English | Projects In Reading and Writing: Zombies! Or, Practicing Cultural Analysis and Cultural Critique with the Living Dead
W170 | 16962 | Bohman
TOPIC: Zombies! Or, Practicing Cultural Analysis and
Cultural Critique with the Living Dead
INSTRUCTOR: Erik Bohman
16962 TR 4:00pm-5:15pm BH 314
12776 TR 5:45pm-7:00pm BH 241
From their roots in West Africa and post-colonial Haiti to their
modern Hollywood remakes, zombies have consistently embodied a dual
power within 20th century American culture. As the title of the
course suggests, zombies have functioned both as symptoms of larger
cultural anxieties and as voracious vehicles of social critique.
After exploring its modern origins in Haitian folklore and American
pulp fiction, we’ll track the zombie and its dual potential through
the second half of the 20th century. Using the films of George A.
Romero—the pioneer of zombie cinema—as our guide (and with adjoining
forays into fiction and extensive critical essays as well), we’ll
watch as the zombie troubles the boundaries of the human and
inhuman, becomes a site of political, racial, and social anxieties,
raises difficult questions about violence and spectatorship, and
probes the limits of sympathy, laughter, and even radical politics.
This course fulfills the English Composition requirement. The formal
writing will emphasize analytical argumentation and the situating of
this analysis with respect to broader cultural and critical
frameworks. The course also aims to help students develop the
critical reading, thinking, and research skills fundamental for
future college work.
Warning: this course will consistently deal with scenes of
unsettling and often graphic violence.