Border crossings and multicultural whiteness: Nationalism in the global production and United States reception of vampire films

2004 2004

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Abstract (summary)

Border Crossings and Multicultural Whiteness analyzes the interplay of cinema and nation in audience responses to vampire films. Since audiences accept nationality, race, and ethnicity as “natural” terms for social differentiation, I examine them in tandem with an exaggerated term for social differentiation that calls attention to its ideological constructivity: vampire. Vampire-film narratives involve border crossings, posing; questions about immigration, cultural assimilation, and foreign intervention that produce notions of nation, race, and ethnicity. I question why audiences devalue vampire films, particularly ones challenging the “transparency” of eurocentrism, multiculturalism, and whiteness, to suggest that inequalities within film narratives reflect industrial inequalities with global film circulation. Vampire-hunters assassinate in foreign rulers, yet vampires are forbidden to immigrate; Hollywood dominates foreign markets, yet foreign films are often denied entry into US markets. I propose the concept of multicultural whiteness, linking problematic discourses of inclusion and exclusion, to suggest an internalization of Hollywood narrative conventions, cinematic styles, and production values as an expression of US nationalism. Audiences evaluate vampire films according to criteria of performing whiteness while constructing “America” as an a historical “nation of immigrants.”

Chapters 1 and 2 investigate ethnocentrism and nationalism imbedded in vampirism against alternative primordialist and constructivist theories of nation, relating them to the evaluative criteria within vampire-film canons. Chapter 3 analyzes ambiguous representations of nationality for international audiences in Hammer Films (UK) productions since the late 1950s. Chapter 4 suggests that dubbing, reediting, and peripheral exhibition venues reduce parodies of eurocentrism in Mexican, Filipino, Japanese, and South Asian films to depoliticized touristic spectacle during 1960s–1970s. Chapter 5 examines “vampires of color” in post-1975 Hollywood as sites for debates and negotiation over miscegenation and assimilation. Chapter 6 explores multiculturalism's deflation of tensions between Chinese transnationalism (one China) and Hong Kong's hybrid identity (Chinese-British) in 1980s Hong Kong films. Chapters 7 and 8 question the purported de-centering of multinational financing in art and blockbuster films and interrogate the unequal benefits of globalization I conclude by discussing fan fiction, video distribution and reception via the Internet, contending that copyright law is selectively enforced according to national hierarchies within the global marketplace.

Indexing (details)

Motion Pictures;
Comparative literature;
American studies
0900: Motion Pictures
0295: Comparative literature
0323: American studies
Identifier / keyword
Communication and the arts; Social sciences; Language, literature and linguistics; Border crossings; Multicultural; Nationalism; Reception; Vampire films; Whiteness
Border crossings and multicultural whiteness: Nationalism in the global production and United States reception of vampire films
Hudson, Dale M.
Number of pages
Publication year
Degree date
School code
DAI-A 65/06, Dissertation Abstracts International
Place of publication
Ann Arbor
Country of publication
United States
Portuges, Catherine
University of Massachusetts Amherst
University location
United States -- Massachusetts
Source type
Dissertations & Theses
Document type
Dissertation/thesis number
ProQuest document ID
Database copyright ProQuest LLC; ProQuest does not claim copyright in the individual underlying works.
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