Halloween only comes in October, yet communities across the country have hosted zombie walks and other zombie-themed events throughout the year. Even colleges and universities have gotten in on the action by offering courses in zombie history and post-apocalyptic human survival.
But America’s fascination with zombies isn’t new, says Chera Kee, assistant professor of English, who specializes in film and pop culture studies.
“The craze we’ve seen lately can be dated back to the early 2000s,” Kee says. “The zombie in film had been pretty much dead, but it came alive again in video games, particularly the ‘Resident Evil’ series. At that time, there was a level of uncertainty in the world with Y2K and 9/11. Zombies spoke to that anxiety.”
Kee has taught classes and given lectures examining the horror genre. On Oct. 2, she presented “Racialized and Raceless: Visions of Race After Death in Post-Apocalyptic Zombie Worlds” as part of the Humanities Center’s Brown Bag Colloquium Series.
“One of the reasons why zombies are so popular is the notion of completely letting yourself go,” Kee says. “If you’re a zombie, then you get to eat anything you want, you don’t have to wear makeup and you get to behave poorly.”
When asked if she’d survive a zombie attack, Kee replied: “No. I’d be the first to get bitten. I actually don’t have a survival plan.”