Villains and Villainy


Welcome to the Heroes & Villains: Justice and Punishment project home page. The hero may always get the bad guy but the bad guys always grabs our attention first. Bad guys – both male and female – are almost always the more interesting characters in a tale, whether told via song, film, folktale, novel, theatre, myth, television (live action or animated), or urban legend. Villains can devise and implement or commit their acts of villainy either by their innate sheer genius or employing the dark arts of black magic.

This interdisciplinary project and conference will seek to uncover the historical origins of the ‘villain’, chart the changing meanings of ‘villain’ and ‘villainy’ across times and cultures, explore the characteristics of persons and actions labelled as villainous and assess the various incarnations of the villain in literature, film, media and cultures.

Core Themes for Development
Among the core themes to be explored are:

1.   The history of villains and villainy
2.   Concepts and definitions of villains and villainy
3.   Mythological villainy
4.   Villains, antagonists and scoundrels
5.   Devotion to cruelty and the love of the malicious
6.   Villainous laughter
7.   Incarnations of the villainous; this may involve the figures of:
a.   Anti-villain
b.   Archenemy
c.   Dark Lord
d.   Evil Twin
e.   Femme Fatal
f.    Mad Scientist
g.   Supervillain
h.   Tragic Villain
i.    Trickster (such as the character Loki in Norse myth or  “Q” from *Star Trek: The Next Generation*)
j.    Henchman or Minion
k.   Evil Sidekick/Comic Relief/Comedic Villain
l.    Villain as Celebrity/Cause Célébres
m.  Menace and Vengeance
n.   The Unseen Villain
o.   Sympathetic Villains

Related themes will also be identified for development and exploration. Out of our deliberations it is anticipated that a series of related cross context research projects will develop.