CFP: Jewish Zombies

Jewish Studies Program
Penn State University
October 27-28, 2020
Stichtag: 20.02.2020

The Jewish Studies Program at Penn State University presents an interdisciplinary academic workshop to examine zombies in the context of Jewish history and culture.

Throughout history, Jews have often been depicted as monstrous figures, such as demons and vampires, and Jews themselves have imagined Golems, werewolves, and other fantastic creatures to address predicaments and even answer questions of Jewish thought and experience. Yet zombies, the most persistent monsters of our time, have so far mostly eluded a critical examination from scholars engaging in Jewish Studies. This workshop will explore Jewish characters, images, and perspectives in zombie films, literature, comics, etc. from the early prehistory of the genre to the present; or, conversely, use the zombie or conceptions of the undead or living dead as a category of analysis to address problems of and questions about Jewishness in modern and premodern Jewish writing and thought.

We invite participants to examine the political and cultural linkages between zombie narratives and Jewish histories through various notions of loss and reanimation. Zombie tales present situations in which individuals lose their cognitive abilities and personal memories in the face of a social breakdown, when norms, values, and laws, the very safeguards of human existence, disappear; but they also address possibilities of restoration, revenge, and continuity. We will discuss the zombie in relation to other monstrous representations of Jewish identity, to think on the relationships between dehumanization practices and posthumanism narratives, and explore diverse moments when zombies, both in the past and the present, sink their teeth, metaphorically and not, into Jewish figures, history, and imagination.

Paper proposals should include a title, an abstract (300 words), institutional affiliation, and contact information. Please submit proposals to Kobi Kabalek ( by February 20, 2020.

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