Zombie studies are achieving positive strides in academia despite divided consensus amongst instructors. Kyle Bishop entered the English doctorate program at the University of Arizona eight years ago. His dissertation proposal was non other than Zombie movies. Mr. Bishop, though enthusiastic, was quite skeptical of the programs reaction and acceptance of his workings. Bishop’s proposal was accepted and his scholarly achievements have landed the position of chairman in the English department of Southern Utah University.
Bishop is part of a movement of scholars that have adopted Zombie history and incorporated it into their curriculum. Zombie correlations can be used in many areas of discipline. Research and teaching techniques of the undead can be applied to fields of study such as economics, religion, and medicine. Many campuses have conceded with the Zombie trend and began incorporating Zombies in their readings. Professor Christopher Moreman collected so many essays on “the Humanity of the Walking Dead” and “Cross-Cultural Appropriations,” he nixed his initial plan of one volume and expanded into two volumes concerning monsters. He then re-worked his philosophy course to include religion and monsters & horror. The restructure caused 55 students to compete for 35 available spots.
Sarah Juliet Lauro, Assistant English professor at Clemson University is currently writing about the mythology of Zombie slavery. The book will entail how Zombies raise up and lead a slave rebellion. It will exemplify the battles of slavery and colonialism as it links to real life history. One student reported after taking Lauro’s class he was able to assimilate Zombie behavior to post traumatic stress syndrome. He explained that as a war veteran, war can turn a child into an agonizing man in human life; and in Zombies one bite can turn a friend into an enemy.
For the copious amounts of professors and students that welcome the Zombie instructions, there are just as many that oppose the source. English professor, Mark Bauerlein, believes that with the continued study of Zombies students lose the essence of tradition. Bauerlein believes classic base elements that have stood the test of time will be lost. The professor’s disgust with new aged approaches is highlighted in the title of his book, The Dumbest Generation: How the Digital Age Stupefies Young Americans and Jeopardizes Our Future. Michael Poliakoff, of the American Council of Trustees and Alumni, shares a similar opinion. Poliakoff believes the infusion of Zombies and vampires into undergraduate studies is ruining the intelligence of American students. The council member firmly states that basic survival skills and proficiency in literacy have been given up in order to “dabble in the undead.”
Parents at Armand Larive Middle School in Hermiston, OR took on a somewhat congruent stature as well. An optional reading class was using components detailing “zombie apocalypse.” These actions were denounced by parents and materials were eliminated by the superintendent, Dr. Fred Maiocco. Dr. Fred Maiocco issued a formal apology to all that felt uncomfortable or offended. Despite conservative opinions, Zombie studies continue to receive a serious contemporary push in academia.
Editorial By Ebony Waller