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Resident Zombie Cats at Teachers College

September 29, 2013

VentureBeat: “Columbia University is Full of Zombies!” by Ben Villarreal begins:

Last fall, I moved to New York City to begin my doctoral studies in English Education at Teachers College, Columbia University.

Villarreal sees parallels between his doctoral studies and the game “Resident Evil 6”:

It begins immediately after a zombie outbreak on Ivy University’s campus in the city Tall Oaks. The President of the United States (presumably an alumnus) has just given an address, but he doesn’t make it to the reception.

it was really clear that this game was simulating a zombie outbreak not just in my new city but on the very college campus where I live.

Villarreal cites the similarity of the video game‘s subway map, to NYC’s MTA maps and so the game’s “Ivy University” must be Columbia University because it’s the only Ivy League university in NYC.

Villarreal continues:

as fall settles on Columbia University once more, I find my studies more and more interrupted not by memories of zombies in the hallways but the hallways themselves,… 309 Havemeyer, the most filmed classroom in all of cinema.

Wait what, I thought he goes to Teachers College, what is he doing in Havemeyer? There is definitely a zombie pun to be made about a TC student roaming around main campus finding meaning in movie images. I guess the lecture hall in Zankel wouldn’t have made as pretty a picture, but for those interested in zombie stories, Arthur Zankel might be an interesting place to start; financiers falling out windows is sad. Also sad is what happened to Thorndike’s cats:

The way his experiment worked was by placing a hungry cat into the box, then observing its behavior as it tried to escape and obtain some food.

[Thorndike] argued that we study animal behavior, not animal consciousness, for the ultimate purpose of controlling behavior.

It remains an open question as to whether animals can become zombies (not on “Walking Dead” but perhaps Thorndike’s torture is more like “Pet Cemetery”?). Perhaps because it is an open question about animal consciousness – including humans. We are all p-zombies?

This is not my first mention of Columbia University on this blog. First, recall that the movie “Ghostbusters” is set at Columbia and reread Adam Bertocci’s “Overthinking Ghostbusters”. Then recall last year ZombieLaw: “Liberal arts IVy league elites are unprepared to survive zombie apocalypse“, about an article on zombie survival by Andrew Godinich in the Columbia Spectator:

during the zombie apocalypse, Columbia will not stand a chance.

Reading the core curriculum is unlikely to prepare students for wilderness survival. Villarreal addresses the 100 year old liberal arts education that Columbia students do get:

teachers still instruct in a style we know isn’t that conducive to learning.

These ruins are a metaphor for human decay, whether it’s mental, moral, or physical.

it looks to me that the game [Resident Evil 6] is commenting on American higher education, and it’s something to the effect of “You’re falling apart.”

Recall the recent book “Zombies in Academia: Living Death in Higher Education” edited by Andrew Whelan, Ruth Walker, and Christopher Moore. And see also, “The Zombie Academic Journey” about Noah J. Toly’s piece in Chronicle of Higher Education. And recall “Colleges indoctrinate liberal zombies” — and at Oxford too! And NYU! — and also “Chinese Zombies at Yale (Communists at Harvard)” — or see all ZombieLaw category Academics or tag education

[see also: “Classroom Assessment Techniques” = CATs]

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