Slayage

Slayage

(pop culture)

Slayage refers to an academic journal, Internet site, and community of scholars devoted to the study of Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Angel and, increasingly, to the whole body of work produced by Joss Whedon, termed the Whedonverse. Slayage: The Online International Journal of Buffy Studies emerged in stages in 2001, the brainchild of two English professors, David Lavery of Middle Tennessee State University and Rhonda V. Wilcox of Gordon College (Barnesville, Georgia). As they gathered essays for a book, Fighting the Forces: What’s at Stake in Buffy the Vampire Slayer, they discovered that two additional books on Buffy were in the works and realized that their interest in the popular television show was shared by a large number of their scholarly colleagues—even more than had been manifested around other pop culture phenomena such as Star Trek or The X-Files. Using the online journal of Xena studies as a model, they created a quarterly journal for Buffy studies which continues to the present.

Further interest in studies on Buffy was manifested in an international conference held at East Anglia University in Norwich, England, in the fall of 2002, attended by scholars from more than twenty countries. Beginning in 2004, Slayage began sponsoring biannual conferences, the first of which brought some four hundred scholars to Nashville. Subsequent conferences were held at Gordon College in Georgia (2006), and Henderson State University, Arkadelphia, Arkansas (2008). Plans were made for a fourth conference to be held in St. Augustine, Florida, in 2010. Late in 2008, the Whedon Studies Association was formed as a legal non-profit educational organization devoted to the study of Whedon and his associates.

Slayage ties together an interdisciplinary network of scholars united initially by their mutual appreciation of the Buffy the Vampire Slayer series, and which has faded only slightly by the demise of the series and its offshoot, Angel. Scholarly comment, based in academic television and movies studies and English, has reached out to include perspectives from sociology, anthropology, philosophy and religious studies. The end result has been that by 2009, over half of all the scholarly articles ever written on vampires, and a significant percentage of the scholarly books, have been devoted to the work product of Joss Whedon. In the wake of the formation of the association, the title of the journal was changed to Slayage: The Journal of the Whedon Studies Association.

Slayage has also published a still growing encyclopedia of Buffy studies, and annually presents the Mr. Pointy Awards (the folksy name given the stake inherited by Buffy from her sister slayer Kendra in the series).

Sources:

Adams, Michael. Slayer Slang: A Buffy the Vampire Slayer Lexicon. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2003. 308 pp.
Encyclopedia of Buffy Studies. Posted at http://slayageonline.com/EBS/.
Jowett, Lorna. Sex and the Slayer: A Gender Studies Primer for the Buffy Fan. Middletown, CT: Wesleyan University Press, 2005. 254 pp.
Kaveney, Roz, ed. Reading the Vampire Slayer. London: Tauris Parke Publishing, 2001. 271 pp.
Koontz, K. Dale. Faith and Choice in the Works of Joss Whedon. Jefferson, NC: McFarland & Company, 2008. 231 pp.
Levine, Elana, and Lisa Parks, eds. Undead TV: Essays on Buffy the Vampire Slayer. Durham, NC: Duke University Press, 2007. 209 pp.
Pateman, Matthew. The Aesthetics of Culture in Buffy the Vampire Slayer. Jeffersonville, NC: Mc-Farland & Company, 2006. 288 pp.
South, James, ed. Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Philosophy. LaSalle, IL: Open Court, 2003. 335 pp.
Stevenson, Gregory. Televised Morality: The Case of Buffy the Vampire Slayer. Lanham, MD: Hamilton Books, 2004.
Wilcox, Rhonda. Why Buffy Matters: The Art of Buffy the Vampire Slayer. London: I. B. Tauris & Company, 2005. 246 pp.
———, and David Lavery, eds. Fighting the Forces: What’s at Stake in Buffy the Vampire Slayer. Lanham, MD: Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, 2002. 290 pp.