Call for Papers, Zombie and Pandemic Culture at the Southwest Popular Culture American Culture Conference

Brandon Kempner's picture
Call for Papers
February 22, 2023 to February 25, 2023
New Mexico, United States
Subject Fields: 
Cultural History / Studies, Popular Culture Studies, Film and Film History, American History / Studies

The area chair for Zombie and Pandemic Culture seeks paper or panel proposals on any aspect of the zombie and/or pandemics in popular culture and history. Proposals for papers and panels are now being accepted for the 44th annual SWPACA conference to take place February 22-25, 2023, in Albuquerque, New Mexico! One of the nation’s largest interdisciplinary academic conferences, SWPACA offers nearly 70 subject areas, each typically featuring multiple panels To submit, go to this page and use the conference management system by November 15th:

The zombie has always been pop culture’s premier allegory for infection and disease. 2020’s unprecedented events have put an even greater spotlight on the zombie’s ability to help us understand and process fears and hopes related to pandemics and uncontrollable societal events. Beyond zombies, however, pandemics and popular culture’s treatment of them—both past and emerging—are more critical than ever for processing cultural anxieties.

This area is looking for papers that will analyze any way that popular culture has attempted to process disease, infection, pandemics, zombies, or any combination thereof. How do we view zombies differently in light of the past year’s events? Will zombies remain a core allegory for understanding disease? Does the current pandemic change the way we analyze classic zombie films, books, and televisions shows? How will new zombie texts—and other popular art forms—emerge to tackle coronavirus? The zombie has come to represent the chaotic world we live in, and as our world changes, so too will zombies.

Some topics to consider:

  • New readings of older zombie texts in light of coronavirus.
  • How popular culture is beginning to process the pandemic, whether in film, song, television, video games, etc.
  • Specific zombie films: White Zombie, King of the Zombies, Dawn of the Dead, Tombs of the Blind Dead, Dead Alive, Evil Dead, World War Z, Train to Busan
  • Specific books/zombie literature: The Zombie Survival Guide, Zone One, The Girl with all the Gifts, the Newsflesh trilogy, The Reapers are the Angels, Cell
  • Zombie writers’ fiction and non-fiction: Stephen Graham Jones, H.P. Lovecraft, Robert Kirkman, Steve Niles, Max Brooks, Matt Mogk, Jovanka Vuckovic, Stephen King…
  • Zombie television: The Walking Dead, Fear the Walking Dead, Z Nation, iZombie, The Santa Clarita Diet
  • Zombie video games: Resident Evil, Call of Duty: Zombies, The Last of Us, Day Z, Dead Rising
  • Zombie comics (any aspect: history, cultural impact, storytelling, Marvel zombies…)
  • Teaching the zombie or pandemics
  • The voodoo zombie and the historical roots of the zombie
  • What does the rise in the zombie’s popularity tell us about society?

To submit, go to this page and use the conference management system by November 15th:



Contact Info: 

Brandon Kempner

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