The latest schedule for the symposium—a printable pdf document—has been added to the “Schedule” page,…
Over his lengthy career, Dr. Melton has responsible for the publication of more than 400 reference and scholarly texts including multiple editions of the Melton’s Encyclopedia of American Religions (8th edition, 2009). Most recently, he has completed the editing of the second edition of the award-winning Religions of the World: A Comprehensive Encyclopedia of Belief and Practice (2010), Religious Celebrations: An Encyclopedia of Holidays, Festivals, Solemn Observances, and Spiritual Commemorations (2011), and Faiths Across Time, 5,000 Years of Religious History (2013).
Melton has also been a student of the vampire phenomenon that developed in the 1970s and in 1994 released the first edition of his award winning The Vampire Book: The Encyclopedia of the Undead (3rd ed. 2011). Among his various publications on the vampire, he has most recently completed The Vampire in Folklore, History, Literature and Television (McFarland, 2015), the first volume of a new comprehensive bibliography of vampire literature. He is also the owner of one of the largest collections of vampire books in the world.
Thomas Jesús Garza is Distinguished Teaching Associate Professor in the Department of Slavic and Eurasian Studies and Director of the Texas Language Center at the University of Texas at Austin, where he has received more than a dozen teaching awards during his 25-year tenure. He teaches courses on the Russian language and contemporary Russian culture.
A native Texan, Dr. Garza received his doctorate from Harvard University in 1987. He has taught a popular course on Slavic vampires at U Texas since 1997, and has published several articles on the contemporary image of the vampire in Russian popular culture in both US and Russian academic journals. He also compiled and edited a course reader for his vampire course, The Vampire in Slavic Cultures, which is used at a number of US and Canadian universities. His current research is on filmic and cultural portraits of machismo in contemporary Russian and Latino cultures during the last twenty years.
Michael E. Bell has a Ph.D. in Folklore from Indiana University, Bloomington; his dissertation topic was African American voodoo beliefs and practices. He has an M.A. in Folklore and Mythology from the University of California at Los Angeles, and a B.A., with M.A. level course work completed, in Anthropology/Archaeology from the University of Arizona, Tucson. Bell was the Consulting Folklorist at the Rhode Island Historical Preservation & Heritage Commission, Providence, Rhode Island, for more than twenty-five years. He has also taught courses in folklore, English, anthropology and American studies at several colleges and universities.
His book, Food for the Dead: On the Trail of New England’s Vampires (2011), was a BookSense 76 Pick and winner of the Lord Ruthven Assembly Award for Best Nonfiction Book on Vampires. He is currently completing a second book on American vampires, titled In the Vampire’s Grasp: Narrating America’s Restless Dead. Michael Bell and his wife, Carole, split their time between Rhode Island and Texas.
Joseph Laycock is an assistant professor of religious studies at Texas State University. His research focuses on new religious movements, religion in America, and religion and popular culture. His latest book is Dangerous Games: What the Moral Panic over Role-Playing Games Says About Play, Religion, and Imagined Worlds (University of California Press, 2015).
Dax Stokes is a librarian and adjunct instructor of music at the Corinth campus of North Central Texas College. He holds degrees from the University of Tennessee and the University of North Texas. Since 2010, he has been lecturing on the subject of vampires and the novel Dracula through the North Texas area. In addition to his work at NCTC, he is the host of The Vampire Historian Podcast, and can be found at thevampirehistorian.com