The Walking Med

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The Walking Med: Zombies and the Medical Image

Edited by Lorenzo Servitje and Sherryl Vint, Foreword by Steven C. Schlozman

The zombie craze has infected popular culture with the intensity of a viral outbreak, propagating itself through text, television, film, video games, and many other forms of media. As a metaphor, zombies may represent political notions, such as the return of the repressed violence of colonialism, or the embodiment of a culture obsessed with consumerism. Increasingly, they are understood and depicted as a medicalized phenomenon: creatures transformed by disease into a threatening vector of contagion. 

The Walking Med brings together scholars from across the disciplines of cultural studies, medical education, medical anthropology, and art history to explore what new meanings the zombie might convey in this context. These scholars consider a range of forms—from comics disseminated by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to graphic novels and television shows such as The Walking Dead—to show how interrogations of the zombie metaphor can reveal new perspectives within the medical humanities.

An unprecedented forum for dialogue between cultural studies of zombies and graphic medicine, The Walking Med is an invaluable contribution to both areas of study, as well as a potent commentary on one of popular culture’s most invasive and haunting figures.

In addition to the editors, the contributors are Tully Barnett, Gerry Canavan, Daniel George, Michael Green, Ben Kooyman, Sarah Juliet Lauro, Juliet McMullin, Kari Nixon, Steven Schlozman, Dan Smith, and Darryl Wilkinson.

1. Don’t Point that Gun at My Mum: Geriatric Zombies
Gerry Canavan
2. Viral Virulence, Postmodern Zombies, and the American Healthcare Enterprise in the Antibiotic Age
Kari Nixon
3. “The Cure Has Killed Us All”: Dramatizing Medical Ethics through Zombie and Period Fiction Tropes in The New Deadwardians
Tully Barnet and Ben Kooyman
4. The Walking Med: Zombies, Comics, and Medical Education
Michael Green, Daniel George, and Darryl Wilkinson
5. Zombie Toxins: Abjection and Cancer’s chemicals
Juliet McMullin
6. Administering the Crisis: Zombies and Public Health in the 28 Days Later Comic Series
Sherryl Vint
7. Blurred Lines and Human Objects: The Zombie Art of George Pfau
Sarah Juliet Lauro
8. Open Up a Few Zombie Brains: Objectivity, Medical Visuality, Brain Imaging in The Zombie Autopsies
Lorenzo Servitje
9. The Anorexic as Zombie Witness: Illness and Recovery in Katie Green’s Lighter Than My Shadow
Dan Smith

264 pages. Paperback.

“Interdisciplinary scholarship at its best, situating the necropolitical stakes of zombie media in relation to the undead tropes of clinical discourse, addressing the liminal condition of the body—even life itself—under the regime of contemporary biomedicine. Ghastly smart stuff!”

“This highly innovative and original collection illustrates how contemporary zombie narratives and images help us think of crises and opportunities in medicine and health care systems. As a whole, The Walking Medconvincingly argues that zombies are powerful and necessary symbols of medicine and its politics.”

“Beautifully presented, with numerous illustrations and figures, this collection will make the reader approach the zombie with fresh eyes.”

 

 

Lorenzo Servitje is a Ph.D. candidate in English at the University of California, Riverside, and the coeditor of Endemic: Essays in Contagion Theory.

Sherryl Vint is Professor and Director of the Speculative Fiction and Cultures of Science program at the University of California, Riverside, editor of Science Fiction and Cultural Theory: A Reader, and an editor of the journals Science Fiction Studies andScience Fiction Film and Television.