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Communication Theory and Millennial Popular Culture

Essays and Applications

Kathleen Glenister Roberts

Theories help to troubleshoot gaps in our understanding, and to make sense of a world that is constantly changing. What this book tries to do, in part, is blur the lines between the differences between today’s college students – the millennial generation – and their professors, many of whom hail from the Boom Generation and Generation X.
In the following chapters, contributors build upon what both parties already know. Writing in a highly accessible yet compelling style, contributors explain communication theories by applying them to «artifacts» of popular culture. These «artifacts» include Lady Gaga, Pixar films, The Hunger Games, hip hop, Breaking Bad, and zombies, among others. Using this book, students will become familiar with key theories in communication while developing creative and critical thinking. By experiencing familiar popular culture artifacts through the lens of critical and interpretive theories, a new generation of communication professionals and scholars will hone their skills of observation and interpretation – pointing not just toward better communication production, but better social understanding.
Professors will especially enjoy the opportunities for discussion this book provides, both through the essays and the «dialogue boxes» where college students provide responses to authors’ ideas.
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15. Zombie Apocalypse, Haitian Vodou, and Media Ecology—A Cautionary Tale for Our Technological Future



Zombie Apocalypse, Haitian Vodou, and Media Ecology—A Cautionary Tale for Our Technological Future

Brent Sleasman

A zombie roaming the hillside in search of human flesh is, in large part, the invention of the 1968 film Night of the Living Dead—a creative decision intended to situate the film within the growing horror genre. The latter part of the twentieth century witnessed an expansion of books, comic books, films, and television shows exploring various aspects of the “zombie apocalypse,” and the (mostly) failed efforts of human beings to survive in the midst of great crisis. At the time of writing, there are 59 zombie films indexed on the website Box Office Mojo, and hundreds of movies on the “List of Zombie Films” on Wikipedia. Interestingly, excluding the flesh eating characteristic, there is some historical precedent for the depiction of zombies in many of these productions, including the landmark Night of the Living Dead, the more recent World War Z, and AMC’s hit television series, The Walking Dead. According to Alfred Métraux, a respected sociologist and author of Vodou in Haiti (1959), “a Zombi is a person from whom a sorcerer has extracted the soul and whom he has thus reduced to slavery. A zombi is to a certain extent a living corpse” (p. 378). The Serpent and the Rainbow (Davis, 1985) is a non-fiction account by Wade Davis (adapted to film in 1988 by director Wes Craven), documenting experiences in Haiti,...

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