Zombies vs Professors

by Katemandi, Last Girl on Earth

If only I’d seen the original call! But there’s still time for you to make your plans to attend if you need the academic approach to the Apocalypse. I wonder if they’ll be able to come up with a catchy song like Plants vs Zombies

Zombies vs. Professors: 

An Academic Symposium 

(April 13th-15th, 2012)

Indiana University/University of Louisville

Zombies seem to everywhere these days, and now they’re banging on the gates of the Academy . . .
The undead hordes have always represented a challenge to humanism and civility, to the humanities and civilization. Stalking the cultural horizon, they wreak havoc on notions of identity and agency, ideologies of expression, mechanisms of production and consumption, and boundaries of property and safety, culture and theory, bios and zoe, death and non-death.

But now it’s personal—they’re coming for us, threatening to feast on our student’s brains, tear through our professional identities, and rot our intellectual categories. Brain workers everywhere must rise together to shore up the defenses, firm up critical and analytic resources, develop new lines of inquiry and tactics of common cause.

This small conference, to be held in a secured site in Louisville, Kentucky, will aim to chart lost histories and craft novel escape routes; we seek researchers for a multidisciplinary discussion about the many facets of this phenomenon and its implications for our work and its future. To those ends, we seek papers in the following categories:

Zombies through history: cultural representations of the undead from antiquity to modernity; in both Western and non-Western contexts; approaches may be literary, art historical, anthropological, sociological, etc. (no vampires or werewolves, please)

Zombies in/as popular culture: zombies in literature, films, music videos, video games, graphic novels, flash mobs, etc.; zombies as avatars of capitalism, consumer culture, etc.; zombies and the public sphere, etc; zombie rules and zombie canon; etc.

Zombie science: virus theory, epidemiology, statistics, physiology, etc.; zombie manuals, anatomies, technical guides; zombie and science ethics; etc.

Zombie theory: zombie philosophy, zombie ethics, zombie history, etc.; zombies and political theory; zombies and sociology; zombies and the subject; zombies and race; etc.

The conference organizers seek papers that promote new thinking about cultural studies and cultural critique—adventurous work that moves beyond the parochialism of contemporary disciplinary apparatuses without compromising intellectual rigor. We also seek stylish approaches that would appeal to popular as well as academic audiences; we don’t want anyone to sacrifice intelligence for the sake of accessibility, but we do not think that these two terms are necessarily incompatible.

Edward P. Comentale (Indiana U)
Aaron Jaffe (U of Louisville)

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