Why Zombies Matter: English Professor Brings Walking Dead to SUU

Published: August 31, 2012 | Author: Jennifer Burt | Read Time: 2 minutes

SUU English Professor Kyle Bishop will prove the zombie’s place in the American classroom in “We Are the Walking Dead,” a thoughtful and entertaining discussion about why zombies matter in the post-9/11 cultural consciousness.

Dr. Bishop’s presentation is Southern Utah University’s feature academic lecture this school year as the 2012 Grace A. Tanner Distinguished Faculty Honor Lecture.

A Fan-favorite among academics and movie buffs alike, Bishop’s discourse on the cultural relevance of zombie cinema explores the continuing surge in zombie productions following traumatic cultural shifts.

According to Bishop, “Since 2002 [and in 9/11’s wake], the number of zombie movies has been on a steady rise, and the craze shows no signs of slowing.” Bishop sees the subgenre as a voice for the people, bringing to light deeper sociological anxieties.

Bishop adds, “Although many are likely quick to discount zombie narratives as puerile entertainment, recent academic scholarship reveals more beneath the decaying surface of these monsters.”

He continues, “In fact, the zombie plays a powerful allegorical role and works in the tradition of other, better-established Gothic creatures to reveal our most pressing cultural concerns and anxieties.”

Beyond all that, zombies are just plain fun, and this distinguished faculty lecture, slated for Tuesday, September 4, at noon in the Great Hall, promises to kick off the SUU Convocations lecture series on a high note.

As with all University Convocations, Bishop’s presentation is free and open to the campus and general public.

Born in Cedar City, Utah, Kyle William Bishop graduated from Cedar City High School in 1992. He studied art history, music, German and English at Brigham Young University in Provo, Utah, and graduated Magna Cum Laude in 1998 with a BA in humanities. Bishop then attended the University of Utah and completed an MA degree in English and American studies in 2000 with an emphasis in film. Bishop went on to receive a PhD in American literature and film from the University of Arizona in 2009. He has since returned to Cedar City to become a third-generation assistant professor at Southern Utah University, where he currently teaches courses in American literature and culture, film studies, fantasy literature and English composition.

Dr. Bishop has presented and published a variety of critical essays and articles on popular culture and cinematic adaptation, including such topics as Metropolis, Night of the Living Dead, Fight Club, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Dawn of the Dead, Frankenstein, The Birds, Zombieland and The Walking Dead. His first book, American Zombie Gothic: The Rise and Fall (and Rise) of the Walking Dead in Popular Culture, is now available from McFarland and Co., Publishers.


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