Fears of Disaster and (Post-)Human Raciologies in European Popular Culture (2001-2013)
Keywords: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.
Agamben, Giorgio (2003): Stato di Eccezione. Homo sacer II, 1, Torino: Bollati Boringhieri.
Alaimo, Stacey & Hekman, Susan (eds) (2008): Material Feminisms, Indianapolis: Indiana Univer-sity Press.
Asad, Talal (2007): On Suicide Bombing, New York: Columbia University Press.
Ashcroft, Bill (2008): Caliban’s Voice: The Transformation of English in Post-Colonial Literatures, London: Routlegde.
Avramescu, Catalina (2003): An Intellectual History of Cannibalism, trad. eng. Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2011.
Banivanua-Mar, Tracey (2005): ‘Consolidating Violence and Colonial Rule. Discipline and Protec-tion in Colonial Queensland’, Postcolonial Studies, 8:3, 303-319. DOI: 10.1080/13688790500231053
Banivanua-Mar, Tracey (2007): Violence and Colonial Dialogue: The Australian-Pacific Inden-tured Labour Trade, Honolulu: University of Hawaii Press.
Barad, Karen (2007): Meeting the Universe Halfway: Quantum Physics and the Entanglement of Matter and Meaning, Durham: Duke University Press. DOI: 10.1215/9780822388128
Barker, Francis, Peter Hulme & Margareth Iversen (eds.) (1998): Cannibalism and the Colonial World, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
Biber, Katherine (2005): ‘Canibalism and Colonialism’, Sydney Law Review, 27:4, 623-637.
Bishop, Kyle W. (2010): American Zombie Gothic, Jefferson: McFarland & Co.
Berglund, Jeff (2006): Cannibal Fictions: American Explorations of Colonialism, Race, Gender and Sexuality, Madison & London: Univeristy of Wisconsin Press.
Braidotti, Rosi (2013): Post-humanism, Cambridge: Polity.
C.Bartolovich (1998), Consumerism, or the cultural logic of late cannibalism, Francis Barker et al.(eds.) (1998): Cannibalism and the Colonial World, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 204-237.
Broderick, Mick (1993): ‘Surviving Armageddon: Beyond the Imagination of Disaster’, Science Fiction Studies, 61: 20 (3).
Browning, John & Caroline J.K. Picart (2009): Draculas, Vampires, and Other Undead Forms. Es-says on Gender, Race, and Culture, Lanham-Toronto-New York-Plymouth: The Scarecrow Press.
Canetti, Elias (1981): Crowds and Power, New York: Continuum.
Chakrabarty, Dipesh (2000): Provincialising Europe, Princeton: Princeton University Press.
Christie, Deborah, Lauro Sara J. (eds) (2011): Better off Dead: The Evolution of the Zombie as Post-human, New York, Fordham University Press. DOI: 10.5422/fordham/9780823234462.001.0001
Conrad, Joseph (1902): Heart of Darkness, Edinburgh and London.
Derrida, Jacques (1967): Writing and Difference, Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1978.
Esposito, Roberto (2004): Bios, Torino: Einaudi.
Fanon, Frantz (1952): Balck Skins, White Masks, trad. Eng. New York: Grove Press, 2008.
Foucault, Michel (1975-1976): Society Must Be Defended: Lectures at the Collège de France, New York: St. Martin's Press.
Foucault, Michel (1976): The Will to Knowledge, The History of Sexuality Volume 1: An Introduc-tion. London: Allen Lane, 1979.
Fredrickson, George Mattew (1971): The Black Image in the White Mind, New York: Harper & Row.
Giuliani, Gaia (2016): L’immaginario del terrore. Le paure dall’11 settembre a oggi, Milano-Fi-renze: Le Monnier/Mondadori Education.
Grebowicz, Margret (ed) (2007): SciFi in the Mind’s Eye. Reading Sciences through Science Fic-tion, Chicago: Open Court.
Haraway, Donna (1991): ‘A Cyborg Manifesto: Science, Technology, and Socialist-Feminism in the Late Twentieth Century’, Simians, Cyborgs and Women: The Reinvention of Nature, New York: Routledge, and London: Free Association Books.
Haraway, Donna (2003): The Companion Species Manifesto: Dogs, People and Significant Other-ness (Paradigm), Chicago: University of Chicago Press.
Haraway, Donna (2007): When Species Meet (Posthumanities), Minneapolis: University of Minne-sota Press.
Keller, Evelyn Fox (1992): Inventing Women: Science, Technology and Gender, Cambridge: Polity Press.
