Theorizing Zombiism: Toward a Critical Theory Framework

deadline for submissions: 
November 2, 2018
full name / name of organization: 
University College Dublin, Ireland

Theorizing Zombiism: Toward a Critical Theory Framework

University College Dublin 

UCD Humanities Institute

25-27 July 2019


The rising academic interest in the zombie as an allegory for cultural and social analysis is spanning disciplines including, humanities, anthropology, economics, and political science. The zombie has been used as a metaphor for economic policy, political administrations, and cultural critique through  various theoretical frameworks. The zombie has been examined as a metaphor for capitalism, geopolitics, globalism, neo-liberal markets, and even equating Zombiism to restrictive aspects of academia.


The zombie as a cultural figure has its beginnings in allegorical folk tales related to the experience of the Haitian slave.  Roger Lockhurst, Zombies: A Cultural History, examines these folk tales concerned with the horrific existence of slavery as told through the enigmatic zombi, which was quickly assimilated into western film and pulp fiction. Early films such as White Zombie, mark the induction of the savage zombies into western culture. George A. Romero transformed the zombie narrative into a survival story reflecting aspects of human society. This long standing tradition of the zombie genre is the basis for the successful series The Walking Dead. However, the rise of popular forms of the Zombie narrative, I, Zombie and the Netflix Original Santa Clarita Diet shifts the focus to the first person experience of the Zombie.


The evolution of the zombie narrative in both culture and academics indicates its adaptability and viability as a distinct framework for critical theory. This conference aims to investigate the possibility of developing a singular theoretical framework to evaluate culture and society through the zombie narrative trope. Contributors are encouraged to provide discipline specific, and interdisciplinary, examinations of the zombie with the purpose of formulating an overall theoretical structure of Zombiism.


We are particularly interested in interdisciplinary approaches to Zombiism.


Potential Topics both discipline specific and non-discipline specific, but not limited to:

-      Nationalism through the zombie narrative films: Rec (Spain), Le Horde (France), Cockneys vs Zombies (England), Dead Meat (Ireland), Ravenous (Canada), etc.

-      Zombie phenomenology/philosophy/phsychoanalysis

-      Globalization, Refugees, and Migration.

-      Pedagogical Zombiism.

-      Gender and the Undead.

-   Zombies in Popular Culture: Re-evaluating the function of horror in society.

-   Expanding Praxis: Evaluating the expanding Zombie trope into other art forms and fields.

-      The Zombification of History: Re-telling historical events through Zombiism and other horror tropes (Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter, etc).

-   Undead digital objects and issues of digital curation/Undead archival objects.

-      Legal Zombiism: Law and Legislation that refuses to die.

-      Ecocritcal Zombiism.

-      Science/Science Fiction: The science of Zombiism/The Zombification of science.

-      Zombiism and visual culture and art history.


Send abstracts of 300 words for consideration to by 2 Nov, 2018.


Conference organizers:  Scott Hamilton (UCD), Conor Heffernan (UCD)