CFP – Zombies in the Academy book anthology

Posted: September 14, 2010 in CFP

Call for papers: book chapters for the interdisciplinary anthology “Zombies in the Academy: living death in higher education”

Editors: Andrew Whelan, Chris Moore and Ruth Walker

This book takes up the momentum provided by the recent resurgence of interest in zombie culture to explore the relevance of the zombie trope to discussions of scholarly practice itself. The zombie is an extraordinarily rich and evocative popular cultural form, and zombidity, zombification and necromancy can function as compelling elements in a conceptual repertoire for both explaining and critically ‘enlivening’ the debates around a broad variety of cultural and institutional phenomena evident in the contemporary university. We propose to canvas a range of critical accounts of the contemporary university as a living dead culture. We are therefore seeking interdisciplinary proposals for papers that investigate the political, cultural, organisational, and pedagogical state of the university, through applying the metaphor of zombiedom to both the form and content of professional academic work.

We invite submissions from a range of scholars – notably in cultural and communication studies, but also popular culture, anthropology, sociology, film, game and literary studies, political science, philosophy and education – who would be prepared to submit chapters that examine the zombie trope and its relation to higher education from a variety of perspectives.

The editors of “Zombies in the Academy” have an agreement for publication with Intellect Press UK for 2012. The anthology will be structured in three sections around the broad general topics of:

1. corporatisation, bureaucratisation, and zombification of higher education;
2. technology, digital media and moribund content distribution infecting the university;
3. zombie literacies and living dead pedagogies.

Paper proposals that would fit into these sections would include essays that might:
• investigate the current conditions of the academy under pressure from the ‘zombie processes’ variously described as ‘audit culture’ or the ‘McDonaldisation’ of higher education;
• explore the uncanny value of the figure of the zombie as a component in critical pedagogical accounts (zombie concepts, undead labour in Marxist theory etc.), including in such accounts as they are applied to the university itself;
• analyse the theme of zombies and the academic gaze through the narratives and mechanics of particular films, games, texts or graphic novels;
• name the attenuated conditions of work in the sector with reference to its various forms of ‘zombidity’;
• evaluate the perceived decomposition of academic standards;
• discuss the zombie contagion model as an explanatory device for the circulation of content across multiple media platforms, including into and out of the classroom;
• explore pedagogical activities that use or reflect zombie content;
• critically investigate the rise of ‘zombie literacies’ – as an epidemic circulated by an unthinking student horde, and/or the undead ivory tower itself;
• address the corpselike inertia and atavism of academic distinction and social closure (journal rankings, peer review, tenure etc.) in the face of the apparently ‘lifelike’ models of research production beyond the walls of the academy;
• reassess the metaphor of zombiedom, considering how it can be construed not only as a negative critique, but also as a possibly desirable, advantageous or alternative adaptive strategy in academic contexts.
Abstracts for proposed book chapters should be 1000 words. Authors are asked to include brief biographical details along with their proposals, including name, academic affiliation and previous publications.

Deadline for submissions is 15th December 2010. Please select the most appropriate book section theme for your paper, and submit proposals as an emailed .doc attachment to the following editors:

For papers on the corporatisation and zombification of higher education:
– Andrew Whelan, PhD. Department of Sociology, Sciences, Media and Communication, University of Wollongong. Email:
For papers on technology, digital media and contagion:
– Chris Moore, PhD. Centre for Memory, Imagination & Invention, Faculty of Arts and Education, Deakin University. Email:
For papers on zombie literacies and pedagogies:
– Ruth Walker, PhD. Learning Development, University of Wollongong. Email:

Anticipated timeline:
– proposals due December 15th 2010 (1000 words)
– contributors notified January 15th 2011
– chapters due July 1st 2011 (6,000 – 9,000 words)
– edited full manuscript to publishers December 2011
– book publication 2012


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