The Psychology of Dracula: Science, Literature, and the Supernatural

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Bob was raised in New Jersey, where his parents indulgently let him raise 100s of fish, amphibians, reptiles and mammals in their home. It is not surprising that he studies the psychology of animals! But his interests are wide-ranging, and include history of psychology, philosophy of mind, animal cognition, human development, and sexuality. All of these topics come together in his proposed course on the Psychology of Dracula. Bob has done research on cognition in dolphins, sea lions, apes, parrots, dogs, and humans, and has published edited books on topics ranging from deception, pretense, self-awareness, spatial cognition, anthropomorphism, and ape cognition. Bob is Foundation Professor of Psychology at Eastern Kentucky University. He lives with his spouse and 5 cats in Lexington, Kentucky. He has previously taken several student groups to France and Ecuador; this will be his first study abroad with CCSA.

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Dr. Robert W. Mitchell (More Info)

The Psychology of Dracula: Science, Literature, and the Supernatural

Program Dates:
December 26, 2018 - January 8, 2019

Honors Credit:

WKU Course:
PSY 499

Psychology , History , English Language and Literature

Course Description:
Bram Stoker’s novel Dracula relied on new ideas in scientific Psychology. In this class, we will explore developing ideas about hypnosis, sexuality, paranoia, hysteria, masochism, spirituality, and evolutionary continuity, while examining how they were employed in Dracula. Field trips in London will include visits to Highgate Cemetery, London Zoo, Jack Straw’s Castle, the British Museum, The Bethel Museum of the Mind, and the Lyceum Theater; and in Dublin we will visit Dublin Castle, St. Micham’s Church crypts, and Trinity College. Additional class activities may include visiting Whitby on the coast of England and seeing the play The Woman in Black.

Students in the upper level course should have completed their college’s basic writing requirement, and would benefit from having taken an introductory Psychology course.

Physical Activity Requirements:
Participants should be prepared for 3-5 miles of walking per day and lots of subway train travel. Wear appropriate clothing and footwear.

Course Highlights:
This course explores the scientific Psychology background for Bram Stoker’s 1897 novel Dracula. In Dublin we will visit locations relevant to Bram Stoker’s life and thought, including Trinity College and Dublin Castle, as well the St. Michan’s Church crypts, an early influence on Stoker. In London we will visit locations relevant to Stoker’s life as well as his writing of Dracula, including Highgate Cemetery, the London Zoo, the British Museum, the Bethel Museum of the Mind, and the Lyceum Theater (where Stoker worked). If possible in relation to time and money, we may take a trip to Whitby, where Dracula arrives in England, and take in a performance of a Victorian melodrama, The Woman in White. Students will be reading the Norton Critical Edition of Dracula, ISBN: 9780393970128, as well as articles about scientific Psychology supplied by me.