FT 011-M Rebel without a Pulse: Life Lessons from the Undead
Lon Porter, Department of Chemistry
The undead have once again shambled into a prominent place in popular culture and contemporary fiction. This course will focus on the origins and evolution of the undead in folklore, literature, popular art, games, and film. Students will explore a number of readings and films that portray the undead in a variety of ways. We will uncover how undead fiction addresses the mystique, power, and fear associated with the supernatural, science, authority, disease, morality, sex, and violence. Critical discussion of these fictional works will reveal a great deal about ourselves and the hopes and fears of society. The course will challenge students to dig deep and use their Braaaaainss as they tackle engaging stories about zombies, vampires, ghouls, etc.
Students will explore several examples of the undead in short stories, novels, films, and games in order to identify defining characteristics, while revealing and deconstructing the social commentary and themes central to each work. Course assignments and activities are aimed to help students develop critical reading, writing, discussion, and oral presentation skills that are essential to success at Wabash College. For example, students will form small peer reading and writing groups. In addition, the class will host an undead film festival in October, where small student groups introduce each film and moderate an audience discussion at its conclusion. As a final assignment, students will work to craft original short stories that will be compiled into a publication to share with classmates. Other activities may include a field trip to Hanna Haunted Acres, located in Indianapolis, and a local Halloween haunted house community service project.
Examples of undead fiction we will explore include, but are not limited to: (Readings) Richard Matheson’s, I am Legend, Max Brooks’, World War Z: An Oral History of the Zombie War, Bram Stoker’s, Dracula, and various short stories; (Films/TV) Daybreakers (2010), 30 Days of Night (2008), Shaun of the Dead (2004), 28 Days Later (2003), and episodes of The Walking Dead (2010-2011) and True Blood (2009-2011); (Games) the Dead Rising series, Left for Dead series, and Last Night on Earth.w