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Seemingly the most fantastical of television series, Buffy the Vampire Slayer proves on close examination to be firmly rooted in real-world concerns. In this collection of critical essays, 15 authors from several disciplines, including literature, the visual arts, theatre, philosophy, and political science, study ways in which Buffy illuminates viewers’ real-life experiences. Topics include the series’ complicated portrayals of the relationship between soul, morality, and identity; whether Buffy can truly be described as a feminist icon; stereotypes of Native Americans in the episode “Pangs”; the role of signs in the interaction between Buffy’s aesthetics and audience; and the problem of power and underhanded politics in the Buffy universe.