Zombie Theory

Zombie Theory

A Reader

Edited by Sarah Juliet Lauro

An interdisciplinary collection of the best international scholarship on zombies as the embodiment of anxieties, critiques, and desires

531 Pages, 7 x 10 in

  • Paperback
  • 9781517900915
  • Published: October 15, 2017
  • eBook
  • 9781452955520
  • Published: October 15, 2017
  • Hardcover
  • 9781517900908
  • Published: October 15, 2017


Zombie Theory

A Reader

Edited by Sarah Juliet Lauro

ISBN: 9781517900915

Publication date: October 15th, 2017

531 Pages

58 black and white illustrations

10 x 7

Zombies first shuffled across movie screens in 1932 in the low-budget Hollywood film White Zombie and were reimagined as undead flesh-eaters in George A. Romero’s The Night of the Living Dead almost four decades later. Today, zombies are omnipresent in global popular culture, from video games and top-rated cable shows in the United States to comic books and other visual art forms to low-budget films from Cuba and the Philippines. The zombie’s ability to embody a variety of cultural anxieties—ecological disaster, social and economic collapse, political extremism—has ensured its continued relevance and legibility, and has precipitated an unprecedented deluge of international scholarship. 

Zombie studies manifested across academic disciplines in the humanities but also beyond, spreading into sociology, economics, computer science, mathematics, and even epidemiology. Zombie Theory collects the best interdisciplinary zombie scholarship from around the world. Essays portray the zombie not as a singular cultural figure or myth but show how the undead represent larger issues: the belief in an afterlife, fears of contagion and technology, the effect of capitalism and commodification, racial exclusion and oppression, dehumanization. As presented here, zombies are not simple metaphors; rather, they emerge as a critical mode for theoretical work. With its diverse disciplinary and methodological approaches, Zombie Theory thinks through what the walking undead reveal about our relationships to the world and to each other.

Contributors: Fred Botting, Kingston U; Samuel Byrnand, U of Canberra; Gerry Canavan, Marquette U; Jeffrey Jerome Cohen, George Washington U; Jean Comaroff, Harvard U; John Comaroff, Harvard U; Edward P. Comentale, Indiana U; Anna Mae Duane, U of Connecticut; Karen Embry, Portland Community College; Barry Keith Grant, Brock U; Edward Green, Roosevelt U; Lars Bang Larsen; Travis Linnemann, Eastern Kentucky U; Elizabeth McAlister, Wesleyan U; Shaka McGlotten, Purchase College-SUNY; David McNally, York U; Tayla Nyong’o, Yale U; Simon Orpana, U of Alberta; Steven Shaviro, Wayne State U; Ola Sigurdson, U of Gothenburg; Jon Stratton, U of South Australia; Eugene Thacker, The New School; Sherryl Vint, U of California Riverside; Priscilla Wald, Duke U; Tyler Wall, Eastern Kentucky U; Jen Webb, U of Canberra; Jeffrey Andrew Weinstock, Central Michigan U.

Sarah Juliet Lauro is assistant professor of English at the University of Tampa. She is author of The Transatlantic Zombie: Slavery, Resistance, and Living-Death and coeditor of Better Off Dead: The Evolution of the Zombie as Post-Human.


Introduction: Wander and Wonder in Zombieland

Sarah Juliet Lauro

Part I. Old Schools: Classic Zombies

1. Contagious Allegories: George Romero

Steven Shaviro

2. Zombie TV: Late-Night B Movie Horror Fest

Jeffrey Andrew Weinstock

3. Viral Cultures: Microbes and Politics in the Cold War

Priscilla Wald

4. Slaves, Cannibals, and Infected Hyper-Whites: The Race and Religion of Zombies

Elizabeth McAlister

5. Slavoj Žižek, the Death Drive, and Zombies: A Theological Account

Ola Sigurdson

Part II. Capitalist Monsters

6. Some Kind of Virus: The Zombie as Body and as Trope

Jen Webb and Samuel Byrnand

7. Ugly Beauty: Monstrous Dreams of Utopia

David McNally

8. Alien-Nation: Zombies, Immigrants, and Millennial Capitalism

Jean Comaroff and John Comaroff

9. Zombies of Immaterial Labor: The Modern Monster and the Consumption of the Self

Lars Bang Larsen

10. Abject Posthumanism: Neoliberalism, Biopolitics, and Zombies

Sherryl Vint

Part III. Zombies and Other(ed) People

11. Zombie Race

Edward P. Comentale

12. Taking Back the Night of the Living Dead: George Romero, Feminism, and the Horror Film

Barry Keith Grant

13. Dead and Live Life: Zombies, Queers, and Online Sociality

Shaka McGlotten

14. Dead and Disabled: The Crawling Monsters of The Walking Dead

Anna Mae Duane 

15. Trouble with Zombies: Muselmänner, Bare Life, and Displaced People

Jon Stratton

Part IV. Zombies in the Street

Preface: In Memoriam: The Toronto Zombie Walk (2003–2015)

Sarah Juliet Lauro

16. Zombie London: Unexceptionalities of the New World Order

Fred Botting

17. Spooks of Biopower: The Uncanny Carnivalesque of Zombie Walks

Simon Orpana

18. The Scene of Occupation

Tavia Nyong’o

19. The Walking Dead and Killing State: Zombification and the Normalization of Police Violence

Travis Linnemann, Tyler Wall, and Edward Green

Part V. New Life for the Undead

20. Nekros: or, The Poetics of Biopolitics 

Eugene Thacker

21. Grey: A Zombie Ecology

Jeffrey Jerome Cohen

22. A Zombie Manifesto: The Nonhuman Condition in the Era of Advanced Capitalism

Sarah Juliet Lauro and Karen Embry

23. “We Arethe Walking Dead”: Race, Time, and Survival in Zombie Narrative

Gerry Canavan



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