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Rethinking ‘Identities’

Cultural Articulations of Alterity and Resistance in the New Millennium


Edited By Lucille Cairns and Santiago Fouz-Hernandez

This volume sets out to re-imagine the theoretical and epistemological presuppositions of existing scholarship on identities. Despite a well-established body of scholarly texts that examine the concept from a wide range of perspectives, there is a surprising dearth of work on multiple, heterogeneous forms of identity. Numerous studies of ethnic, linguistic, regional and religious identities have appeared, but largely in isolation from one another.
Rethinking ‘Identities’ is a multi-authored project that is original in providing – in distributed and granular mode – a hyper-contemporary and wide-ranging applied analysis that questions notions of identity based on nation and region, language, ethnicity, gender, sexuality, religion or even ‘the human’. The volume achieves this by mobilizing various contexts of identity (gender, ethnicity, sexuality, nation) and medium (art, cinema, literature, music, theatre, video). Emphasizing the extreme contemporary (the twenty-first century) and the challenges posed by an increasingly global society, this collection of essays builds upon existing intellectual investigations of identity with the aim of offering a fresh perspective that transcends cognitive and geographical frontiers.
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Kerstin Oloff: Towards the World-Zombie: The Monstrous, the ‘Human’ and the Dominican-Haitian Frontier in Pedro Cabiya’s Malas hierbas (2010) and Junot Díaz’s ‘Monstro’ (2012)


← 188 | 189 → KERSTIN OLOFF

The international ramifications of the figure of the zombie have become hard to ignore, especially given the recent, still ongoing, zombie renaissance. Botting therefore proposes to speak of the ‘globalzombie’ (2013: 188), as the ‘borders separating self and other wear thin in the face of rapid and extensive flows of capital, information, commodities and bodies’ (Ibid: 189). Despite his emphasis on the flows and dematerialization of globalization, Botting’s zombies also seem resistant to this narrative, as they feature as ‘the dejecta of postindustrialism, or the mass of individuated bodies in sweatshops or crossing seas and borders, without identities or papers, hungry for useful, paid employment’ (197). This description calls for a more firmly geo-politicized understanding of this figure, which needs to be contextualized within an uneven capitalist global economy that is world-systemic in nature and characterized by growing inequality and by very restricted (or forced) mobility for the majority. From that perspective, rather than ‘wearing thin’, borders tend to provide opportunities for capital extraction from an underprivileged labour force; the border (both the literal border and the invisible borders that Haitians and Haitian-Dominicans are forced to carry) is a daily reality for Haitians and Dominicans of Haitian descent living in Dominican territory, as their rights are eroded and their labour exploited.1

← 189 | 190 → The zombie as a cultural figure is firmly inscribed within this global history: it originated in Haiti and registers the paradigmatic period in the emergence of global capitalism, that...

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