- Sep 2016
The author affirms that “Zombies—lacking interior, lacking mind—cannot look; they are, for this reason, completely realized colonial objects. Zombies cannot be recognized, accommodated, or negotiated with; once identified, they must immediately be killed.” He contends that the coding of the zombie figure in the biopolitical terms of epidemic is evidence that “The biopolitical state . . . needs to create this sort of racial imaginary in order to retain its power to kill.”
I've been a big fan of the zombie/living dead sub-genre since I was pretty young, and the interest has grown even more in the last 12+ years. Overtime, I have wondered whether this sub-genre, our fascination with zombies/infected apocalyptic themes/elements, has deeper meaning for us that can point back to the innate nature of othering or ingroup/outgroup. There are stories of genocide and wars in literature throughout time and across every culture. Humankind has an extensive history that involves the oppression and marginalization of many different civilizations and people. We have an intimate relationship with war and conflict. In the past, it may have not been so usual to see apocalyptic literature with themes that target a certain race or groups of people, even a race that was deemed inferior or less than fully human, due to the prevailing ideologies and worldviews during those times. But the same attitude and worldview is unacceptable today, at least to many. Survivors of the apocalypse can't go all feral and Purge on another group of people, at least not on such a wide scale. However, zombies/infected seem to take that place. Zombies serve a similar function. Not only is there the classic world-ending event that has existed in religious literature for millennia, but survivors get to maintain human supremacy (rather than racial) over non-humans. It becomes unacceptable because these things are no longer conscious or recognized as a living, sentiment human.