The Plantation to the Apocalypse: Zombies and the Non/Human in The Walking Dead and A Questionable Shape
This chapter continues to think about the legacies of the plantation in contemporary texts by focusing on two zombie narratives: AMC’s television series The Walking Dead (2010–) and Bennett Sims’ novel A Questionable Shape (2013). Beginning with a consideration of the post-apocalyptic genre in the southern imaginary, the chapter then reviews the zombie’s ubiquity in contemporary culture and theory. Tracking the zombie’s transnational history requires an understanding of its roots in slavery, the Middle Passage, and thus in questions of life and death. Thinking about these ideas briefly in relation to The Walking Dead, the chapter turns to Sims’ novel for the way it engages questions of the human and memories of southern disaster. The novel’s focus on the zombie as an emblem of memory will be discussed in relation to biopolitics, racializing assemblages, and the turn to the posthuman.
KeywordsZombies Bennett Sims The Walking Dead Posthuman Hurricane Katrina A Questionable Shape
- Agamben, Giorgio. 1998. Homo Sacer: Sovereign Power and Bare Life. Trans. Daniel Heller-Roazen. Stanford: Stanford University Press.Google Scholar
- Anderson, Eric Gary, Taylor Hagood, and Daniel Cross Turner. 2015. Introduction. In Undead Souths: The Gothic and Beyond in Southern Literature and Culture, ed. Eric Gary Anderson, Taylor Hagood, and Daniel Cross Turner, 1–9. Baton Rouge: Louisiana State University Press.Google Scholar
- Apel, Dora. 2004. Imagery of Lynching: Black Men, White Women, and the Mob. New Brunswick/London: Rutgers University Press.Google Scholar
- Bennett, Jill. 2012. Practical Aesthetics: Events, Affects and Art after 9/11. London/New York: I.B. Tauris.Google Scholar
- Chen, Mel Y. 2015. Lurching for the Cure? On Zombies and the Reproduction of Disability. GLQ: A Journal of Lesbian and Gay Studies 21 (1): 24–31.Google Scholar
- Dischinger, Matthew. 2017. The Walking Dead’s Postsouthern Crypts. In Small-Screen Souths: Region, Identity and the Cultural Politics of Television, ed. Lisa Hinrichsen, Gina Caison, and Stephanie Rountree, 259–276. Baton Rouge: Louisiana State University Press.Google Scholar
- Erll, Astrid. 2011. Memory in Culture. Trans. Sara B. Young. Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan.Google Scholar
- Goddu, Teresa A. 1997. Gothic America: Narrative, History, and Nation. New York: Columbia University Press.Google Scholar
- Harriot, Michael. 2017. The Black Person’s Guide to The Walking Dead. The Root, October 22. https://www.theroot.com/a-black-persons-guide-to-the-walking-dead-1819751001. Accessed 1 June 2018.
- Hoefer, Anthony Dyer. 2012. Apocalypse South: Judgement, Cataclysm, and Resistance in the Regional Imaginary. Columbus: Ohio State University Press.Google Scholar
- Luckhurst, Roger. 2015. Zombies: A Cultural History. London: Reaktion Books.Google Scholar
- Sims, Bennett. 2014. A Questionable Shape. London: Oneworld Publications.Google Scholar
- The Walking Dead. Created by Frank Darabont. 2010. Entertainment One, 2012.Google Scholar