Anspach Hall was home to a horde of students curious about zombies and the undead on Thursday.
The Central Michigan University religion and philosophy department sponsored a panel discussion and open forum, “Zombies ‘R’ Us,” featuring religion and English faculty discussing the origin, importance and interest in zombies in the American culture.
Religion faculty Pamela Jones, David Smith and Kelly Murphy participated in the forum as well as English professor Jeffrey Weinstock. The panel was completed by 2012 Central Michigan University graduate Keith Guyot.
Smith, who studies modern religious thought, expressed his interest in the fascination with these creatures that seem to go against logic.
“It’s strange because our world is geared toward rationality, yet films, comics and books we spend our free time with are full of these magic forces and impossible things like zombies that are typically excluded from our normal world,” Smith said.
Like robots, aliens and vampires, Smith said humans have both a fear and fascination for zombies because they are different enough to be distinguished from humans, while also being eerily similar.
“Zombies may represent a possibility we fear,” Smith said. “Possibly a fear that our culture is turning us into mindless consumers, which is what zombies essentially are.”
Weinstock discussed how fascination with monsters, like zombies, can be linked to their violation of conceptual norms.
“Monsters (like zombies) are referred to as such because they act outside society’s laws, but are also dangerously attractive for the same reason,” he said. “They are types of puzzles because they are things that conceptually shouldn’t be but are.”
Other panelists discussed zombies in relation to studies of the Bible and theories that have surfaced about the connection of the zombie apocalypse to the Book of Revelation, and thus, the end of the world.
Auburn senior Tonya Allen was impressed with the panel and the information they provided.
“The panel really knew about monsters in the context of zombies in culture, society and humanity,” she said. “There’s a lot they talked about regarding zombies that I never would have even thought about.”