RSSS 315: Werewolves and Vampires: Slavic Folklore in our Culture Section 910 - Spring 2012
100% Online (D2L/

Instructor: Andrew Gunn


Course Website:

*(Most of the course content will be made available on D2L)*

Office hours: By appointment only. Schedule through email. We may use: Skype, Gmail Chat, Facebook, etc...

Phone Number: (520) 344-4111  (Use with discretion)

Course Description

This course will examine two supernatural figures with clear connections to Slavic and Eastern-European folklore – the werewolf and the vampire. Through folklore (historical accounts, recorded testimony, and stories), novels, music, and films we will investigate the representation of these figures as they develop and migrate from culture to culture in several historical periods. In each society they function differently, taking on different looks, characteristics, and roles that reflect their new settings in complex ways. The scope of the course includes consideration of early folklore accounts, literature from the end of the 18th century to the present, and film/television representations. Class discussions will take place on D2L in a forum or blog format. You will be responsible to post, meaningful, bi-weekly responses to the prompts given on D2L. You will also be required to respond to other students’ posts as per assignment instructions. These assignments and writing elements will help to contextualize the works in the eras and cultures that produced them and will encourage the development of critical reading and writing skills. 

*Special attention will be given to the questions of why we are drawn to such figures, why they are so productive in our society (engendering so many films and novels and televisions series), and how they reflect our social problems relating to identity, violence, sexuality, gender roles, adolescence, ethnicity, and religious belief.

Desired outcomes of the course include: (1) knowledge about Eastern European cultures, in particular vampire and werewolf lore; (2) development of reading and film-viewing skills (which in turn will enhance appreciation for literary and cinematic works); (3) basic familiarity with the terminology and concepts of folklore, literary, film and music study; (4) increased awareness of the ways in which social problems are reflected in popular culture and art; and (5) better understanding of how beliefs in such figures as vampires and werewolves were/are acquired.

Required and supplemental materials will all be made available via D2L. N.B. - Even though it is available online, I would suggest purchasing a paper copy of Bram Stoker’s Dracula, as this is the longest work in the course. We will spend a considerable amount of time reading and analyzing it.

Required materials include but are not limited to:

-Bram Stoker’s Dracula

-Kitzbergs, Werewolf

-Several short readings and accounts (on D2L)

-Music Selections (TBD)

-Several Films and Film Clips (TBD)

Excerpts from films and several complete films will be available as streaming movies on D2L or linked to outside sources (youtube, etc).

Important Note/Disclaimer: Some of the material in this course (in films, readings, and lectures) presents adult situations with content, language and images that some may find objectionable. Such material relates to unconventional belief systems, violence, and sex. If you are offended or upset by such material, you should not take this course.

Course Requirements and Distribution of Grades

•1 Weekly Post/Response to Prompts from regarding required reading/viewing materials  = 180 points (20 points each). Treat these postings as mini essays. They will all require prior review of the required materials and must demonstrate an element of critical thinking on your part. They should be around 500 words in length and well written. (Check your grammar, spelling, etc.)

•2 Weekly Responses to other students’ postings from your discussion group = 90 points (5 pts. per response). These do not need to be long or formal but they must demonstrate critical thinking and that you actually read your peers’ posts.

•Participation Points = 40 Points. In addition to the Writing and Response elements of the course, you will be asked to interact with members of the course within or outside of your discussion groups. In other words, posing questions, sharing insights, raising interesting points that we are not discussing. This will be accomplished via a large blog or forum that I will monitor and post in myself. Please be respectful of other students’ opinions and beliefs and keep the profanity to a minimum

•Weekly Quizzes. = 90 points (10 points each) (On D2L). Quizzes will be timed and made available for the entire week. They will consist of questions regarding the required material from that week/module.

•Midterm Exam. = 100 points (On D2L). This too will be timed and made available on the date/dates TBD.

•Final Exam. = 150 points. The final exam will only cover material after the midterm exam. It is NOT cumulative. Also available on D2L, timed, and only available for a certain date/dates TBD.

•The course consists of 600 points total. All assignments, quizzes and exams are not weighted and are worth their respective point values.

Attendance Policy

As this is an online course, attendance will be measured by your login activity and participation in the class forums, blogs and your postings/response to postings on D2L. Failure to post assignments on time will result in a loss of points so it is to your advantage to keep up with the material we are covering each week/module.


Since this is a 100% online course, all quizzes and exams will be timed (so don’t count on googling answers during a quiz/exam) and only accessible on D2L for certain dates (TBD). I will allow 2 attempts for each quiz and exam, in the event that you have computer trouble. Keep in mind however, that it will not be the same quiz/exam. They will consist of a bank of MANY questions that will be randomly selected for each quiz or exam attempt.

Quizzes and Exams may consist of, but will not be limited to:

-Multiple Choice


-Short Answer


-ID (Film clip, music clip, literature excerpt, etc.)

*You are welcome to collaborate with others, regarding written assignments and discussion questions but you must take quizzes and exams independently. This is easily monitored through IP address information and time/date stamps of exams and quizzes.
*NO makeup quizzes or examinations will be given unless circumstances are extenuating.

Academic Integrity

Required viewing: “Academic Integrity” (under “Podcasts/Videos”) at  The following misconduct is subject to disciplinary action: all forms of student academic dishonesty including cheating, fabrication, facilitating academic dishonesty, and plagiarism (Student Handbook, 1991-92, pp. 53-4). Refer to the Code of Academic Integrity, copies of which are available in the Office of the Dean of Students and on the web. For Policies against threatening behavior by students: Plagiarism will be avoided if you use this statement as a guide: “Whenever you consciously borrow any important element from someone else, any sentence, any colorful phrase or original term, any plan or idea – say so, either in a footnote, a bibliography, or parentheses (Academic Honesty in the Writing of Essays and Other Papers, Carleton College, 1990). It is best to express the ideas you use in your own words but words and ideas that come from someplace or someone else must be cited.

HolidaysAll holidays or special events observed by organized religions will be honored for those students who show affiliation with that particular religion. Absences pre-approved by the UA Dean of Students (or Dean's designee) will be honored.

Students with DisabilitiesStudents with disabilities who require reasonable accommodations to fully appreciate in course activities or meet course requirements must register with the Disability Research Center at 621-3268 (V/TTY). If you qualify for services through DRC, please bring your letter of accommodations to me as soon as possible.

Werewolves & Vampires: Slavic Folklore in our Culture

RSSS 315 (Section 910)

Department of Russian and Slavic Studies • 305 Learning Services Building • University of Arizona • Tucson, AZ 85721-0105 • (520) 621-7341


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