Textual examples of the zombie genre have increased exponentially during the last four decades.We now see the zombie not only in film, but video games, books, television shows, music, playing cards, comics, and various forms of new media. Noting the polysemic nature of the figure of the zombie, filmmaker Joe Dante has remarked, "The zombie genre has been politicized ever since George Romero made Night of the Living Dead. The whole idea of zombie as metaphors became very powerful." Indeed, we deploy the metaphor in a staggering variety of contexts and to (seemingly) unrelated concepts. For instance, Michael Hardt recently commented that neo-liberalism is a kind of zombie, in that while it has not ended, it has no future. Philosophical thought experiments use the zombie as a concept to problematize physicalism. Political activists have harnessed the zombie as a prop for direct action and protest. Computers with infected hard drives are converted into zombies. Most simply, the term “zombie” has entered the vernacular as a term for any unthinking person, an automaton. What accounts for this sharp increase in the presence of the zombie as both a figure and a metaphor? Rather than merely compiling a catalogue of instances of the zombie, we propose to assemble a collection of articles exploring this vibrant and multivalent figure in an effort to answer the question of why it operates as a kind of master signifier or trope for our time. We welcome abstracts for articles addressing texts from any medium and employing any critical/theoretical/historical approach.
Possible topics (by no means exhaustive):
Paper abstracts due: Oct 15, 2009