometimes dangerous.  Arachnophobia–an uncontrollable, paralyzing terror of spiders–is a psychological disorder, because the fear is not commensurate with the reality (spiders, after all, aren’t that dangerous).

Self-identifying as a vampire, I think, probably is a kind of escape-fantasy, but not a pathological one–it’s no different than any of the many, many, many fantasies we concoct for ourselves to divorce our personal narrative from the reality of the world.  The process of needing to identify ourselves as individuals with special characteristics and with commonalities with other individuals is a natural, native human tendency, and the combination of Internets, the Age of Enlightenment, and Universal Pictures has just made it possible for that tendency to find expression in vampirism.

However, one of the interesting things about being a vampire is how it leads back to (1) the technology of the self.  That is this:  we build ourselves.  In the old days, we probably didn’t have to as much; because there were fewer choices available to people about EVERYTHING, the need to know about and have opinions about things was much lower.

But now not only do I have to decide what church I’m going to, I’ve got to decide what shoes I’ll wear, what music I like, what movies I’ll go to, who I want to date, where I want to live, what my favorite kind of sandwich is, do I want coffee this morning and if I do WHAT KIND?

All of this yields to a correspondingly-greater need for a specific individual identity.

Moreover, there’s also an innate human need for (or, at least, satisfaction in) self-improvement and self-discipline.  The modern vampire social context provides a vast array of tools with which to build self-identity at a psychological, emotional, and even physical level.

I like this idea of the technology of self, it is fascinating to me; a kind of personal alchemy that underlies all of those old esoteric lodges and your church sleepaway camps and martial arts and self-help books and Hermann Hesse’s Siddartha.  In virtually all respects, the commitment is more important than the object of that commitment.

So, good on you, modern vampires.  You have found the thing that I haven’t invented yet.

This entry was posted on June 23, 2009 at 11:19 am and is filed under Braak, reviews with tags Braak. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.


Title: Re: Vampires Today: The Truth About Modern Vampirism - Joseph Laycock (Academic)
Post by: Merticus on July 07, 2009, 04:55:41 pm
Amazon

Excellent, thorough, clear and non-judgmental
June 23, 2009
C. Braak


Laycock's "Vampires Today" is an excellent example of well-executed ethnography. With a simple, unblemished curiosity, he examines the lives of modern American communities of self-identified vampires; in so doing, he shreds the illusions fostered by them. Not gangs of criminals, or weird psychopaths, or burgeoning serial killers; America's modern vampires aren't any stranger than anyone else with a non-mainstream lifestyle. If the goal of good ethnography can be said to prevent the demonization of strangers, then Vampires Today can be rightly said to have achieved it.

A Fascinating Work
July 5, 2009
E. Snyder "E. Snyder" (Astoria, NY)


First of all, ignore the cover. There's nothing over the top or melodramatic about Laycock's study of modern vampirism. Instead, this is a thoughtful, balanced look at a subculture which is commonly sensationalized by the media and, from time to time, sensationalized by itself.

Self-identified "real vampires" represent one of several movements popularized and galvanized by the internet. Laycock offers an detailed history of the movement, including its origins in ceremonial magic, paganism, vampire films and literature, and even role-playing games. He neither attempts to demonize nor romanticize his research subjects: this is an entirely unbiased approach.

Anyone interested in vampires - real or fictitious - will find this a fascinating read. Those researching vampires or any other identity group emerging from the internet will find this indispensable as a resource.

A manual for understanding the vampire community
July 7, 2009
Telegram Sam


There's been a significant increase in the amount of vampire-related material in the popular media recently; vampire fiction has become more varied and more accessible, and with it, mainstream culture is becoming more acquainted with the concepts both of vampire fiction and of vampire reality. Fans of mainstream television and bestseller novels will now be familiar with the vampire as a cultural icon, and may have picked up on the fact that there is a real-life subculture out there which shares a name, maybe a bit of fashion-sense, maybe a bit of terminology, with the familiar tropes of fiction. They may have seen a recent talk show or documentary, where guests spoke of themselves as "real vampires," or read an interview with a community member online or in a local newspaper. However, despite this swell of interest in vampire fiction, and the attention it has brought to the real-life Vampire Community, there have been few materials about the Community produced for anything other than entertainment purposes. Respected members of the Vampire Community have been interviewed by these shows (often, they have agreed to the appearances to ensure that their community gets a say in how it is portrayed); as a result, many of the shows produced for educational TV channels have been more informative and less biased than they otherwise would have been, and many are a decent informal introduction to the Vampire Community. However, they're still entertainment - sensationalist, steeped in "spooky" music, and treated by the networks as a Halloween special. The fact remains that there is a distinct interest in the Vampire Community on the part of mainstream culture, and until this book, there has been a dearth of accurate, scholarly information about it.

In this sense, the public has really lucked out with Joseph Laycock's "Vampries Today;" this is a solid work of scholarship, it's smart and informed, and makes its arguments skillfully. The writing is appropriate for a scholarly and academic audience, but accessible enough to appeal to a mainstream, general audience. This is not an easy trick, but Laycock pulls it off well enough that this title will be equally at home on the Barnes and Noble bookshelf or in the stacks of your university's library. "Vampires Today" is informed by solid research, and is presented to the reader in a way that will shed light on the vampire fiction phenomenon and the Vampire Community alike.

Laycock did what no academic researcher before had really bothered to do - he studied the Vampire Community as if it were any other subcultural group. He researched the Community first-hand, he met with many representatives from the diverse sub-cultures within the Community, and he applied existing social and philosophical theory to what he found. In the process , he examined the previous work done on the Community, and exposed the prejudices, the incorrect assumptions, and the outright failure to comprehend that many previous analyses have offered. Many previous works have taken the Vampire Community as an anomaly, and then attempted to explain why self-identified vampires were pathological, delusional, or dangerous -- outliers in an otherwise orderly world. Laycock has taken the Vampire Community as a working part of the greater society that its members participate in, and used it to explain how the Vampire Community is a product of, even a function of, mainstream society's ideas about self and identity.

Anyone interested in understanding the Vampire Community from an academic perspective will find "Vampires Today" useful, especially in the realm of dismissing previous unhelpful theories. Several chapters are devoted to sorting out the problems that researchers traditionally have in understanding the Vampire Community. Laycock neatly dismantles almost thirty years of spurious psychological, psychiatric, religious, and medical "explanations" of vampirism, calling on his knowledge of the reality of the vampire experience to demonstrate the spuriousness of these analyses.

In their place, he offers a thorough exploration of the internal diversity of the Vampire Community, key distinctions based on the subculture's own terms and analyses. He uses the accounts given by real vampires to provide an explanation of vampirism, not as a cult, a delusion or a psychopathology, not as a "new religious movement" or monolithic rejection of mainstream spiritual values, but as an "identity group," one option among many, which individuals in modern Western society use to construct their selves.

Insider readers will find that this is an attentive and informed ethnography; as other reviewers have pointed out, the author remains unbiased and objective. His perspective will be refreshing to participants in the Vampire Community who are accustomed to the inevitable drama which some authors in the past have injected into their accounts. With the exception of the questionable cover art (usually the domain of the publisher, not the author) there is no "spooky music" backdrop to this story, no supernatural sub-plot running through the text.

For those in the Vampire Community wondering whether "Vampires Today" will represent you accurately, you will likely be pleasantly surprised. Some authors, especially the chief detractors and panic-mongers, tend to cherry-pick the groups within the Community that confirm their (faulty) theories, or focus on the most flamboyant and visible subcultures, and ignore the existence of the rest. In contrast, Laycock offers a thorough and accurate exploration of the internal diversity of the Vampire Community.

Readers from within the vampire subculture may also find several of Laycock's assertions useful; his ideas about the "vampire milieu" will shed light on the murky and often repudiated relationship between vampire folklore, fiction, and Community. The construction of vampirism as an "identity group" may be appealing for many Community members who sensed the solidity of the Community but had no theoretical framework to put it in. The author's assertion that vampirism is an "essentialist" identity is a formalized, theoretical way of framing an assertion that vampires themselves have been making for years. This approach will assist vampires in talking to academia about themselves, and provides a philosophical context that can shift the conversation about self-identified vampires from one of pathology to one of discovery and self-integrity, from sickness to health.

