“What the Hell is Going On?”: Essays on Faith & Theology in the Zombie Apocalypse

Ashley Szanter's picture
Call for Publications
June 30, 2019
Subject Fields: 
Cultural History / Studies, Film and Film History, Popular Culture Studies, Religious Studies and Theology, Psychology


Ashley Szanter & Simon Bacon

Project Overview

Editors Szanter and Bacon seek original essays for an edited collection on the place of theology and belief in the context of the zombie apocalypse. This collection will address the function of faith and belief more broadly within existing and forthcoming zombie media. The evolving zombie studies space addresses many facets of human behavior and action in the post-apocalyptic landscape, but few address the presence of belief—ranging from how organized religion survives (or evolves) amidst zombies, how survivors cope with lingering spirituality or a desire to believe, or even how zombies themselves might express “faith” or “belief” in a post-human environment (In the Flesh [Mitchell, 2013-14], The Girl with All the Gifts [Carey, 2014/ McCarthy, 2016], Pride, Prejudice, and Zombies [Graeme-Smith, 2009/ Steers, 2016]). We welcome proposals on zombie narratives in any medium including but not restricted to: film, novels, television series, comics, gaming, music, theatre, art, and any not mentioned herein.

Chapters in the proposed collection can focus on one or more of the following categories:

  • Explorations of why the theology gets included in zombie media? In the context of the (post) apocalypse, why include considerations of faith or spirituality?

  • Analyze how particular shows incorporate or discuss “isms” within a religious context. We welcome chapters tackling how specific zombie media grapples with Faith and Feminism, Marxism, Queer studies, and Masculinity studies, among others.

  • Does faith impact how family/clans are formed and maintained in the zombie world? (The Walking Dead [AMC, 2010-Present])

  • How does faith or the facade of religion change how characters interact with or behave around one another. Do spiritual concepts still hold weight after the end of the world?

  • In what ways do characters who present religious backgrounds (extreme faithfulness, clergy, etc) or identities cope with the end of the world? Does their belief increase or decrease with the end of days?

  • What is the function or place of religious structures in the zombie apocalypse? Do churches/synagogues/mosques/temples ever provide sanctuary for survivors? What happens to the physical reflections of organized religions on earth when the zombies arrive?

  • What of the absence of religion in a zombie text? Because religion or spirituality seems so integral to the human experience, what does it say about a piece of media or text when it omits completely the idea of faith?

  • What’s the significance of zombie/zombie-esque narratives that take place in overtly religious locations (JeruZalem [Yoav & Doron Paz, 2016])

  • Examinations of the place/function of faith in the zombie genre. Are expressions of belief becoming more or less common? Is its role or presence evolving within the genre?

  • Zombies, or Revenants, are often represented as having a leader (Land of the Dead [Romero, 2005]), but this often takes on a spiritual dimension (Handling the Undead, Lindqvist, 2009/ Les Revenants [Adda, 2012-15]) can this be seen as evolving forms of belief, or remembrance of things past?

  • What are the ramifications of a zombie-god in a post-human world?


Abstract Due Dates

Preference will be given to abstracts received before June 30th, 2019. Abstracts should be no longer than 350 words and be accompanied by a current CV.

Final manuscripts of 4,500-6,000 words should be submitted in MLA 8th style by January 10th, 2020.

Contact us and send abstracts to Ashley and Simon at theologyofzombies@gmail.com


Contact Info: 

Contact us and send abstracts to Ashley and Simon at theologyofzombies@gmail.com.