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Zombies stagger their way into college curriculums

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Zombies stagger their way into college curriculums

By Phyllis Stark. CREATED Mar 6, 2014

Zombies have already infected television, films and books. Now, they are increasingly being embraced as part of college curriculums as well.

According to The Wall Street Journal, “Just as zombies—those mythical revived corpses hungry for living human flesh and gray matter—have infiltrated pop culture, they have also gotten their hands on our brainiest reserves: the academy.” According to the paper, “Now, zombies thrive on campuses.
“The last five years have seen 20 new scholarly books with ‘zombie’ in the title or topic category, according to Baker & Taylor, a distributor of academic and other books,“ the WSJ reports. “In the 10 prior years, there were 10. JSTOR, an online archive of about 2,000 academic journals, says the journals have run 39 articles invoking the undead since 2005, versus seven in the preceding 10 years.”
Not surprisingly, “some find the trend ominous,” the WSJ reports. “There is a ‘danger’ when scholars probe subjects like zombies, says Mark Bauerlein, an English professor and author of ‘The Dumbest Generation: How the Digital Age Stupefies Young Americans and Jeopardizes Our Future.’
“They end up invariably turning their attention away from the tradition," Bauerlein says, "the classics, the works that have survived the test of time."
“Michael Poliakoff, who directs policy for the American Council of Trustees and Alumni, says the proliferation of undergraduate courses in topics like zombies and vampires is helping ruin American students' brains. Citing various studies, Mr. Poliakoff says many U.S. college graduates still lack proficiency in basic verbal literacy.
"What have we given up in order to dabble in the undead?" he tells the WSJ. "We've given up survival skills."
But “zombie scholars say their subject is worthy of study because the living deads' history and ubiquity in modern literature and culture present metaphors ripe for analysis.”
Phyllis Stark

Phyllis Stark

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Phyllis Stark is the Digital Executive Producer - National Content for Scripps Media.