Instructor Reflection – The Power of Possession (7.1)

By John Arthos

Virginia’s video essay exemplifies both the new video essay genre and the specific theme the course identified for the student video essay assignment. Her voice-over is natural, informal, and engaging. She has the made the shift from the voice of the researcher adopted in her written essay to the public intellectual speaking to a general audience. Despite this more vernacular idiom and tone, she manages to convey a complex argument about genre in a clear and efficient verbal performance. Most importantly, Virginia has an insightful take on the way in which the movie genre that she examines does cultural work, the persistence of exorcism tropes that betray the dominant male fear of feminine sexuality and its challenge to hierarchy. By tracing common tropic elements across the evolving genre of demon possession, she skillfully portrays the cultural work that one undying movie genre does.