"Vampires Today" covers every aspect of why the Vampire Community is difficult for researchers to understand, it dismantles faulty thinking about the Vampire Community and about the phenomenon of modern vampirism, and it uses attentive research to provide the reader a framework by which to understand not only the vampire identity, but also the way identity and self-narrative function in our society in general. "Vampires Today" can inform the reader about vampirism, but it also spells out what vampires can offer the mainstream: the technology of self-exploration, and the processes of constructing identity out of self-discovery, meaning out of metaphor, and community out of shared experience.

Intellect Rising
July 8, 2009
Emily Eidson "Emily The Strange" (Atlanta)


In a world of sound-bytes and sensationalism, Joseph Laycock is a shining star of true journalistic integrity as well as sincere research and presentation. As paranormal fiction and it's sub-genre paranormal romance novels have become the fast food of books-cheap, easy to obtain, and leave you hungry only hours after a meal- Vampires today is real meat! Well researched, and unbiased, Vampires today truly investigates the roots of the Vampire/Vampyre community in all it's myriad facets. Laycock utilizes a wealth of historical resources, articles and quotes to amazing results. This should be THE resource for anyone who wants to delve into the reality of Modern Vampires, rather than being blizkrieged by the flash in the pan of the media's Vampire flavor of the month.

Barnes & Noble:

Recommended reading on the Vampire Community
July 5, 2009
TwoWeeksTillPayday


Due in part to the growth of the community on the Internet, and in part to the recent popularity of vampire fiction, there has been a determined upswing in interest in the Vampire Community on the part of mainstream culture. However, until this book, there has been a dearth of accurate, scholarly information about it. In this sense, the public has really lucked out with Joseph Laycock's "Vampries Today;" this is a solid work of scholarship, it's smart and informed, and makes its arguments skillfully. The writing is appropriate for a scholarly and academic audience, but accessible enough to appeal to a mainstream, general audience. This is not an easy trick, but Laycock pulls it off well enough that this title will be equally at home on the Barnes and Noble bookshelf or in the stacks of your university's library. "Vampires Today" is informed by solid research, and is presented to the reader in a way that will shed light on the vampire fiction phenomenon and the Vampire Community alike.

Joseph Laycock did what no academic researcher before had really bothered to do - he studied the Vampire Community as if it were any other subcultural group. He researched the Community first-hand, he met with many representatives from the diverse sub-cultures within the Community, and he applied existing social and philosophical theory to what he found. Many previous works have taken the Vampire Community as an anomaly, and then attempted to explain why self-identified vampires were pathological, delusional, or dangerous -- outliers in an otherwise orderly world. Laycock has taken the Vampire Community as a working part of the greater society that its members participate in, and used it to explain how the Vampire Community is a product of, even a function of, mainstream society's ideas about self and identity.

Several chapters are devoted to sorting out the problems that researchers traditionally have in understanding the Vampire Community. Laycock neatly dismantles almost thirty years of spurious psychological, psychiatric, religious, and medical "explanations" of vampirism. In their place, he offers a thorough exploration of the internal diversity of the Vampire Community, key distinctions by which to understand the Community, based on the Vampire Community's own terms and analyses. He uses the accounts given by real vampires to provide an explanation of vampirism, not as a cult, a delusion or a psychopathology, not as a "new religious movement" or monolithic rejection of mainstream spiritual values, but as an "identity group," one option among many, which individuals in modern Western society use to construct their selves.

"Vampires Today" covers every aspect of why the Vampire Community is difficult for researchers to understand, it dismantles faulty thinking about the Vampire Community and about the phenomenon of modern vampirism, and it uses attentive research to provide the reader a framework by which to understand not only the vampire identity, but also the way identity and self-narrative function in our society in general. "Vampires Today" can inform the reader about vampirism, but it also spells out what vampires can offer the mainstream: the technology of self-exploration, and the processes of constructing identity out of self-discovery, meaning out of metaphor, and community out of shared experience.


Title: Re: Vampires Today: The Truth About Modern Vampirism - Joseph Laycock (Academic)
Post by: Merticus on July 07, 2009, 05:32:17 pm
http://welcometothemiddleroom.blogspot.com/2009/06/book-review-vampires-today-truth-about.html

Sunday, June 28, 2009
Book Review: Vampires Today: The Truth About Modern Vampirism
By Erin Snyder


Recently, I ordered Vampires Today: The Truth About Modern Vampirism from Amazon, and have just now finished the last page. There are many elements which make Joseph Laycock's look at the vampiric subculture both fascinating and impressive. It can be said - accurately, I would add - that the work is educational without being dull, entertaining without being exploitative, funny without being insulting, and honest without being biased.

It is the work's impartiality that I find most impressive. Years ago, I studied religion back in Hampshire College (along with Joseph Laycock, by the way, which gets us past the requisite "interest of full disclosure" acknowledgement). While it was easy to find resources about large, organized religions, the only information about smaller movements tended to be produced by practitioners themselves. Trying to locate unbiased information about the Neo-Pagan movement, for instance, was an exercise in frustration: anything I found online was suspect by it's very nature.

"Vampires Today" was written for scholars of religion and cultural trends who are writing and approaching those who identify as vampires. Laycock provides a careful appraisal of the community, revealing, among other things, that these are not frightening people. Despite some very entertaining warnings, Laycock describes his interactions as being relatively mundane; certainly no more unusual than one would expect from other groups outside the mainstream.

The central point of the book is that the Vampire Movement cannot be understood as a religion, at all, but rather a culturally significant identity. Laycock's arguments are direct and rational, and his conclusions are highly convincing.

Laycock's exploration delves into the subcultures, organizations, and religions of the "real vampire," as well as their portrayal in the media. Laycock refuses to speculate on the validity of the vampires' claims: like any good scholar, he is observing, not judging.

While the book seems to have been written for academics, it has far greater appeal. Judging by the movement's positive reaction, it seems likely that many in the vampire community will purchase "Vampires Today." In addition, I would strongly recommend this book to anyone with an interest in the supernatural and history of the occult movement.

But, more than anyone else, this book needs to find its way into the hands of the myriad confused and depressed teenagers all over the world. New religious and cultural movements suffer from a lack of impartial literature, and, as a result, it's difficult to gain any perspective or realistic appraisal. Right now, there are unknown numbers of Twilight fans who are toying with the idea of adopting the label "vampire." This book provides a window into that world, along with a summary of vampire literature, film, and role playing games, which could provide an invaluable resource to those trying to define themselves. And, whatever choice they make, they'd be better prepared for what they would find.

Likewise, if you are a football player looking to elevate and better direct your insults against the goths you're giving wedgies; there is no better resource available. Truly, this is a work with wide appeal.

Whoever you are, if you are interested in the vampire subculture in any capacity, Laycock's book is a far better place to start than Google.

Joseph Laycock is an "independent scholar" and a graduate of Harvard University. He is not a vampire himself, however I can confirm that, during a long running Dungeons & Dragons game I ran, he once played a wizard who became a vampire.


Title: Re: Vampires Today: The Truth About Modern Vampirism - Joseph Laycock (Academic)
Post by: Merticus on July 10, 2009, 05:01:42 pm
http://bostonist.com/2009/07/10/joseph_laycock_vampires_today.php

"We All Become Non-Vampires": Identity, Modernity, and Gamer Chicks In Corsets
By C. Fernsebner in Miscellaneous on July 10, 2009 11:00 AM


Joseph Laycock is a graduate of Harvard Divinity School who is currently working toward his doctorate at BU. He recently published a book called Vampires Today: The Truth About Modern Vampirism. (Pro tip: they do not sparkle.)

Bostonist: What should we know about vampires?

Joe Laycock: There is previous scholarship about vampires, but it's mostly been done by "occult crime" specialists, and it's been done to present vampires as totally other. You can do that, and you can even make money hiring yourself out to law enforcement—they're actually paid tax dollars to set up little fake altars and teach about what your son is doing if he plays White Wolf games, and these are the signs that your kids will kill you in your sleep.

