Animal House Revisited
“Male Bonding and Inter-Male Conflict in United States Fraternities” was written as my graduate thesis at Oregon State University. My aim was to discuss various aspects of male bonding with fraternity members and to inquire why incidents of rape and violent hazing sometimes occur.
Naturally, my research took off in many surprising directions that I had never anticipated (secret initiation rituals, racial barriers on membership and attempts to overcome them, highly covert “fraternities” that powerfully manipulated school courts and newspapers for decades, violence against rival fraternities, conflicts with feminist organizations, and interviews at fraternity houses were a rape had recently taken place).
As a result, this graduate research has experienced minor cult status and it was consistently checked out of the university library for years afterward. Most surviving copies eventually vanished and this book was thought to be permanently lost. Luckily, an electronic copy has just been made available for exclusive use on this website.
CHAPTER FIVE: RESULTS OF INTERVIEWS
The Male Bond: Defining the Object
A House Divided: Internal Conflict
A House Divided: Competing Hierarchies
A House Divided: Building on Dichotomies
Fraternity Rituals: The Initiation Ceremony
Fraternity Rituals: The On-Going Process
The Mirror Image: Fraternity Rivalry
Perceived Injustice: Feminists
Perceived Injustice: The Black Lantern Procession
CHAPTER SIX: CONCLUSIONS
The Endless Cycle: Rituals and Physical Aggression
Fraternities and Power Hierarchies
Looking Ahead: The Possible Future of Fraternities
Recommendations for Future Research
The movie Animal House (Universal Studios) was filmed in Eugene, Oregon, in coordination with the University of Oregon. This infamous movie portrayed a fictional fraternity, the Deltas, who were students at a fabricated college called Farber. In reality, Animal House was filmed in the late 1970s at Sigma Nu Fraternity, which is located on 11th near Hilyard Street. Sigma Nu’s national charter protested this use of the fraternity house claiming that the “national Sigma Nu organization has legal control over the house” (Emerald 10/11/77). In defiance of their national headquarters, members of Sigma Nu and their alumni bonded together to allow their house to be filmed anyway.The outside portrait of the Animal House (seen above) was actually taken at the house directly next door (755 Hilyard), just west of Sigma Nu. This former fraternity house was eventually converted into a half-way house before it was finally torn down. In it’s place now stands a health service building for children and young adults. A small historical marker serves as a reminder of the historical significance of the location.Almost twenty years later, near to completing my study of fraternities, I returned to the same spot. As luck would have it, about seven active Sigma Nu members were basking in the sun on their front porch. Not wanting to miss the opportunity for nostalgia, I asked them about Animal House. They initially responded with pride as they pointed out parts of the house that were filmed. Their feelings about Delta house seems mixed today, however. Several members wanted to make it clear that Sigma Nu is very different than the fictional Delta house; a sentiment often echoed by the participants in this research.