Tuesday, 19 October 2010


My FYP is an American Studies FYP for several reasons;
Primarily whilst the Zombie is a result of Haitian Vodoun ritual, it is America that has manipulated its image and turned it into a globally known icon through the mediums of film, television, literature, and computer games. Thanks to America the 'Zombie' has become a household term describing lazy teenagers, cocktails, and even failing businesses, although these factors are only a fraction of what makes the Zombie and American FYP topic.

It can be argued that the primary interpretation of the American Zombie by scholars and academics is that of a metaphor for consumerism as Zombies are portrayed to be driven solely by the desire to consume (the living) and many texts place them in urban settings, in malls or shopping complexes. This is a arguably a very narrow minded interpretation as the majority of Zombie texts are Apocalyptic and therefore portray an environment where comodification is difficult, also apart from the underground slave trade and prostitution, it is possible to question the validity of the theory of people as consumer products.

It is much easier and arguably more accurate to read Zombie texts as metaphors for the manifestation of Puritan American fears of the 'Other'. When studying the American Gothic, it can be argued that it is well documented that Americans fear outsiders, that which they do not understand for example science, and those who are not Christian, all three of which can be found within the majority of Zombie texts.
It is also notable that many Zombie texts can be seen to portray representations of the corruption and loss of self, fears that were also very resonant during the height of the cold war.

For these reasons my FYP will ask the question is Consumerism the most appropriate metaphor of the American Zombie, or is it more accurate to assign the Zombie as a manifestation of Puritan American fears of the 'Other', science, the government, non-Christians, corruption and loss of the self, and the death of America and the American Dream? It is the relevance of the American Gothic, Consumerism and Globalisation, Black Atlantic, American film, and Cultural studies modules, to this FYP, that support the argument that my FYP is an American Studies FYP.

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