Subtropical Gothic: New Orleans and Posthuman Supernaturals in The Originals


  • Verena Bernardi Saarland University



Posthumanism, subtropical Gothic, spatial separation, New Orleans, The Originals


The rise of supernatural creatures throughout different media in the post-2000 era has resulted in a significant change of audiences’ perceptions of vampires, werewolves and witches (among others). Traditionally used to reflect human fears, lack of morals or instinct-related insufficiencies, these creatures are no longer fear-inducing monsters. Instead, their depiction tends to adopt human qualities to confront the audience with missteps and downfalls of contemporary societies and politics. This paper analyzes the television series The Originals as a supernatural mirror image of American society, where the different communities’ struggles for power and their place in New Orleans becomes a micro-cosmos for the American nation. The setting plays a crucial role in the series, which Gothicizes New Orleans to construct a space in which the characters are shown to operate in a posthuman context. This paper will clarify how the protagonists’ posthuman characteristics and their placement in the subtropical landscape of Louisiana uncovers contemporary societal concerns and brings aspects such as Urban Gothic and tropicality closer to the audiences’ reality. Ultimately, it is in the capital of the subtropical Deep South of America where the hegemonic discourse and practices of discrimination and spatial separation are reflected and challenged.

Author Biography

Verena Bernardi, Saarland University

Dr Verena Bernardi is a postdoctoral researcher in the Department of English and American Studies at Saarland University, Germany. She holds a PhD in North American Cultural Studies and is the author of Us versus Them, or We? Post-2000 Vampiric Reflections of Family, Home and Hospitality in True Blood and The Originals. Her research interests lie in Vampire Studies, Television Studies, Cultural Studies (North America), and Southern Regionalism (Louisiana).


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How to Cite

Bernardi, V. (2019). Subtropical Gothic: New Orleans and Posthuman Supernaturals in The Originals. ETropic: Electronic Journal of Studies in the Tropics, 18(1).