Night of the Living Theorists

May 4, 2007

For the final group presentations, Brett, Nick and myself chose to take the idea of zombies and the potential of a widespread epidemic, and apply theory to it.  We used the ideas of Baudrillard, Jameson, Derrida, and Althusser.  All of whom I’m sure knew how well their ideas would correlate with zombies at the time they were written.  For our text, we used the film Dawn of the Dead- the newer version.

Brett looked at zombies from the perspective of his favorite theorist to pronounce, Baudrillard.  Brett takes Baudrillard’s idea of the hyper-real, and how the sign has come to mean nothing over the signified.  Brett also writes on how in the film Dawn of the Dead, the main characters seek refuge in their local mall.  This is compared to Baudrillard’s ideas of Disneyland.  To the characters, the mall is their only safe haven while the rest of the world is going to hell.  But is that the correct assumption.  So head on over to Brett’s blog for all that and more, along with some cool pictures.

Nick takes a Marxist view point on the zombie scenario, by using the ideas of Althusser.  Nick likens the zombie to the oppressed lower class that Marxist always speak of.  The ever thought provoking question is asked, Is the zombie a Ideological State Apparatus or a Repressive State Apparatus?  It’s something we’ve all asked at one point or another, well now you have an answer.  Nick also uses Althusser’s metaphor of the building structure and applies that to zombies as well.  So without further ado, here’s Nick’s blog

Finally, there’s my thoughts on zombies.  I used both Derrida and Jameson for my blog.  With Derrida, I focused on his idea of the centre.  In the event of a zombie epidemic, our center would drastically shift.  There has also been a change in the center of zombies themselves (there’s an excellent you tube video to go along with that piece)  As for Jameson, I use his ideas of nostalgia, parody and pastiche.  With nostalgia, the mall comes back into play again.  Why do all those zombies hang around outside that mall in Dawn of the Dead?  Also, I write about the film Shaun of the Dead and how that plays into the notion of parody/pastiche.  I’m sure you’re anxious, so here’s my blog

So by now,  I’m sure you’re all zombied out.  But hopefully you had some, and maybe learned something along the way.  I think what our project goes to show, is that theory can be applied to just about anything if you look hard enough.  We have taken several different looks at the potential of the zombie scenario, and what it would mean to the theoretical world. 


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