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Tracking the Zombie Diaspora: From Subhuman Haiti to Posthuman Tuscon

Cussans, John (2004) Tracking the Zombie Diaspora: From Subhuman Haiti to Posthuman Tuscon. In: Monsters and the Monstrous: Myths and Metaphors of Enduring Evil, Budapest.

Type of Research: Conference, Symposium or Workshop Item
Creators: Cussans, John

In this context the zombie is a particularly resilient and chimerical figure in the history of popular monsters. An exemplary boundary figure originating in the folklore of Colonial Haitian culture, the legendary zombie is a human being whose soul has been stolen after death by a sorcerer who has then brought them back to life. From the early Hollywood representations of zombies as soul-less somnambulists governed by the will of an evil magician, through the plagues of insatiable, cannibal zombies of the 1970's, to the contemporary zombies that populate the debates of cognitive science, the zombie figure has exercised a peculiar hold on the Western popular and scientific imagination for two hundred years. At stake in each variety of zombie is a complex of issues involving the cultural demonization of the African cultural diaspora in the Americas, debates about the nature of human consciousness, the existence of the soul, the distinction between the living and the dead and fears about the exercise of behavioral influence at a distance.

This paper tracks the ‘migration’ of the zombie as it passes from one cultural and discursive context to the next, tracing the behavioral and functional mutations which accompany its passage.

Official Website: http://www.inter-disciplinary.net/publishing/id-press/ebooks/monsters-and-the-monstrous-2nd-edition/
Additional Information (Publicly available):

John Cussans' Current Research

My current research explores the historical relation between psychological models of mind - especially those concerned with memory, consciousness and perception - and the evolution of media technologies. This interest coincides with survivals and revivals of the philosophical debate between Spiritualism and Materialism. This interest is contextualised within a broadly psycho-political framework and asks how the discourses of psychology function within the broader social field. I am interested in how particular aspects of the 'wayward' imagination and 'mystical' belief systems have been pathologised by normative psychology. My research also involves the staging of multi-media performance events - modelled on parapsychological scenarios - which explore multi-authoring processes and issues of historicity and authenticity in contemporary art practice.

Your affiliations with UAL: Colleges > Chelsea College of Arts
Date: 1 November 2004
Related Websites: http://www.haitisupport.gn.apc.org/res_culture_index.html
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Event Location: Budapest
Date Deposited: 07 Dec 2009 13:39
Last Modified: 18 Aug 2010 15:55
Item ID: 772
URI: https://ualresearchonline.arts.ac.uk/id/eprint/772

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