But what I'm trying to do with this book is say that, if we set all that aside for a second, there's a lot going on here with modernity. Vampires can tell us a lot about the state of modernity. Modernity's been a gradual shift from an identity that is ascribed to one that is achieved.

If you were to go to a medieval village and look at the peasants, they're all the same religion; they're all going to live in the same town their whole life; they don't have to worry: are my talents going to waste, being a peasant? Nowadays, you have to discover a career; if you stay in the same town where you grew up, that's considered a failure; if you stay in the church that your family's from, that's considered an inauthentic form of spirituality. There used to not be concepts or categories to describe different sexual orientations.

So I see vampires as the next logical step... This is the first time in human history you've been able to say, maybe I'm not ontologically the same as everybody else.

Bostonist: Do you expect that vampires will read your book?

Laycock: Yes. Vampires are reading my book. Vampires are doing more than anybody else to promote the book. They're happy that somebody is actually doing this in a way that's not sensationalistic. I've gotten complaints that Amazon can't get the book out fast enough.

Bostonist: How do colleagues and faculty at BU feel about your research subjects being a major market for your work? Not every Catholic grandma runs out to buy Robert Orsi's books.

Laycock: I don't think the verdict is in on that yet. A lot of the faculty at BU have been really, really supportive of this... I told them, MTV contacted me, should I do this? And some of them were like, hell yeah you should go on MTV! Huston Smith didn't know anything about religion, [but] he was on TV.

My advisor said, basically, you need to watch it with this shit, there is a risk in having done a bunch of popular stuff, that could hurt in the job market. But there is no job market for religion professors. So I kind of don't care.

I've adopted almost a Marxist view about academia: once we realize that there are no tenure track jobs—that we're doing this for nothing—then we're finally free. We can start actually figuring out what our next move is.

None of us are going to get tenure, so we might as well do what we want.

Bostonist: What was the concept of the MTV show?

Laycock: They said they wanted to do a show where they have an expert who goes around the country and interviews different vampires. So they needed an expert that was (a) young, and (b) not a vampire.

[The woman in charge of the show, having been referred to Mr. Laycock through multiple vampire sources] contacts me, and she's like, how old are you? And are you a vampire?

This is a totally serious question, and I don't get the job if I say, yes, I'm a vampire. That's another point I'm making: once the category is out there, we all become non-vampires. We used to not have to think of ourselves as non-vampires. But now, if I hadn't been a non-vampire, I couldn't have gotten that job.

There used to be no concept of homosexuality. If you're a man, you're supposed to have sex with women; if you have sex with a man, then you've sinned. And if you have sex with lots and lots of men, then you're a sinner. But you're not "gay." You're not different from other people, you're just bad.

Now we have this category of "gay," and all of us start thinking of ourselves as "straight," whereas before there was no concept of "straight."

Bostonist: And now we have a concept of "vampire" instead of just "people who happen to drink a lot of blood"?

Laycock: Well, if you drink blood that doesn't necessarily mean you're a vampire. There are blood fetishists. This is something I talk about in the book: there people who used to describe themselves as vampires and now describe themselves as blood fetishists.

And I've seen symbiotic relations form between blood fetishists and vampires.

Some of my contacts have said, it's not sexual for me, I don't find anything sexual about this, I have to do this to maintain my health but if I happen to meet a guy who just really gets off on me cutting him and drinking his blood—it's a symbiotic relationship. For him it's sexual, and for the vampire it's a health issue.

Bostonist: When we were at Hampshire College, you were King of the Gamers. Does it help at all, when doing your research, to have been part of a misunderstood niche yourself?

Laycock: Absolutely. In high school, I was in the Camarilla. I would go on weekends and play Vampire: The Masquerade with college kids, and that really helped because a lot of this actually comes directly from White Wolf live action games, especially the New York vampire scene.

I talk about it in the book: the New York vampire scene is extremely baroque. They have courts of vampires and titles and stuff like that. And it all comes directly from White Wolf. Father Sebastian, who was a fangsmith and helped organize the New York scene and now lives in Paris—I was talking to him long-distance, [he was in] Paris and he said he was running these games and he was like, yeah, all these really hot chicks would come.

And I think this [that really hot chicks would come] was something that even the Hampshire gamers would notice. They would go to LARPs at Umass, and be like, there's a lot of female gamers at these LARPs. They don't play the tabletop games, but the excuse to run around in a leather corset will bring them out.

[Father Sebastian] was like, basically I wanted to maintain a way to keep that atmosphere going, but to get rid of all the nerds, get rid of all the power gamers. And he eventually succeeded in doing that, and created this culture in New York. Vampire culture is not like that anywhere else in the world.

In Atlanta, it's the Bible Belt, so it's very much on the down low. In Los Angeles, no one cares if you're a vampire; people are very worried about power-tripping and stuff like that. But in New York you really have hierarchy and courts and who-is-your-sire. There's a documentary you can see with one of these courts, and there's a herald at the door, and as you walk in, he announces your name and who your sire is, your title and so forth.

Bostonist: Geographically, where are most of the vampires? Where is the community concentrated?

Laycock: I started this project because of a global survey by that group in Atlanta. They found vampires in every state except the Dakotas and Alaska. And there probably are vampires in the Dakotas; they probably don't have internet access.

A.B.D. McHarvardpants: That's werewolf territory.

Laycock: That's werewolf territory. We'll talk about the werewolves later.

There were big concentrations [of vampires] in New York, in California, in Ohio—that's partially because Michelle Belanger is out there in Ohio, and has drawn people to her—and in Georgia, and also Florida, Florida had a lot too. New Orleans used to, I think, have a pretty big vampire culture, and then Katrina kind of destroyed that.

First Atlanta got a reputation for being a cool city to be gay in. They had a gay mayor when I was living there. You'll see rainbow flags and stuff like that, and when you leave Atlanta you'll see Confederate flags, and you'll stop and take the rainbow sticker off your car... Gays started moving [to Atlanta], gay professionals. The same thing happened with vampires. Word got out that Atlanta was a cool city to be a vampire in. Various vampires began moving there.

And there was some theory floating around, about ley lines. Katrina had shifted the ley lines from New Orleans over to Atlanta, so that all of the mystical energy of New Orleans was now in Atlanta.

[The survey] found a lot of vampires in Canada. They found a lot in Australia, a lot in the UK, a fair number in France, some in Germany. And then there were some random ones: Malaysia, Jordan.

Bostonist: So what's the vampire scene like in Boston?

Laycock: Pretty dead, from what I've heard.

Bostonist: You mean that not as a pun.

Laycock: Yes. My contacts in Atlanta only knew of one vampire in Boston, and he was here because he was sick of the politics of New York. So he said, I want to move to another east coast city, where there's no vampires.

Bostonist: So he's like everyone else who moved here from New York?

Laycock: Yeah, basically.

Bostonist: As you're probably aware, there was a vampire scare at Boston Latin.

Laycock: I don't know a whole lot about that. What it sounded like was that there was, basically, a goth girl at the school, and that this all emerged out of conflicting stories: that there was a student drinking blood, or that there were Buffy the Vampire Slayer vampires living underneath the school. What surprised me was that the police came out.

If I were a kid, I would not believe that there were vampires unless the police came out and told me there were no vampires.

I saw that the Boston Police had a Twitter account—did you see it, with the zombies?

Bostonist: Yes! The BPD will tell you if the zombies attack.

Laycock: So apparently the Boston Police will respond to all supernatural threats. It's not like a horror movie, where the police always deny there being anything supernatural.

Bostonist: I have to ask: how has Twilight been received by the Vampire-American community?

Laycock: I don't think they really care.

When somebody told me that the vampires in Twilight sparkle in the sunlight, I didn't believe them. I thought, that is the stupidest thing I ever heard.

Bostonist: Did you read it, or watch it?

Laycock: I finally watched it last night. I thought it was the most boring vampire movie I've ever seen. The only thing that was good was—I watched it with Swedish subtitles. The word for "stop" in Swedish is "sluta." So every time the vampires start to get hot and heavy, they're like, "Sluta! Sluta!"

