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Cussans’ Zombie Metaphor in Diaspora

November 21, 2012

“Tracking the Zombie Diaspora: From Sub-human to Post-human” by John Cussans on his blog Zonbi Diaspora:


The zombie is a particularly resilient and chimerical figure in the history of popular monsters. An exemplary boundary figure originating in Haitian folklore, the legendary zombie is a human being whose soul has been stolen after death by a sorcerer who has then brought them back to life. From the early Hollywood representations of zombies as soul-less somnambulists governed by the will of an evil magician, through the plagues of insatiable, cannibal zombies of the 1970′s, to the contemporary zombies that populate the debates of cognitive science, the zombie figure has exercised a peculiar hold of the Western popular and scientific imagination for two hundred years. At stake in each variety of zombie is a complex of issues involving the cultural demonization of the African cultural diaspora in the Americas; debates about the nature of human consciousness and the existence of the soul; the distinction between the living and the dead; and fears about the exercise of behavioral influence at a distance. This paper will track the ‘migration’ of the zombie as it passes from one cultural and discursive context to the next, tracing the behavioral and functional mutations which accompany its passage.

See also Cussans in a recent November 7. 2012 panel discussion video of Zombie Metaphor (starts about 10 minutes in on the video):

And for related ZombieLaw themes see Zombie Racism and The White Zombie is American Law and Corporate Control and James Bond and Capitalism Zombies

From → Academics

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