Zombies as Other from Haiti to Hollywood
Fall 2009 not offered
RELI 472, LAST 336, AFAM 337, AMST 317
The Afro-Creole religion of the Haitian majority is a complex system of inherited roles and rituals that Afro-Creole people remembered and created during and after plantation slavery. Called "serving the spirits," or "Vodou," this religion and cultural system continues as a spiritual method and family obligation in Haiti and its diaspora and draws constantly on new symbols and ideas. A small part of Vodou mythology involves the zonbi: a part of the soul captured and forced to work. Vodou, and especially the zonbi, has also captured the imagination of Hollywood and television, and the entertainment industry has produced numerous films and television episodes, and now computer games, with "Zombie" themes. This course explores the anthropology of the zonbi as a religious practice and relates it to the cultural studies of North American representations of Zombies. We will ask: What constitutes the thought and practice of Haitian zonbi? How is the Zombie represented in American media? How can we analyze the patterns and tropes that operate in images of Zombies? We will explore questions of religious ritual, political resistance, secrecy and spectacle, authenticity and commodification, racism, media studies, and the ethics of representation.
|Gen Ed Area Dept:
|Course Format: Seminar
|Grading Mode: Graded
|Fulfills a Major Requirement for: None