One consequence [of the Twilight franchise] has been—I think this happens with all subcultures, like punk rock and things like that, there's a real split between the older vampires, the ones that are in their twenties and early thirties and older, versus Twilight kids.

[Older vampires] have produced all these articles that are on the internet—"If you think you're a vampire, read this article,"—[Twilight kids] don't do that, they just start emailing them asking the same questions over and over again. There's transcripts of leaders in the vampire community saying, What are we going to do about these Twilight kids? And one of them started making YouTube clips, because maybe they'll watch a YouTube clip instead of reading an article.

Michelle Belanger was on Coast to Coast AM recently and she said, I do not sparkle in the sunlight. She felt that was necessary to say.

Bostonist: So there are vampires, and there are non-vampires, and there are non-Twilight vampires.

Laycock: Exactly.


Title: Re: Vampires Today: The Truth About Modern Vampirism - Joseph Laycock (Academic)
Post by: Merticus on August 01, 2009, 11:40:02 am
http://wiccanweb.ca/article-24096.html

Vampires Today: The Truth About Modern Vampirism
Posted by: Makarios on Monday, July 27, 2009 - 08:05 AM


"Vampires Today" was written for scholars of religion and cultural trends who are writing and approaching those who identify as vampires. Laycock provides a careful appraisal of the community, revealing, among other things, that these are not frightening people. Despite some very entertaining warnings, Laycock describes his interactions as being relatively mundane; certainly no more unusual than one would expect from other groups outside the mainstream.

The central point of the book is that the Vampire Movement cannot be understood as a religion, at all, but rather a culturally significant identity. Laycock's arguments are direct and rational, and his conclusions are highly convincing.

Laycock's exploration delves into the subcultures, organizations, and religions of the "real vampire," as well as their portrayal in the media. Laycock refuses to speculate on the validity of the vampires' claims: like any good scholar, he is observing, not judging.

While the book seems to have been written for academics, it has far greater appeal. Judging by the movement's positive reaction, it seems likely that many in the vampire community will purchase "Vampires Today." In addition, I would strongly recommend this book to anyone with an interest in the supernatural and history of the occult movement.


*****


http://www.outofthecoffin.com/ep43

Episode #43 - My Best Friend Is a Vampire (1988)
Submitted by ElderDaniel on July 11, 2009 - 9:51 PM


// NEWS
* An excellent interview with Joseph Laycock, author of VAMPIRES TODAY: The Truth About Modern Vampirism.


*****


Vampire Zilchy:

Link to Dr. Laycock's book "Vampires Today" (http://www.amazon.com/Vampires-Today-Truth-Modern-Vampirism/dp/0313364729/ref=sr_1_20?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1247647687&sr=8-20)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=d2VMiL5NoB8


Title: Re: Vampires Today: The Truth About Modern Vampirism - Joseph Laycock (Academic)
Post by: Merticus on August 18, 2009, 02:39:53 pm
Compliments of SoulSplat for distribution at DragonCon or elsewhere:

(http://www.atlantavampirealliance.com/images/VampiresTodayPromotionalFlyer.jpg)


Title: Re: Vampires Today: The Truth About Modern Vampirism - Joseph Laycock (Academic)
Post by: Merticus on August 22, 2009, 05:32:41 pm
Now featured on Vampires.com - August 22, 2009:

http://www.vampires.com/vampires-today-the-truth-about-modern-vampirism/

Quote
Vampires Today: The Truth About Modern Vampirism by Joseph Laycock is a new book that has been getting fantastic reviews for it’s unbiased look into real modern vampires. The book poses the questions… What does it mean to be a vampire? Is it a medical condition? Is it a fantasy? Is vampirism a religion?

Joseph Laycock interviews members of the Atlanta Vampire Alliance and others within vampire communities throughout the United States. The books introduces you to “life style” vampires, who are those that have adopted the look and feel from vampires of art and legend.  Then it goes into “real vampires”  who feel that they need to consume blood and/or psychic energy in order to survive. In this book the Order of the Vampyre, the Ordo Strigoi Vii, and the Temple of the Vampire are also looked into and explained.

To go ahead and quote the book jacket itself…

    “Throughout the world, untold numbers of people are identifying as “vampires” and following the ways of “vampirism.” In the past two decades, modern vampirism has come under increased study, yet most scholarship has portrayed the vampire as a cultural phenomenon and at worst as a religious cult.

    Having interviewed many vampires across the country, both “lifestylers” and “real,” even those “reluctants” who try not to be vampires, Laycock argues that today’s vampires are best understood as an identity group and that vampirism has caused a profound change in how individuals choose to define themselves. As vampires come “out of the coffin,” either as followers of a “religion” or “lifestyle” or as people biologically distinct from other humans, their confrontation with mainstream society will raise questions about the definition of “normal” and what it means to be human. Here, readers will find the details of real vampire life—including vampire role-playing games, grimoires, “vampyre” balls, vampire houses like House Sahjaza and House Kheperu, the vampire “caste” system, and other details—utterly fascinating.”


Every review I have read on this book gives it major props. Reviewers are lined up to compliment Laycock on his intellectual yet unbiased explanation of this fascinating world of real vampires.

Library Update:

July = 58 Libraries
August 22, 2009 = 77 Libraries
September 1, 2009 = 88 Libraries
September 8, 2009 = 94 Libraries
September 25, 2009 = 104 Libraries
October 14, 2009 = 111 Libraries
SEE UPDATE AT END OF THREAD

* Please request your local library to purchase this title if you haven't already done so.  Thanks!

Current Holdings:

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Title:     Vampires today :
the truth about modern vampirism /
Author(s):    Laycock, Joseph, 1980-
Publication:    Westport, Conn. : Praeger,
Year:    2009
Description:    xi, 200 p. : ill. ; 25 cm.
Language:    English
Contents:    What is a vampire? : or the varieties of vampiric experience -- Why vampires? -- The vampire milieu -- Initiatory vampire groups : vampirism as apotheosis -- The vampire community -- Vampirism and religion, a dialogue -- Out of the shadows -- Vampires and the modern.
Standard No:    ISBN: 9780313364723 (alk. paper); 0313364729 (alk. paper) LCCN: 2008-51652
   SUBJECT(S)
Descriptor:    Vampires -- United States.
Note(s):    Includes bibliographical references (p. [187]-192) and index.
Class Descriptors:    LC: BF1556; Dewey: 398/.45; 133
Responsibility:    Joseph Laycock.
Vendor Info:    Baker and Taylor YBP Library Services Blackwell Book Service Coutts Information Services (BTCP YANK BBUS COUT) $39.95
Document Type:    Book
Entry:    20081205
Update:    20090719
Accession No:    OCLC: 277118414
Database:    WorldCat


Title: Re: Vampires Today: The Truth About Modern Vampirism - Joseph Laycock (Academic)
Post by: Merticus on October 14, 2009, 09:34:57 am
Additional Amazon Reviews:

Simply the Best, October 14, 2009
By Michelle Belanger "author, lecturer, and avid reader (NE Ohio)

I do not have enough words to laud this book. Joseph Laycock has produced a fascinating, insightful, and exhaustive study of the modern vampire community from a perspective that has been sorely lacking: that of the detached academic. If you have ever wondered why some people find vampires fascinating, or even if you haven't, this is a book you should seek out and read. Laycock not only sheds light on the modern appeal of the vampire; his insights into the evolution of the modern vampire community have far-reaching ramifications for all identity groups. His thoughts on the technology of self are revolutionary and may feasibly change the way people look not only at self-identified vampires but at identity groups in general. In addition to all of that, Laycock manages to make what is essentially a scholarly treatise vastly entertaining to read. Highly, highly recommended!


Title: Re: Vampires Today: The Truth About Modern Vampirism - Joseph Laycock (Academic)
Post by: Gray on October 19, 2009, 01:11:10 pm
I am currently in the grips of this book as well as the Psychic Vampire Codex by Michelle Belanger. I feel very lucky to be surrounded by such appropriate literature!


Title: Re: Vampires Today: The Truth About Modern Vampirism - Joseph Laycock (Academic)
Post by: pier on November 14, 2009, 03:16:33 am
Merticus, you sell your self too short?  Think on that...


