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Why have zombies resonated so pervasively in the popular imagination and in media, especially films? Why have they proved to be one of the most versatile and popular monster types in the growing video game industry? What makes zombies such widespread symbols of horror and dread, and how have portrayals of zombies in movies changed and evolved to fit contemporary fears, anxieties, and social issues? Zombies have held a unique place in film and popular culture throughout most of the 20th century. Rare in that this enduring monster type originated in non-European folk culture rather than the Gothic tradition from which monsters like vampires and werewolves have emerged, zombies have in many ways superseded these Gothic monsters in popular entertainment and the public imagination and have increasingly been used in discussions ranging from the philosophy of mind to computer lingo to the business press. Zombie Culture brings together scholars from a variety of fields, including cinema studies, popular culture, and video game studies, who have examined the living dead through a variety of lenses. By looking at how portrayals of zombies have evolved from their folkloric roots and entered popular culture, readers will gain deeper insights into what zombies mean in terms of the public psyche, how they represent societal fears, and how their evolving portrayals continue to reflect underlying beliefs of The Other, contagion, and death.
Zombie stories are peculiarly American, as the creature was born in the New World and functions as a reminder of the atrocities of colonialism and slavery. The voodoo-based zombie films of the 1930s and ’40s reveal deep-seated racist attitudes and imperialist paranoia, but the contagious, cannibalistic zombie horde invasion narrative established by George A. Romero has even greater singularity. This book provides a cultural and critical analysis of the cinematic zombie tradition, starting with its origins in Haitian folklore and tracking the development of the subgenre into the twenty-first century. Closely examining such influential works as Victor Halperin’s White Zombie, Jacques Tourneur’s I Walked with a Zombie, Lucio Fulci’s Zombi 2, Dan O’Bannon’s The Return of the Living Dead, Danny Boyle’s 28 Days Later, and, of course, Romero’s entire “Dead” series, it establishes the place of zombies in the Gothic tradition. Instructors considering this book for use in a course may request an examination copy here.
Tropical Gothic examines Gothic within a specific geographical area of ‘the South’ of the Americas. In so doing, we structure the book around geographical coordinates (from North to South) and move between various national traditions of the gothic (Mexico, Argentina, Brazil, etc) alongside regional manifestations of the Gothic (the US south and the Caribbean) as well as transnational movements of the Gothic within the Americas. The reflections on national traditions of the Gothic in this volume add to the critical body of literature on specific languages or particular nations, such as Scottish Gothic, American Gothic, Canadian Gothic, German Gothic, Kiwi Gothic, etc. This is significant because, while the Southern Gothic in the US has been thoroughly explored, there is a gap in the critical literature about the Gothic in the larger context of region of ‘the South’ in the Americas. This volume does not pretend to be a comprehensive examination of tropical Gothic in the Americas; rather, it pinpoints a variety of locations where this form of the Gothic emerges. In so doing, the transnational interventions of the Gothic in this book read the flows of Gothic forms across borders and geographical regions to tease out the complexities of Gothic cultural production within cultural and linguistic translations. Tropical Gothic includes, but is by no means limited to, a reflection on a region where European colonial powers fought intensively against indigenous populations and against each other for control of land and resources. In other cases, the vast populations of African slaves were transported, endowing these regions with a cultural inheritance that all the nations involved are still trying to comprehend. The volume reflects on how these histories influence the Gothic in this region.
Zombies are everywhere these days. We are consuming zombies as much as they are said to be consuming us in mediated apocalyptic scenarios on popular television shows, video game franchises and movies. The “zombie industry” generates billions a year through media texts and other cultural manifestations (zombie races and zombie-themed parks, to name a few). Zombies, like vampires, werewolves, witches and wizards, have become both big dollars for cultural producers and the subject of audience fascination and fetishization. With popular television shows such as AMC’s The Walking Dead (based on the popular graphic novel) and movie franchises such as the ones pioneered by George Romero, global fascination with zombies does not show signs of diminishing. In The Thinking Dead: What the Zombie Apocalypse Means, edited by Murali Balaji, scholars ask why our culture has becomes so fascinated by the zombie apocalypse. Essays address this question from a range of theoretical perspectives that tie our consumption of zombies to larger narratives of race, gender, sexuality, politics, economics and the end of the world. Thinking Dead brings together an array of media and cultural studies scholars whose contributions to understanding our obsession with zombies will far outlast the current trends of zombie popularity.
The primary goal of the volume on "Visual Communication" is to provide a collection of high quality, accessible papers that offer an overview of the different academic approaches to Visual Communication, the different theoretical perspectives on which they are based, the methods of analysis used and the different media and genre that have come under analysis. There is no such existing volume that draws together this range of closely related material generally found in much less related areas of research, including semiotics, art history, design, and new media theory. The volume has a total of 34 individual chapters that are organized into two sections: theories and methods, and areas of visual analysis. The chapters are all written by quality theorists and researchers, with a view that the research should be accessible to non-specialists in their own field while at the same time maintaining a high quality of work. The volume contains an introduction, which plots and locates the different approaches contained in it within broader developments and history of approaches to visual communication across different disciplines as each has attempted to define its terrain sometimes through unique concepts and methods sometimes through those borrowed and modified from others.
"This book explores numerous aspects of the zombie phenomenon, from its roots in Haitian folklore, to its evolution on the silver screen, to its most radical transformation during the 1960s countercultural revolution. Contributors examine the zombie and its relationship to colonialism, orientalism, racism, globalism, capitalism and more"--Provided by publisher.
Growing from their early roots in Caribbean voodoo to their popularity today, zombies are epidemic. Their presence is pervasive, whether they are found in video games, street signs, hard drives, or even international politics. These eighteen original essays by an interdisciplinary group of scholars examine how the zombie has evolved over time, its continually evolving manifestations in popular culture, and the unpredictable effects the zombie has had on late modernity. Topics covered include representations of zombies in films, the zombie as environmental critique, its role in mass psychology.