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Course description

Zombies and Indians
Instructor: [redacted]

While zombies have existed at some level of reality for centuries, it was not until the 20th Century that zombies overran the global popular imagination. Because of their origins at the many points of collision between colonizer and colonized, zombies have always walked the uncertain spaces between binary "certainties" such as us and them, rich and poor, slave and master, and, of course, alive and dead. As those spaces of uncertainty have spread through globalization, zombies became increasingly flexible and strategic syntheses across these binaries. Thus, zombies occupy a variety of liminal spaces wherein contemporary social tensions are reflected and refracted. These tensions, however, have historical and ongoing parallels with images and representations of "Indians."

This course is intended to guide students towards thinking critically through the vehicle of zombies. Zombies reveal societal ambivalence about race, class, gender, ethnicity, political power, agency, and other aspects of social reproduction—in other words, zombies touch upon all of the anxieties commonly associated with colonialism.

We will read a LOT, watch some movies, and hopefully grow to appreciate that in order to make sense of our already infested world, it’s not enough to shoot zombies in the head; we have to be able to get inside their heads as well.

Warning: this course will contain content that students may (or even should) find offensive or disturbing, including graphic language, sexual situations, religious intolerance, gore, colonialism, violence, depictions of death and dying, cannibalism, nudity, racism, sexism, classism, weightism, homophobia, and sexualized violence.

Comments

( 5 comments — Leave a comment )
kproche
Jul. 24th, 2012 05:45 pm (UTC)
Gee, did the instructor ever see this film?
http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0795505/
randy_byers
Jul. 24th, 2012 05:49 pm (UTC)
Maybe it's on the syllabus!
kim_huett
Aug. 7th, 2012 02:10 am (UTC)
I've devoted some time over the last couple of years to reading and thinking about vampires. Something I've noticed is that in the medieval stories of Europe vampires, zombies, and other such creatures aren't very clearly delineated. There seems to be a lot of crossover in regards to many details of the differing legend, so much so that what the creature is called various specific tales seems more or less arbitrary. Separating out the legends and giving each a specific set of attributes seems to have been something that started in 19th century fiction. I wonder if this happened as a response to a great European awareness of non-European cultures?
randy_byers
Aug. 7th, 2012 03:24 pm (UTC)
The speciation of supernatural creatures? Perhaps it's a byproduct of the scientifiction revolution.
kim_huett
Aug. 15th, 2012 11:33 am (UTC)
You know, that would be a very good point if you replaced scientifiction with scientific. Given the classification of the natural world became popular during the 18th/19th centuries it's possible this influenced people like Bram Stoker and caused them to be more fastidious about what their creations could and could not do. I shall have to give this more thought.
( 5 comments — Leave a comment )

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