“We’re All Infected”

Essays on AMC’s The Walking Dead and the Fate of the Human


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About the Book

This edited collection brings together an introduction and 13 original scholarly essays on AMC’s The Walking Dead. The essays in the first section address the pervasive bloodletting of the series: What are the consequences of the series’ unremitting violence? Essays explore violence committed in self-defense, racist violence, mass lawlessness, the violence of law enforcement, the violence of mourning, and the violence of history.
The essays in the second section explore an equally urgent question: What does it mean to be human? Several argue that notions of the human must acknowledge the centrality of the body—the fact that we share a “blind corporeality” with the zombie. Others address how the human is closely aligned with language and time, the disappearance of which are represented by the aphasic, timeless zombie.
Underlying each essay are the game-changing words of The Walking Dead’s protagonist Rick Grimes to the other survivors: “We’re all infected.” The violence of the zombie is also our violence; their blind drives are also ours. The human characters of The Walking Dead may try to define themselves against the zombies but in the end their bodies harbor the zombie virus: they are the walking dead.
Instructors considering this book for use in a course may request an examination copy here.

About the Author(s)

Dawn Keetley is an associate professor of English at Lehigh University in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania.

Bibliographic Details

Edited by Dawn Keetley
Format: softcover (6 x 9)
Pages: 256
Bibliographic Info: notes, bibliography, index
Copyright Date: 2014
pISBN: 978-0-7864-7628-2
eISBN: 978-1-4766-1452-6
Imprint: McFarland
Series: Contributions to Zombie Studies

Table of Contents

Preface  1

Introduction: “We’re All Infected” (Dawn Keetley)  3

Part I: Society’s End

The Zombie Apocalypse Is Upon Us! Homeland Insecurity (Philip L. Simpson)  28

Burying the Living with the Dead: Security, Survival and the Sanction of Violence (Steven Pokornowski)  41

Walking Tall or Walking Dead? The American Cowboy in the Zombie Apocalypse (P. Ivan Young)  56

Asserting Law and Order Over the Mindless (Angus Nurse)  68

Rest in Pieces: Violence in Mourning the (Un)Dead (Laura Kremmel)  80

Roadside “Vigil” for the Dead: Cannibalism, Fossil Fuels and the American Dream (Christine Heckman)  95

Mass Shock Therapy for Atlanta’s Psych(ot)ic Suburban Legacy (Paul Boshears)  110

Part II: Posthumanity

Apocalyptic Utopia: The Zombie and the (r)Evolution of Subjectivity (Chris Boehm)  126

Nothing But the Meat: Posthuman Bodies and the Dying Undead (Xavier Aldana Reyes)  142

Human Choice and Zombie Consciousness (Dawn Keetley)  156

“Talking Bodies” in a Zombie Apocalypse: From the Discursive to the Shitty Sublime (Gary Farnell)  173

Zombie Time: Temporality and Living Death (Gwyneth Peaty)  186

Afterword: Bye-Gone Days: Reflections on Romero, Kirkman and What We Become (Dave Beisecker)  201

Bibliography  215

List of Episodes  227

About the Contributors  229

Index  233

Book Reviews & Awards

• “There’s a lot to sink your teeth into here”—Library Journal

• “Exhibits a clear sense of structural coherence and critical timeliness. This collection…indicates an expansive awareness of both the developmental history of the zombie, as well as the posthuman trajectory of future zombie narratives”—The Gothic Imagination

• “A well organized book…shows that outstanding theoretical work can be done and published. The collection is well worth a look for anyone interested in zombie studies and a must have for anyone teaching AMC’s hit series”—Journal of the Fantastic in the Arts