Title: Re: Vampires Today: The Truth About Modern Vampirism - Joseph Laycock (Academic)
Post by: Merticus on November 14, 2009, 10:10:24 am
What's that supposed to mean and how is it related to this thread?


Title: Re: Vampires Today: The Truth About Modern Vampirism - Joseph Laycock (Academic)
Post by: Thought on November 14, 2009, 01:54:57 pm
Of all the places who have this title, Kentucky won't touch it.  Considering what you know about what I've been trying to do...are you surprised Merticus?  I'm not...it's just so sad and kinda sickening.  Maybe Time will make a difference...


Title: Re: Vampires Today: The Truth About Modern Vampirism - Joseph Laycock (Academic)
Post by: Merticus on November 14, 2009, 02:06:50 pm
@Thought - Yes, no KY on the list (see update below) and that's not surprising - perhaps one of the universities will pick up a copy.  The good news is that it continues to be carried in more and more libraries throughout the world.

Library Update:

July 1, 2009 = 58 Libraries
August 22, 2009 = 77 Libraries
September 1, 2009 = 88 Libraries
September 8, 2009 = 94 Libraries
September 25, 2009 = 104 Libraries
October 14, 2009 = 111 Libraries
November 14, 2009 = 139 Libraries
December 1, 2009 = 155 Libraries
January 29, 2010 = 211 Libraries
February 11, 2010 = 227 Libraries

* Please request your local library to purchase this title if you haven't already done so.  Thanks!

Current Holdings:

See Update At End Of Thread


Title: Re: Vampires Today: The Truth About Modern Vampirism - Joseph Laycock (Academic)
Post by: Merticus on February 11, 2010, 09:25:55 am
http://mizzdizz.wordpress.com/2010/01/26/joseph-laycocks-vampires-today-a-review/

Joseph Laycock’s “Vampires Today” - A Review By Diss
January 26, 2010


So a few days before the winter solstice i finally got my copy of “Vampires Today” by Joseph Laycock [1], and read it during the winter break. You might remember that i’ve already written about the book several times before, from the original book announcement via interview links to speculations about identity and ontology. After all that i feel that i owe a proper review of the book, not to mention that writing one will hopefully help me get a clearer understanding of the book as well.

(If all this is too long, here’s the short version: if you’re interested in the vampire community and only have time for one book, this is the one to read.)

First impressions, as others have pointed out the cover is marvellously garish, making me rather reluctant to leave it lying around. I’d be less bothered if it had a more restrained, academic-looking cover. There are a small number of illustrations which i could take or leave, and unfortunately a number of typos which shouldn’t have passed editing. Extensive notes and a very complete bibliography are included as is to be expected from a scholarly work, and the addition of an index does not come amiss. The writing is pleasant and lucid and mostly devoid of jargon, and as such should be accessible to most readers (though i might have missed some jargon in as much as i use it myself).

So what’s in the book? In the first chapter Laycock gives us an overview of the various types of vampires. He does a review of previous attempts at categorisation, which he rejects as being unhelpful in understanding modern vampires. What he proposes instead are three axes along which to sort self-identified vampires. The first is between lifestylers and real vampires, while the second axis goes between feeding types (psi and sang). The third distinguishes between awakened and initiated models of vampirism. Most of my involvement with the vampire community has been with groups and individuals who follow the awakened model, where there is a strong tendency to reject initiatory models out of hand, so Laycock’s inclusion of these made me hesitate for a bit. However in a later chapter he returns to the initiatory model at length, which led me to understand that segment of the vampire community much better.

In the second chapter Laycock asks why and how people come to identify as vampires. He examines better and less known popular theories such as the porphyria myth, “renfield syndrome”, “clinical vampirism”, but also the idea of pathological narcissism or that it’s an escapist fantasy taken too far (or roleplaying taken too far). He quickly shows that the clinical and psychiatric models don’t actually match the experience described by vampires, and also rejects the escapist fantasy theory. Instead he proposes to distinguish between the vampire milieu which is formed of the collective cultural concept of vampires on one hand, and on the other hand the vampire community which is formed of those people identifying as vampires. The vampire milieu then functions as a toolkit (one of many) with which people in our hyper-individualistic society create a more or less coherent and meaningful identity and narrative of the self. With this theoretical framework in place he can avoid the ontological question [2]. Instead he can look at how the vampire milieu evolved to the point where it could become an identity toolkit, and how in the last decade or so the vampire community has become strong enough to feed into and become an actor in the development of the vampire milieu.

With this in mind it becomes evident that the next chapter needs to examine the vampire milieu. In other words this is where Laycock describes the toolkit out of which vampire identities are constructed. This is the second longest chapter and to me one of the most interesting, but i must say that i know relatively little about vampires in literature and film and so on (at least for a member of the vampire community [3]). Somebody who’s more deeply fascinated by how vampires have been represented over time will probably not learn that much, but it should still be a good and thorough recapitulation. A long section is dedicated to vampires in literature, film and tv, from the very earliest offerings in the 19th century right up to the near-present. He pays particular attention to the moments when the image of the vampire changes, becoming aristocratic with Bram Stoker’s (and then Bela Lugosi’s) “Dracula”, and in particular the first tragic vampires in the sixties. Richard Matheson’s “I am Legend” is significant as the first work interpreting vampirism as the effect of a virus [4]. Further sections are dedicated to vampires in occult writing and in metaphysics/holistic health, and again Laycock traces the development over a century and more. For those of us who follow an awakened model of vampirism the inclusion of these occult subjects might be a bit off-putting, but they have also shaped the vampire milieu significantly, and have helped me understand certain parts of the vampire culture better. The last section in this chapter considers the part of role-playing in shaping the vampire milieu, while being itself influenced by the vampire community. Here as well as in other places he makes the important point that the vampire community is now an important factor in shaping the vampire milieu.

The fourth and fifth chapter are dedicated to the two main directions in the modern vampire community: the later titled “The Vampire Community” considers awakened vampires, who form a large part of the publicly visible community today; the former examines the initiatory vampire groups. This last one is particularly interesting. I have a tendency, which i seem to share with a large segment of the awakened vampire community, to dismiss the religious crowd as delusional and to ridicule them. If you want an example of that you might consult the transcripts of the VVC global community chat on vampirism and religion [5]. Considering that awakened and initiatory groups give significantly different meanings to being a vampire it is not really surprising that they are a bit antagonistic; this chapter at least gives an understanding of the internally quite coherent place where initiatory groups come from. I would recommend this chapter in particular for anybody coming from an awakened model who has business with initiatory groups.

Though the fifth chapter isn’t dedicated exclusively to awakened groups, they do make up the majority of the visible community, both because they are more numerous and because initiatory groups are often quite secretive (even more so than other vampires). Laycock calls this a “speculative history”, as much is only vaguely documented and/or relies on oral histories. Very interesting is the concept of womb communities: communities which aren’t directly related to vampirism, but in which early self-identified vampires were more or less at home and could learn to express themselves and form their identities. These created protected environments in which the first vampire communities could form. The current community is described fairly well, though i didn’t find much new for somebody already involved in the community. For an outsider this would certainly also be very informative.

Laycock is a scholar of religion, and thus the sixth chapter is a discussion of vampires and religion. He points out that when talking to his peers most of what he does is show how vampirism is not a religion, which is what he does here too. I do find the sociology of religion to be fairly interesting, but for me the concept of “real vampires” has never been crossed with religion anyway. So for me reading this chapter was more of a “people really say that?” experience, and sometimes it felt like Laycock was building up the arguments just to have something to demolish. I’m not saying that he did that on purpose, but it was the least interesting chapter for me.

Unfortunately the next chapter was only slightly more interesting. It is unfortunate that vampires mostly appear in the media when they are the subject of scandal, but i’m frankly just not that interested in rehashing old scandals and celebrity news. He does make the point, with which i wholeheartedly agree, that the vampire community is at a point where it is being made public whether we want to or not. As a community we have written too much and our forums are too public and open for it to be possible to crawl back into the coffin. The vampire community is out – it is now up to us to decide how to present ourselves.

