I had proposed this session in April because, with the Northeast Modern Language Association meeting in Pittsburgh, where George Romero filmed Night of the Living Dead, it seemed appropriate to consider how his work and those of other artists have altered what we know about zombies in art and popular culture. Sadly, since this session was approved, Romero passed away. I hope this session, in some small way, can honor his accomplishments and critically assess his work in the context of other texts centered on the living dead.
While this session welcomes proposals that look at Romero’s zombies or the fascination with zombies in Pittsburgh, it is opened to all recent critical approaches to zombie narrative, from Haitian folklore to iZombie and The Walking Dead–and all in-between.
Please forward the full call for papers below to potentially interested contributors. 300-word abstracts are due online September 30, 2017, at https://www.cfplist.com/nemla/Home/S/16935. If you have any questions, please email me at email@example.com or message me on Twitter.
Artwork credits: George Romero (Day of the Dead; credit: Rex), Solomon Grundy (Faces of Evil: Solomon Grundy #1 March 2009 by Shane Davis), iZombie (CW / Warner Bros / Vertigo), Space Dandy (BONES / Bandai Namco)
This session looks at zombies, including as they were defined by Night of the Living Dead, filmed in NeMLA’s host city Pittsburgh by local director George Romero. How have zombies changed in recent years, in their composition, narrative format, and metaphorical status? What new insights can be garnered looking to earlier conceptions of the zombie, and conceptions from Haiti and around the world? How have zombies served as commentary on medicine, social media, anti-intellectualism, economics, and society?
Please submit 300-word abstracts, along with a short bio and any audio-visual requests, online before September 30, 2017, at https://www.cfplist.com/nemla/Home/S/16935.
The 49th Annual Convention of the Northeast Modern Language Association will meet April 12 to 15, 2018, at Pittsburgh’s historic Omni William Penn.
Pittsburgh this year hosts not only NeMLA but multiple zombie-related activities: Zombie Fest, the amusement park Daring Escapes, the House of the Dead novelty store, and the Guinness World Record for largest zombie walk. As the modern concept of zombies in popular culture was inspired in part by Night of the Living Dead, filmed in Pittsburgh by local director George Romero, this topic can be thematically related to NeMLA’s presence in the city while also addressing multiple themes from a variety of theoretical approaches.
While the zombie genre risks growing torpid (so to speak), it also has cemented itself as an area of study with easily discernible approaches and themes: zombies as representative of biological contagions, as commentary on mental lethargy in the social media age, as symbolic of neoliberal economics, and more.