Not Your Average Zombie

9781477313176: Hardback
Release Date: 5th September 2017

9781477313305: Paperback
Release Date: 5th September 2017

Dimensions: 152 x 229

Number of Pages: 236

University of Texas Press

Not Your Average Zombie

Rehumanizing the Undead from Voodoo to Zombie Walks

Hardback / £70.00
Paperback / £21.99

The zombie apocalypse hasn't happened—yet—but zombies are all over popular culture. From movies and TV shows to video games and zombie walks, the undead stalk through our collective fantasies. What is it about zombies that exerts such a powerful fascination? In Not Your Average Zombie, Chera Kee offers an innovative answer by looking at zombies that don't conform to the stereotypes of mindless slaves or flesh-eating cannibals. Zombies who think, who speak, and who feel love can be sympathetic and even politically powerful, she asserts.

Kee analyzes zombies in popular culture from 1930s depictions of zombies in voodoo rituals to contemporary film and television, comic books, video games, and fan practices such as zombie walks. She discusses how the zombie has embodied our fears of losing the self through slavery and cannibalism and shows how "extra-ordinary" zombies defy that loss of free will by refusing to be dehumanized. By challenging their masters, falling in love, and leading rebellions, "extra-ordinary" zombies become figures of liberation and resistance. Kee also thoroughly investigates how representations of racial and gendered identities in zombie texts offer opportunities for living people to gain agency over their lives. Not Your Average Zombie thus deepens and broadens our understanding of how media producers and consumers take up and use these undead figures to make political interventions in the world of the living.

  • Acknowledgments
  • Introduction. From the Zombi to the Zombie: The Extra-Ordinary Undead
  • Part I. Zombie Identities
    • Chapter 1. From Cannibals to Dead Men Working in the Cane Fields: Haiti, Vodou, and Early Zombie Films
    • Chapter 2. Racialized and Raceless: Race after Death and Zombie Revolution
    • Chapter 3. "You Can't Hurt Me, You Can't Destroy Me, You Can't Control Me": White Women in Zombie Films
    • Chapter 4. A Proud and Powerful Line: Women of Color and Voodoo
  • Part II. Playing the Zombie
    • Chapter 5. "Be Safe, Have Fun, Eat Brains": Playing the Zombie in Video Games
    • Chapter 6. I Walked with a Zombie: Performing the Living Dead
  • Conclusion. "I Think I'm Dead."
  • Notes
  • Bibliography
  • Index

Chera Kee is an associate professor of film and media studies in the Department of English at Wayne State University. Her essays on zombies have been published in the Journal of Popular Film and Television and the edited volume Better Off Dead: The Evolution of the Zombie as Post-Human.

"I’m impressed by Kee’s scholarship across several fields—film history and gender and critical race studies, especially—and her cultural and historical contextualizing of the current zombie renaissance."

James H. Cox, University of Texas at Austin, author of The Red Land to the South: American Indian Writers and Indigenous Mexico


"Kee provides a compelling synthesis of theory and criticism...useful for horror scholars interested in how portrayals of zombie intersect with race and gender."

Popular Culture Studies Journal

"Kee's Not Your Average Zombie is an important book…Put simply: if it's the one book you read about or cite on zombie, you've made an excellent choice."

American Quarterly