Concluding, Laycock speculates about what the emergence of vampire as an identity signifies for the rest of society. As i’ve also previously done in this blog he makes a comparison with the trans community, which just like the vampire community claims a socially disputed ontological identity. He makes another comparison to the autistic community, which like the vampire community has done a lot to define itself from the inside, instead of having a definition imposed on it from the outside. An interesting point Laycock makes is that as vampires (and therianthropes and otherkin [6]) emerge into the public view, this gives others the identity of “non-vampire” (or “non-kin” or “non-therian”). Unfortunately i think that this is a rather idealistic view; the privileged identity-group tends to ignore the non-privileged groups, and assume that by default everybody is like them (white, male, heterosexual, cisgendered, healthy, wealthy… you get the idea). In contrast, members of non-privileged groups are almost constantly made aware that they are different, and cannot forget it. A ciswoman [7] does not have to worry about her identity as a woman (though she can’t forget that she is a woman, while a man can readily equate “man” with “human”), but she will hardly ever think about being a ciswoman. It is easy for her to assume that her experience as woman applies to all women. On the other hand a transwoman can hardly ever forget that she is trans, and not cis. Similarly most people who become aware of vampires as an identity group will rarely consider how that puts their identity of human into question. We, the vampires and therians and otherkin, we can’t forget that we are different from the mundanes.

It is tricky to write about an identity as an outsider, there is a big danger of telling people what and who you think they are. This doesn’t only risk affronting your subjects, but in a foundational work (and i think this could be such a work concerning vampirism) you also risk prejudicing future researchers. In this regard i think Laycock did good work, he seems to have approached the subject with a very unprejudiced mind. Perhaps it was lucky that he had his first contact with vampires at the AVA (Atlanta Vampire Alliance), one of the most down to earth vampire groups currently active. If his first encounters with real vampires had played out in the courts of Gotham [8] or with one of the religious groups we might well have been left with a very different book.

By concentrating on the vampire as an identity group Laycock also deftly avoids the ontological question: are modern real vampires actually “real”, do they really have this need for psi-energy or blood which other humans don’t have? Are the symptoms described by vamps who haven’t fed enough based on an actual need, or are they perhaps “only” [9] psychosomatic? Unfortunately we can’t answer these questions. Assuming psi phenomena were real, we still have no tools to examine them with, nor even have a theoretical framework in which to place them. The experience of sanguinarians would be accessible to modern medicine, but the hope of anybody investing the kind of resources needed for that kind of research seems fanciful at best. With this in mind Laycock’s approach is excellent, but i remain convinced that the ontological question will raise it’s head again sooner or later [10].

As expected he hardly writes about donors, and when he does it is about what vampires do with donors. Vampires feed from donors, they have relationships with donors, and so on; the donor in there is entirely passive and denied any agency. Of course this is a donor blog, and i’m a donor, so i’m certainly a bit biased, but i remain convinced that by overlooking donors and our identities so thoroughly he and others are missing an important aspect of the community. The vampire identity would hardly be what it is today if there were no donors. Even with the central question of the book being how vampires have evolved from eastern european monsters to a valid identity group and how the vampire milieu functions today as an identity toolkit, disregarding donors so completely is problematic. While reading it occurred to me that this critique might be extended to the larger community. The diverse vampire communities are made up not just of vampires, nor just vampires and donors. Most of the vampire groups i’ve seen contain large numbers of non-vampires, and in writing about vampire communities it might well be illuminating to consider who besides vampires forms the communities.

But even with this lack i can only repeat that i consider this to be an excellent book, and wholeheartedly recommend it to any interested readers. It should be required reading for any outsiders involved with the vampire community or doing work on the community. Many vampires would also profit from reading it, at least for an understanding of the different currents and interpretations of “vampire” and for the roots of those differences in the community.

[1] Laycock, Joseph; Vampires Today: the Truth about Modern Vampirism, 2009, Praeger
[2] More on the ontological question later.
[3] I’ve been accused of having read too much vampire fiction. If that accusation had come from outside the vampire community, i might have agreed. But compared to most of the vampire community i find myself relatively uninterested in vampire fiction.
[4] You might have seen the recent movie adaptation, but i’d heartily recommend the book. I think a point could be made that Matheson’s vampires have more in common with modern zombies than vampires. It’s also interesting that the protagonist in “I am Legend” – the only human in the story – is much more monstrous than the vampires. But i’m getting sidetracked.
[5] I just noticed that the transcripts aren’t yet posted. They will be available on the site of the VVC.
[6] Laycock has said in interviews that he is doing work on therians and otherkin, and that he’d planned a chapter on us for this book which was removed for editorial reasons.
[7] “Cis” is a prefix gaining use in the trans community for men and women who were assigned the gender which they still identify with. Their gender identity is just as constructed as that of trans people, and the prefix cis allows us to talk of them without having to refer to them as “normal” (i’m speaking as a transwoman here).
[8] Otherwise known as New York.
[9] It is petty to say that something is “only” psychosomatic. The suffering experienced is just as real whether the need is “real” or in the sufferer’s head. I’ve witnessed both the suffering of thirsting vampires and the relief brought by feeding often enough to affirm that both are real.
[10] The ontological question will eventually rear its head and require some kind of answer anyway, but there’s nothing we can do about it for now.


