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Zombie Anthropology @Stanford

May 6, 2013

Students create course on zombie history” by Catherine Zaw:

Zombies may not have always been the brain-loving, dehumanized remnants of corpses that we now associate with “The Walking Dead” and other similar television shows. In fact, according to Elizabeth Rosen ’13 and Bri Evans ’13, leaders of the student-initiated course Zombies: Anthropology of the American Undead, the modern zombie is just the latest iteration of a complex and compelling subject.

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According to Evans, zombies historically represented a figure akin to slaves, sharing a lack of control over their movements, insufficient nutrition, and even ragged clothing. She posited, however, that zombies now allude more frequently to different trends in American culture, such as capitalist greed.

Capitalism is itself a zombie, a mindless desire to have,” she said. “And the reason why zombies are so popular is in part because of the gore and the heroism, but the idea survives because it’s so mutable for whatever we’re feeling at the time.”

Evans suggested that zombies might also represent one side of an ongoing policy debate.

“Early on, it provided a good way to talk about xenophobia, especially with all the Eastern European immigrants coming in during the ’60s and ’70s,” she said. “During the Cold War, zombies represented social conformism—the lather, rinse, repeat lifestyle. It was more a fear of the zombie rather than of the zombie. Now, zombies represent nature taking revenge because science is going too far—terrorism and biological warfare.”


From → Academics, Communism, nazi

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