CFP: [Gender Studies] âVamps, Zombies, and the Undead: Rethinking the Politics of Visibilityâ

full name / name of organization: 
Heather Richardson Hayton
contact email: 

Seminar for the 2009 ACLA Annual Conference in Boston; deadline for paper
proposals: 11/1/08 (submit online at

As creatures not fully human, not quite living, the undead force us to
engage more deeply with our definitions of hybridity and to reconsider
localized politics of visibility. Perhaps that is why, amid discourses of
globalism, biopolitical displacement, and ongoing debates over policies of
access, American mass media seems obsessed with vampires, zombies, and the
undead. Far from being simple metaphors for our fears of becoming
unrecognizable or inhuman, or of being consumed by totalizing economic and
political forces, the undead pursue us with an unstoppable passion.
This seminar will examine the living-dead as they appear in our movies, tv
shows, digital and graphic media, and literatureâ€"and will seek to explore
the ways that the undead focus our attention upon issues of sexual
citizenship and theories of the posthuman. By challenging perceived
boundaries between natural and synthetic, digital and material, viral and
virile, queer and straight, narratives of the undead offer us a chance to
think globally about what Agamben calls the “politicization of life,” or to
think locally about what Bill Brown calls “thing theory.” From True Blood
to World War Z to The Historian, our fascination with the undead exposes
the ongoing lure of the closet (or casket) and the challenge of creating
queer community.
Papers exploring the politics of visibility and legibility using any
variety of vamp, zombie, or automata texts are welcomed. The panel
especially seeks interdisciplinary papers or papers that use a variety of
cultural artifacts and theories. Contact Heather Hayton
( with queries, or check out conference website

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Received on Sun Oct 05 2008 - 16:07:36 EDT