Title: Re: Vampires Today: The Truth About Modern Vampirism - Joseph Laycock (Academic)
Post by: Merticus on March 09, 2010, 02:23:23 pm
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   US,IN                MARION PUB LIBR                                                         XMP     
   US,IN                MICHIGAN CITY PUB LIBR                                                  IMY     
   US,IN                MISHAWAKA PENN HARRIS PUB LIBR                                          IMP     
   US,IN                NEW CASTLE-HENRY CNTY PUB LIBR                                          XNP     
   US,IN                PLAINFIELD-GUILFORD TOWNSHIP PUB LIBR                                   RGP     
   US,IN                UNIV OF NOTRE DAME                                                      IND     
   US,IN                UNIV OF SOUTHERN INDIANA                                                ISE     
   US,KS                LAWRENCE PUB LIBR                                                       KSA     
   US,KS                NORTH CENT KANSAS LIBR                                                  KKM     
   US,KS                OLATHE PUB LIBR                                                         KOP     
   US,KS                WHITE CITY PUB LIBR                                                     AD9     
   US,MA                BENTLEY UNIV                                                            BET     
   US,MA                BOSTON PUB LIBR                                                         BRL     
   US,MA                BOSTON UNIV                                                             BOS     
   US,MA                BRIDGEWATER STATE COL                                                   BDR     
   US,MA                BRISTOL COMMUN COL                                                      BRC     
   US,MA                C/W MARS                                                                CWJ     
   US,MA                HARVARD UNIV, HARVARD COL LIBR                                          HLS     
   US,MA                MASSACHUSETTS INST OF TECH                                              MYG     
   US,MA                MERRIMACK VAL LIBR CONSOR                                               MRQ     
   US,MA                MINUTEMAN LIBR NETWORK                                                  MLN     
   US,MA                NOBLE, INC                                                              NOG     
   US,MA                OLD COLONY LIBR NETWORK                                                 OCD     
   US,MA                SPRINGFIELD COL, BABSON LIBR                                            NKT     
   US,MA                WELLESLEY COL, MARGARET CLAPP LIBR                                      WEL     
   US,MI                BAKER COL LIBR                                                          EUF     
   US,MI                EASTERN MICHIGAN UNIV                                                   EYE     
   US,MI                KELLOGG COMMUN COL                                                      EEK     
   US,MI                LAKELAND LIBR COOP                                                      LKR     
   US,MI                LIBRARY NETWORK, THE                                                    EOW     
   US,MI                MOTT COMMUN COL LIBR                                                    EUL     
   US,MI                PUBLIC LIBR OF SAGINAW                                                  ZS3     
   US,MI                UNIV OF MICHIGAN LIBR                                                   EYM     
   US,MI                WESTERN MICHIGAN UNIV                                                   EXW     
   US,MN                CROWN COL LIBR                                                          SPB     
   US,MN                INVER HILLS COMMUN COL                                                  MIH     
   US,MN                MINNESOTA STATE UNIV, MANKATO                                           MNM     
   US,MO                CHRISTIAN CNTY LIBR                                                     MO3     
   US,MO                KANSAS CITY PUB LIBR                                                    KCP     
   US,MO                MUNICIPAL LIBR CONSORTIUM ST LOUIS CNTY                                 ZAG     
   US,MO                ROLLING HILLS CONSOLIDATED LIBR                                         MZ3     
   US,MO                SAINT CHARLES CNTY COMMUN COL LIBR                                      MZ5     
   US,MO                SAINT LOUIS COMMUN COL                                                  ZAD     
   US,MO                SAINT LOUIS PUB LIBR                                                    SVP     
   US,MO                UNIV OF MISSOURI, KANSAS CITY                                           UMK     
   US,MO                WASHINGTON UNIV                                                         WTU     
   US,MS                UNIV OF MISSISSIPPI                                                     MUM     
   US,NC                BAKER & TAYLOR INC TECH SERV & PROD DEV                                 BTCTA   
   US,NC                CARTERET COMMUN COL                                                     NQJ     
   US,NC                CUMBERLAND CNTY PUB LIBR & INFO CTR                                     HQB     
   US,NC                DUKE UNIV LIBR                                                          NDD     
   US,NC                MEREDITH COL                                                            NMC     
   US,NC                UNIV OF N CAROLINA, CHAPEL HILL                                         NOC     
   US,NC                UNIV OF N CAROLINA, GREENSBORO                                          NGU     
   US,NC                WAKE FOREST UNIV                                                        EWF     
   US,NE                CREIGHTON UNIV                                                          OCA     
   US,NE                DOANE COL                                                               NBD     
   US,NE                FALLS CITY LIBR AND ARTS CTR                                            NLZ     
   US,NE                GRAND ISLAND PUB LIBR                                                   GIP     
   US,NE                SUMP MEM LIBR                                                           PPP     
   US,NH                NHSL CATALOG                                                            HSA     
   US,NH                YBP LIBRARY SERVICES                                                    YDX     
   US,NJ                ATLANTIC CITY FREE PUB LIBR                                             ACP     
   US,NJ                ATLANTIC CNTY LIBR                                                      ACN     
   US,NJ                BERKELEY COL                                                            BRK     
   US,NJ                BROOKDALE COMMUN COL LIBR                                               BCC     
   US,NJ                GLOUCESTER CNTY LIBR                                                    GLO     
   US,NJ                LIBRARIES OF MIDDLESEX AUTOMATION CONSOR                                LMX     
   US,NJ                PRINCETON UNIV                                                          PUL     
   US,NV                UNIV OF NEVADA, LAS VEGAS                                               UNL     
   US,NY                ADELPHI UNIV                                                            VJA     
   US,NY                CORNELL UNIV                                                               COO     
   US,NY                FARMINGDALE STATE                                                       YFM     
   US,NY                GENESEE COMMUN COL                                                      YJA     
   US,NY                MID-YORK LIBR SYST                                                      ZTM     
   US,NY                NIAGARA CNTY COMMUN COL                                                 YKU     
   US,NY                NIAGARA UNIV                                                            VVN     
   US,NY                ONONDAGA LIBR SYST                                                      YVO     
   US,NY                ROCHESTER PUB LIBR                                                      YQR     
   US,NY                ROCKLAND COMMUN COL                                                     VVR     
   US,NY                SUNY COL OF TECH AT ALFRED                                              ZAM     
   US,NY                SUNY COL OF TECH AT CANTON                                              ZCM     
   US,NY                WESTCHESTER LIBR SYST                                                   VVW     
   US,OH                AKRON-SUMMIT CNTY PUB LIBR                                              APL     
   US,OH                CLEVELAND PUB LIBR                                                      CLE     
   US,OH                CUYAHOGA COMMUN COL                                                     CUL     
   US,OH                HIRAM COL LIBR                                                          HIR     
   US,OH                MIAMI UNIV                                                              MIA     
   US,OH                OBERLIN COL LIBR                                                        OBE     
   US,OH                OCLC TRAINING & ILLIAD PARTICIPANT                                      TRN     
   US,OH                OHIO STATE UNIV, THE                                                    OSU     
   US,OH                OHIO UNIV, LANCASTER CAM                                                OUL     
   US,OH                SEO AUTOMATION CONSORTIUM                                               OSD     
   US,OH                TIFFIN UNIV, PFIEFFER LIBR                                              UXC     
   US,OH                UNIV OF CINCINNATI                                                      CIN     
   US,OK                EASTERN OKLAHOMA DIST LIBR                                              OEA     
   US,OK                SOUTHEASTERN PUB LIBR SYS OF OKLAHOMA                                   OKI     
   US,OR                BLACKWELLS BOOK SERV                                                    BWX     
   US,OR                MT HOOD COMMUN COL                                                      MHD     
   US,PA                BEAVER CNTY LIBR SYST                                                   BFJ     
   US,PA                BLOOMSBURG UNIV                                                         PBB     
   US,PA                BUCKNELL UNIV                                                           PBU     
   US,PA                CHESTER CNTY LIBR & DIST CTR                                            PWC     
   US,PA                PENNSYLVANIA STATE UNIV                                                 UPM     
   US,PA                SWARTHMORE COL                                                          PSC     
   US,PA                UNIV OF PENNSYLVANIA                                                    PAU     
   US,PA                UNIV OF PITTSBURGH                                                      PIT     
   US,PA                WESTMORELAND CNTY COMMUN COL                                            WJY     
   US,RI                NEW ENGLAND INST OF TECH                                                NLY     
   US,RI                OCEAN STATE LIBRARIES                                                   RIOSL   
   US,SC                COLLEGE OF CHARLESTON                                                   SBM     
   US,SC                HORRY-GEORGETOWN TECH COL LIBR                                          ZJW     
   US,SC                UNIV OF S CAROLINA                                                      SUC     
   US,SD                ALEXANDER MITCHELL LIBR                                                 AML     
   US,TN                PELLISSIPPI STATE COM COL                                               TNW     
   US,TX                SAN ANTONIO PUB LIBR                                                    SAP     
   US,TX                SAN JACINTO COL, LEE DAVIS LIBR                                         SJY     
   US,TX                SOUTHERN METHODIST UNIV, CENT LIBR                                      ISM     
   US,TX                SOUTHWESTERN UNIV                                                       TXX     
   US,TX                TARLETON STATE UNIV                                                     TTS     
   US,TX                TEXAS A&M UNIV                                                          TXA     
   US,TX                TEXAS TECH UNIV                                                         ILU     
   US,TX                UNIV OF N TEXAS                                                         INT     
   US,TX                WACO-MCLENNAN CNTY LIBR                                                 TXW     
   US,UT                BRIGHAM YOUNG UNIV LIBR                                                 UBY     
   US,VA                CENTRAL RAPPAHANNOCK REG LIBR                                           RR1     
   US,VA                JOHN TYLER COMMUN COL                                                   PZN     
   US,VA                NEWPORT NEWS PUB LIBR SYST                                              PEQ     
   US,VA                NORTHERN VIRGINIA COMMUN COL                                            VAN     
   US,VA                TIDEWATER COMMUN COL                                                    TWJ     
   US,VA                UNIV OF VIRGINIA                                                        VA@     


Title: Re: Vampires Today: The Truth About Modern Vampirism - Joseph Laycock (Academic)
Post by: Merticus on March 09, 2010, 02:27:12 pm
   US,VT                LYNDON STATE COL                                                        VLD     
   US,VT                VERMONT TECH COL                                                        VTC     
   US,WA                EVERETT PUB LIBR                                                        UAI     
   US,WA                NORTH SEATTLE COMMUN COL LIBR                                           Z35     
   US,WA                SEATTLE CENT COMMUN COL                                                 S1C     
   US,WA                SEATTLE PUB LIBR                                                        UOK     
   US,WI                APPLETON AREA SCH DIST                                                  WDG     
   US,WI                EASTERN SHORES LIBR SYST                                                WSD     
   US,WI                INFOSOUP (NE WI PUB LIBR)                                               WIQ     
   US,WI                MARQUETTE UNIV RAYNOR MEMORIAL LIBR                                     GZQ     
   US,WI                MILWAUKEE CNTY FEDERATED LIBR SYST                                      GZD     
   US,WI                UNIV OF WISCONSIN, OSHKOSH                                              GZO     
   US,WI                UNIV OF WISCONSIN, PARKSIDE                                             GZP     
   US,WI                UNIV OF WISCONSIN, STOUT                                                GZS     
   US,WI                WINNEFOX LIBR SYST                                                      GZK     
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Title: Re: Vampires Today: The Truth About Modern Vampirism - Joseph Laycock (Academic)
Post by: Merticus on May 03, 2010, 02:05:28 pm
http://doaav.blogspot.com/2010/05/laycocks-modern-vampires.html

Tuesday, May 4, 2010
Laycock's Modern Vampires

First off, I'll say I'm not big into vampire "subculture". You know, the whole so-called "real vampires" biz. More on that, later.

