Fears of Disaster and (Post-)Human Raciologies in European Popular Culture (2001-2013)


  • Gaia Giuliani CES, University of Coimbra, Portugal




Apocalypse, visual products, discourse analysis, postcolonial and cultural studies, critical whiteness studies


This article aims at mapping the impact of ‘fears of disasters and crisis’ on European self-representations in terms of racial stereotypes, ‘white fantasies’, gender hierarchies, and heteronormativities. Its methodology is a critical discourse analysis of texts – specifically television series such as the BBC’s Dead Set (2009) and the first season of BBC US and UK, In the Flesh, (2013) and movies such as 28 Days Later (2002), L’Horde (2009), and World War Z (2013) – read through the lens of postcolonial theories, critical race and whiteness studies, the concepts of political philosophy and the theoretical insights of post-human feminism. This composite theoretical framework permits a grasp of gendered, racialised and classed fantasies behind the narratives of catastrophe and the visions of the post-apocalyptic world(s) the catastrophe is supposed to bring to life; it also allows an analysis of the meaning and articulations of catastrophe and post-world spatial constructions, and the latter’s relation to actual and imagined social hierarchies (gender, colour and class of the survivors). These are examined in order to understand whose eyes we are expected to imagine and experience the crisis/catastrophe through; the geographies of catastrophe and of post-world(s) (where in the world, and why); the relation between the undead and the living; life amongst the living before the undead threat; and the way protagonists look at the laws, rule, governmentalities, and use of violence in the past, present and future societies. These are a few of the themes that this article discusses in an attempt to uncover what fantasies of the present are hidden behind present memories of the future.


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How to Cite

Giuliani, G. (2015) “Fears of Disaster and (Post-)Human Raciologies in European Popular Culture (2001-2013)”, Culture Unbound, 7(3), pp. 363–385. doi: 10.3384/cu.2000.1525.1572363.



Theme: Cultures of Disasters