Not Your Average Zombie
Rehumanizing the Undead from Voodoo to Zombie Walks
236 Pages, 6.00 x 9.00 in
Sales Date: September 5, 2017
The zombie apocalypse hasn’t happened—yet—but zombies are all over popular culture. From movies and TV shows to video games and zombie walks, the undead stalk through our collective fantasies. What is it about zombies that exerts such a powerful fascination? In Not Your Average Zombie, Chera Kee offers an innovative answer by looking at zombies that don’t conform to the stereotypes of mindless slaves or flesh-eating cannibals. Zombies who think, who speak, and who feel love can be sympathetic and even politically powerful, she asserts.
Kee analyzes zombies in popular culture from 1930s depictions of zombies in voodoo rituals to contemporary film and television, comic books, video games, and fan practices such as zombie walks. She discusses how the zombie has embodied our fears of losing the self through slavery and cannibalism and shows how “extra-ordinary” zombies defy that loss of free will by refusing to be dehumanized. By challenging their masters, falling in love, and leading rebellions, “extra-ordinary” zombies become figures of liberation and resistance. Kee also thoroughly investigates how representations of racial and gendered identities in zombie texts offer opportunities for living people to gain agency over their lives. Not Your Average Zombie thus deepens and broadens our understanding of how media producers and consumers take up and use these undead figures to make political interventions in the world of the living.
Kee provides a compelling synthesis of theory and criticism...useful for horror scholars interested in how portrayals of zombie intersect with race and gender.~Popular Culture Studies Journal
Kee's Not Your Average Zombie is an important book…Put simply: if it's the one book you read about or cite on zombie, you've made an excellent choice.~American Quarterly
[Not Your Average Zombie] offers a fresh theoretical framework to a fast-growing field…a fascinating contribution to the critical conversation about the zombie as a fantastic figure.~Journal of the Fantastic in the Arts
Rather than conclude that the zombie genre is static, [Kee] highlights extraordinary examples of the zombies, zombification, and zombie culture that hint at human agency amongst those often deemed brainless pawns or dehumanized bodies...In each chapter, Kee spends several pages establishing context before she focuses on her examples of extraordinary zombies. What results is robust coverage of every possible example.~ImageTexT
I’m impressed by Kee’s scholarship across several fields—film history and gender and critical race studies, especially—and her cultural and historical contextualizing of the current zombie renaissance.~James H. Cox, University of Texas at Austin, author of The Red Land to the South: American Indian Writers and Indigenous Mexico
[An] ambitious study...Not Your Average Zombie is an insightful, clearly written, and well-researched book that both students and experts in the field of zombie studies will enjoy.~Alphaville
- Introduction. From the Zombi to the Zombie: The Extra-Ordinary Undead
- Part I. Zombie Identities
- Chapter 1. From Cannibals to Dead Men Working in the Cane Fields: Haiti, Vodou, and Early Zombie Films
- Chapter 2. Racialized and Raceless: Race after Death and Zombie Revolution
- Chapter 3. "You Can't Hurt Me, You Can't Destroy Me, You Can't Control Me": White Women in Zombie Films
- Chapter 4. A Proud and Powerful Line: Women of Color and Voodoo
- Part II. Playing the Zombie
- Chapter 5. "Be Safe, Have Fun, Eat Brains": Playing the Zombie in Video Games
- Chapter 6. I Walked with a Zombie: Performing the Living Dead
- Conclusion. "I Think I'm Dead."