For the Fall 2012 semester, zombies have infected the campus and even infiltrated the classroom. Dr. James McNelis is teaching two sections of ENG201 Varieties of Literature: Zombies: The Walking Dead. The course is designed to delve into the literature, cinema and culture surrounding the zombie phenomenon that we’re currently experiencing, as well as taking a look at zombies throughout literature and cultures even as far back as the medieval period. When asked for the reasoning behind teaching this class, Dr. McNelis cites the demand for such a class, as well as the growing popularity of zombie-related classes at other colleges and universities, including but not limited to (as the number is ever-growing): Michigan State University, Vanguard University, the University of Baltimore. He also raises the question that many others wonder as well: “Why is everyone so into this?”
While the reasons vary widely, two students provided some insight as to why they’re into it and, as such, excited for the class. Veronica Pitzer quips, “The reason I’m taking the class is due to my own fascination for the undead, and that I love looking into the paranormal lifestyle. I’m also taking it for inspiration for my FX designs and Stage Makeup…I think zombies are such a big hit because they’re so universal…We are so fascinated by the dead, or life after death, and the zombie provides one extreme version of that concept.” She also points out rather enthusiastically that “Zombies are fun!”
Erik Hammar, an international student, on the other hand, offers another unique perspective. “I guess the post-apocalyptic feel intrigues me more than the actual zombies, but a post-apocalyptic world gets more interesting with some kind of enemy, and zombies are pretty awesome ones. I also like how they move and act slowly, which makes them just enough scary…Even my grandma could overcome a zombie if she really had to.” Furthermore, when asked about the popularity of zombies in Sweden he says, “I also think that The Walking Dead and Zombieland helped the genre a lot…They were both huge hits in Sweden too. Personally I actually haven’t seen The Walking Dead, but it’s increased the awareness of zombies with about a 1000% in Sweden, and I think here too.”
To further supplement the course, and to have some seemingly unconventional fun connected with the class, Dr. McNelis has helped the two sections organize a game of Humans vs. Zombies, which is played on campuses across the nation and is generally played with NERF guns, similar to the game that some students participated in last semester.
So, Wilmington College, prepare for the zombie apocalypse for it is already here!