Let’s start with zombies

Should zombies take over the world, popular culture will have given us some preparation. Watching movies and TV series on the topic, you might have learned a trick or two about hiding from, killing, escaping and controlling zombies mobs. Many books, like the Zombie Survival Guide or the Zombie Combat Manual have been released to provide you with more detailed information. Zombie survival kits, Zombie crime scene tape and emergency response operations packets are also available for your convenience.

If you need even simpler information, there are many infographics out there to help you plan for impending zombie induced doom. Kudos to GeekSyndicate who referenced this image on their site.

Westlake Hardware has created Zombie preparedness center on its website where both humans and zombies can get helpful information about zombie proofing a home or delaying body decay. It’s pretty funny to read, and certainly an inventive way for a hardware store to use the zombie trend as publicity.

Photo from KVAL.com

They weren’t the only one who had that idea, though. The American Red Cross created this website to engage young audiences and make sure they also feel concerned about preparing for natural disasters.

What science has to say about zombies

Academics have given this zombie thing some thought. Canadian mathematicians developed a model to calculate our chances of survival after a zombie virus outbreak. Give it a read, it’s hilarious. Or check out Wired Magazine‘s short article on the topic. You might think it’s a waste of time to work on such mathematical models, but Robert Smith?’s (yes, he adds a ? after his name) argument is convincing. He co-authored Braaaiiinnnsss!, a multi-disciplinary book about zombies.

He and other experts have good advice to give if you live in the Ottawa-Gatineau (Canada) area, as my family does. Libraries: I’ll keep that in mind. You can find more articles and interviews on Robert Smith?’s page.

Academics also study the zombie trend and zombie related contents for other reasons that to prepare for an eventual apocalypse. In “Fast Zombie/Slow Zombie: Food Writing, Horror Movies, and Agribusiness Apocalypse“, an article he published in American Literary History, Micheal Newbury studies the discourse about food in 28 Days Later and through it explores our relation to food and the food industry.

In addition, anthropologists, ethnographers and other academics have documented lore and ideas about zombies from around the world, showing the many facets of these creatures through time and space. Isak Niehaus studied discourse about witches and zombies in South African Lowveld. Turell Wylie wrote about what he called the Tibetan Zombie.

But could zombies be real?

You might wonder if it is at all possible for zombies to take over the world. The ASAP Science team has created a short and interesting video that you might enjoy.

Various scientists suggest that it could be possible for viruses, such as rabies and the flu, to mutate or combine to create a zombie epidemic. National Geographic reported on this in The Thruth Behind Zombies. The Zombie Research Society page has Zombie Science section you might also find interesting.

The following documentary explores various mythic creatures similar to zombies and focuses on what they reveal about our fears. Practices of cannibalism and burial are detailed (do not watch during dinner). Interviewees briefly look at the scientific facts that could validate or debunk the notion of the living dead and, looking at past events such as the Bubonic plague, extrapolate what would happen in the case of a zombie apocalypse. Although it is overly dramatic, graphic and frankly a little simplistic, it offers interesting perspectives on history, popular fears and ideas about zombies.

Whether zombies could exist or not, hackers want to keep you on your toes. Who knows: maybe all this mental preparation will one day pay off.

Complete references to articles and books mentioned in this post can be found in the Litterature/Ethnography section.

About Marie-Pierre Renaud

I am an anthropologist living in Quebec city, Canada. I specialize in native studies and anthropology of health. I am a geek. I founded and now co-manage The Geek Anthropologist blog. I am working on transforming my memoir into a book and journal articles. I like to knit while watching Star Trek. Reach out to me for collaborations! https://mariepierrerenaud.co/

There are 7 comments

    1. thegeekanthropologist

      Lol! I hope you aren’t being sarcastic! You’re right, it’s not necessarily the topic of the hour, since people say the Mayans predicted a planetary collision, or the explosion of the sun, or a global earthquake. But zombies are a common apocalyptic scenario. I felt I had to address it during Apocalypse week! Thanks for liking, I love seeing that amazing logo of yours on my blog!


      1. A4man

        ha, I wasn’t being sarcastic. I just did not expect it. It was a good read too, read it on my journey home and it give me a chuckle when I saw the subject matter. Refreshing change from all this Christmas talk. I was just about to change my Avatar, guess I wont now. Cheers! haha. Keep up the good work with your blog.


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