- December 1, 2016
- 6:30 pm
California Institute of Integral Studies
1453 Mission Street
San Francisco, CA 94103
In recent years zombies and the zombie apocalypse have loomed large in the collective American imagination. From film and television, to theme parties and marathons, zombies have even been used in counter terrorism training and course curricula from elementary to college levels to teach topics from geography to public health to sociology. As recurrent monsters in the history of capitalism, with origins in New World slavery in Haiti, zombies reflect what is monstrous in an economic system "that seems designed to eat people whole" (Newitz).
As the political unconscious of late-era capitalism, what does this increasingly normalized pop culture obsession point to? What apocalyptic futures are we repeatedly rehearsing, and how do they signal both despair of, and hope for, fundamental change?
This talk examines representations of zombies in popular culture, draws out historical connections and diverse monster theories that help us see how we—in the United States in particular—are processing and making sense of systemic social and environmental horror.
Zara Zimbardo is an Interdisciplinary Studies faculty in the BA Completion and MFA programs at CIIS. She is a presenter and published writer on topics of the social construction of whiteness, critical media literacy, Islamophobia, subversion of stereotypes in a time of war, social justice comedy, modern monsters and the zombie apocalypse, and representations of gender, race, consumerism and U.S. imperialism/militarism. Zara co-founded the White Noise Collective, an anti-racist feminist training and resource organization. She is a co-founder and Special Projects Director of Partners for Collaborative Change, which supports organizations to become more equitable through democratizing research planning and design, and through anti-oppression facilitation and coaching. Learn more about her work here.