But, I gotta say, I'm impressed with Joseph Laycock's interview for John Morehead's TheoFantastique. Specifically, this bit:

    The connection between modern vampires and “re-enchantment” was first made by Christopher Partridge. In his theory of re-enchantment, Partridge points out that as traditional religion is declining, new belief systems are proliferating. Furthermore, the distinction between deviant and legitimate religion has begun to narrow. Re-enchantment then argues that religion is not fading away so much as changing. The metaphysics of vampirism, as well as emerging new religious movements and popular occultism are all evidence of this change.

Joseph Laycock is the author of Vampires Today: The Truth about Modern Vampirism (2009). The reference to Partridge most likely concerns his work, The Re-enchantment of the West: Alternative Spiritualities, Sacralization, Popular Culture and Occulture, 2 vol. (2004, 2006).

It's good to see such sociological scholarship incorporated into a realm, primarily lorded over by sensationalists, propagandists, apologists, sympathisers, etc. Here's another interview he's done. You'll see what I mean.

I know I might be jumping the gun a bit, as I haven't read his book yet, but it's certainly on my to-get list.
Posted by Anthony Hogg at 2:53 AM


Title: Re: Vampires Today: The Truth About Modern Vampirism - Joseph Laycock (Academic)
Post by: Merticus on May 11, 2010, 12:10:27 am
Posted On Facebook

Highpoint Public Library
901 N. Main Street
High Point, NC, 27262
http://www.highpointpubliclibrary.com

Yesterday at 8:31am
Come to the second floor to check out the newest additions to our Non-Fiction collection!

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Title: Re: Vampires Today: The Truth About Modern Vampirism - Joseph Laycock (Academic)
Post by: ClawOfBastet on July 19, 2010, 04:37:50 pm
No San Fran? I'm disappointed.

I doubt Fremont will take my request though.


Title: Re: Vampires Today: The Truth About Modern Vampirism - Joseph Laycock (Academic)
Post by: Merticus on November 20, 2010, 04:18:38 pm
http://horrornews.net/21640/book-review-vampires-today-the-truth-about-modern-vampires-author-joseph-laycock/

Posted: November 20, 2010 at 10:52 am
VAMPIRES TODAY: THE TRUTH ABOUT MODERN VAMPIRISM
Written by Joseph Laycock
Published by Praeger
Publication Date: 2009
Format: B&W – 200Pages
Price: $31.96

When one thinks of “vampires,” the mythological blood-craving undead being comes to mind. Bram Stoker’s story of Dracula, as well as Anne Rice’s Interview with the Vampire are two of the main stories that have helped to shape the fictional character of the vampire through the years. Furthermore, Bela Lugosi’s portrayal of Count Dracula in Universal Studio’s film version of Stoker’s story helped to strongly shape the image of the vampire.

These stories of the vampire are all fiction, though. In Vampires Today: The Truth about Modern Vampirism, Joseph Laycock interviews a whole new world of the vampire to the reader: that of the “real” vampire. Laycock thoroughly dives in to the life of a modern day vampire, exploring what it means to be a “real” vampire: is it a lifestyle? A fantasy? A religion? A medical condition? Something you’re born with? Something you’re initiated into?

Most significantly, being a “real” modern-day vampire brings the mythological to life, and does not necessarily mean you are 1) undead and 2) require drinking blood as your life-force sustenance.

Laycock writes about and explains the modern day vampire through extensive research and interviews with people involved with vampirism in some form. He’s quick to note that vampirism as a whole is not necessarily a cult or religious movement. Rather, he approaches the topic in a much broader scope, noting that people involved in a form of vampirism tend to shape their sense of identity around it. As such, it is a very psychologically based book. Laycock even explains that for many people, vampirism is a journey of self-discovery. At the end of the chapter entitled, “The Vampire Mileu,” Laycock illuminates, “So far, that category has been defined from the outside by authors, filmmakers, role-players, and occultists. Now, we see that vampires have begun to take ownership of the category, redefining it from the inside. Under this new definition, ‘vampire,’ is becoming a valid category of person. In the eighteenth century, the statement ‘I am a vampire’ would have been incomprehensible. In the twentieth century such a statement would usually be considered a sign of madness. However, in the twenty-first century…[it] may simply indicate one more category with which someone identifies” (pg. 69).

Laycock does a superb job of fully exploring and explaining the different aspects of vampirism. I never imagined just how deep and broad the community was. After reading his book, I do agree with Laycock that being involved in vampirism in some form (be it as a lifestyler, role-player, psychic, sanguinarian, or hybrid vampire), is indeed a form of identity and self-discovery for the individual. With this in mind, I enjoyed how psychologically oriented the book was. This really helped the reader better understand and appreciate just how deep and intricate the sub-culture of vampirism goes.

After reading this book, it is impossible to cast aside a modern day vampire as simply a member of some religious cult. While some groups undoubtedly have cult-like attributes, many vampire clans hold a much greater meaning and purpose behind them. These societies have value sets that they use to help regulate their group of vampires; they teach good ethics and encourage living a respectable life. For instance, vampires who just attend parties and do not hold day jobs are looked down upon. Furthermore, group members are quick to blacklist vampires if they violate certain rules.

What I found most amusing about the information presented in the book is the fact that while these vampire societies are so secretive and tight-knit, almost each different “form” of vampire is hostile towards the others; each group (ie, lifestylers vs. psychic vampires vs. role-players) thinks the others are not real vampires. Even sanguinarian and psychic vampires disagree with what a “real” vampire is. The real kicker, though, is that each of these groups sees the other as delusional. For instance, role-players and lifestylers see sanguinarian vampires and psychic vampires as losing touch with reality, and vice versa. Despite the differences, one would think that there would be more of a rapport between various subgroups of vampires because of their broader unifying label of “vampire.” But, Laycock reveals that this is not necessarily the case.

All in all, this book was a very enjoyable and edifying read. It is so deep with content, from psychology, to philosophy, to religion, that it can be overbearing at times, with the feel of reading a textbook for school. But, with the topic at hand being vampires, it makes for a much more twisted and amusing informational read!

Available at AMAZON - http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0313364729


Title: Re: Vampires Today: The Truth About Modern Vampirism - Joseph Laycock (Academic)
Post by: Merticus on January 05, 2012, 01:21:53 pm
Congratulations to Dr. Joseph Laycock for receiving his doctorate last month from Boston University.  We look forward to his future works and academic endeavors, including later this year (2012);

“Vampires as an Ascriptive Identity Group: Analyzing Causes and Effects of an Introspective Survey by the Vampire Community,” in Adam Possamai, ed., Handbook of Hyper-Real Religions. Boston: Brill, 2012, pp. 141-163.

http://people.bu.edu/jlay/cv.html

PhD, Boston University, 2011, Religion and Society.
MTS, Harvard Divinity School, 2005 (Program in Religion and Secondary Education)
BA, Hampshire College, 2002 (concentration in comparative religion)


Title: Re: Vampires Today: The Truth About Modern Vampirism - Joseph Laycock (Academic)
Post by: Plump Black Swan on March 21, 2013, 11:40:32 pm
Jezuz H Christ!

It seems that I have alot of catching up to do when it comes to "Vampire Academics".

Now I understand who is Dr. Joseph Laycock and what he is all about.

The Vampiric World is more bigger than I imagined. I am glad to awakened from my, naivete!