Kirkup, Gill, et al. (eds) (2000), The Gendered Cyborg: A Reader, London and New York: Routledge.
Lillemose, Jacob (2013): They Keep Comin’ and Comin’, unpublished paper at the International conference Cultures of Disaster, held at the University of Oslo in November.
Lindqvist, Sven (1991): Exterminate All The Brutes, New York: The New Press, 1997.
Luckhurst, Roger J. (2012): The Mummy's Curse: The True History of a Dark Fantasy, Oxford: Oxford University Press.
Locke, John (1962): Second Treatise on Government, Id.: Two treatises of civil government, London: Dent and New York: Duttond & Co.
Negri, Antonio & Michael Hardt (2001): Empire, Cambridge: Harvard University Press.
J.Phillips, Cannibalism qua Capitalism: the metaphorics of accumulation in Marx, Conrad, Shake-speare and Marlowe, Francis Barker et al. (eds.) (1998): Cannibalism and the Colonial World,Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 183-203.
Rhodes, Gary Don (2006): White Zombie. Anathomy of a Horror Film, Jefferson: McFarland & Company.
Said, Edward (1978): Orientalism, New York: Vintage Book.
Said, Edward (1993): Culture and Imperialism, New York: Vintage.
Seed, David (2000): Imagining Apocalypse. Studies in Cultural Crisis, London: Macmillan.
Schmigall, Gary (1981): Shakespeare and the Courtly Aesthetic, Berkeley: University of California Press.
Shakespeare, William (1610-1611) The Tempest, London.
Sobchack, Vivian (2000), Postfuturism, Gill Kirkup et al. (eds) (2000): The Gendered Cyborg. A Reader, London and New York: Routledge, 137-147.
Sontag, Susan (1965): The Imagination of Disaster, Ralph J. Amelio (ed): Hal in the Classroom: Science Fiction Film, Dayton: Pflaum, 1974, 22-38 (first published in Against Interpretation, 1965).
Towlson, Jon (2012): ‘Rehabilitating Daddy. Or How Horror Movies Say It’s Ok to Trust Author-ity’, paracinema.net, June, http://paracinema.net/wp-content/uploads/2012/08/Rehabilitating-Daddy.pdf, access date: 25 September 2015.
Vaughan Alden T. & Virginia Mason Vaughan (1991): Shakespeare's Caliban. A Cultural History, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
Warner, Marina (1998): Fee fie fum: The Child in the Jaws of the Story, Francis Barker, Peter Hulme & Margareth Iversen (eds): Cannibalism and the Colonial World, Cambridge: Cambridge Uni-versity Press.
Wells, Herbert George (1897): War of the Worlds, London: William Heinemann
Balagueró, Jaume & Paco Plaza (2007): REC, Spain.
Bayona, Juan Antonio (2012): The Impossible, USA & Spain.
Boyle, Danny (2002): 28 Days Later, UK & USA
Brooker, Charlye (2008): Dead set, UK.
Craven, Wes (1996): Scream, USA.
Carpenter, John (1976): District 13, USA.
Carpenter, John (1978): Halloween, USA.
Coppola, Francis F. (1979): Apocalypse Now, USA.
Dahan, Yannick & Benjamin Rocher (2009): The Horde, France.
Deodato, R. (1981): Cannibal Holocaust, Italy
Forster, Mark (2013): World War Z, USA & Malta.
Halperin, Victor (1932): White Zombie, USA.
Hooper, Tope (1974): The Texas Chain Saw Massacre, USA.
Kubrick, Stanley (1987): Full Metal Jacket, USA.
Mitchell, Dominic (2012): In the Flesh, US & UK.
Romero, George (1968): Night of the Living Dead, USA.
Romero, George (2006): Land of the Dead, USA.
Spielberg, Steven (1982): E.T., USA.
Tarantino, Quentin (2013): Django Unchained, USA.
Terwilliger, George (1936): Ouanga, USA.
Tourneur, Jacques (1943): I Walked with a Zombie, USA.
Yarbrough, Jean (1941): King of the Zombies, USA.
Copyright (c) 2015 Giuliani
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 3.0 Unported License.
Copyright for all manuscripts rests with the author(s). The editors reserve the right to edit manuscripts. Contributors are responsible for acquiring all permissions from the copyright owners for the use of quotations, illustrations, tables, etc. Each author must, before final publication fill, in a publishing agreement provided by LiU E-Press.
Since 2021 Culture Unbound uses a Creative Commons: Attribution license for new articles, which allows users to distribute the work and to reform or build upon it without the author's permission. Full reference to the author must be given. For older articles please see each article landing page.