Lisa Lampert-Weissig, LTWL 87 Fall 2017
Zombies: An Unnatural History                             

Week 1: Introduction (10/4)

Week 2: No class today (10/11)

Week 3:   Presentation on the development of the Zombie figure (10/18)

Week 4: Haitian Zombies (10/25)
Dead Men Working in the Cane Fields” (1929), Seabrook in Zombies ed. By John Skipp and “Zombies” from Zora Neale Hurston, Tell My Horse: Voodoo and Life in Haiti and Jamaica (1938).

Thinksheet:  In these excerpts how is the state of being a zombie like that of being a slave?

Week 5: I am Legend, Matheson, 1954 (available at UCSD bookstore or any major bookseller) (11/1)

Thinksheet:  Matheson refers to his monsters as “vampires” but there are many zombie-like characteristics here.  How can it be argued that this book is the precursor of the modern zombie?  And, whether these are zombies or vampires, what has made them?  What do you think is the fear behind the fear in this novel?

Week 6:. George Romero, Night of the Living Dead (1968) (11/8)

This film is on reserve at Geisel Library for you to view.  You can also see it on youtube here:

Thinksheet: Option 1:  Pick one technical aspect of this film (music, cinematography, setting, lighting) and explain how it helps to create an atmosphere of terror in the film

Option 2:  George Romero says that the film’s ending isn’t political, but many critics
disagree.  What do you think?

Week 7:  The Walking Dead, season 1, episode 1 (11/15)

Available at Geisel on-demand through various streaming services

Thinksheet:  What do you see as the influence of Romero’s Night of the Living Dead on The Walking Dead?

Week 8: No class today (11/22)   

Week 9: Shaun of the Dead (2004). (11/29)

Thinksheet: Pick one element of the film as it occurs in a specific scene or sequence (for ex., soundtrack, cinematography, dialogue) and explain how it either 1. it is humorous, 2. it is social commentary or 3. it alludes to another film.

Week 10: Wrap-up discussion

Make up thinksheet question TBA

Course requirements:

Thinksheets: This class is graded pass/fail.  In order to Pass the class you need to respond to four thinksheet questions (that means you may skip one question).  The thinksheet questions are listed in the syllabus. Think sheets are response papers designed to stimulate discussion and help students engage with the works we are reading.
Thinksheet responses need only be a paragraph long.  They should be no longer than one page.  Please type!!!

I will comment on your thinksheets and try to give you feedback to what you have written, but I won’t grade the thinksheets. If your thinksheets show effort and engagement with the assignment, you will pass the course. If I determine that your thinksheets do not show the kind of effort that I expect or if there seem to be other problems, I will inform you in my comments on the thinksheet and ask you to meet with me to discuss improvement. It is your responsibility to come to office hours or otherwise arrange to meet with me and discuss this in order to maintain full credit.  Beyond that, only documented medical excuses or documented personal emergencies will excuse a late thinksheet.  No exceptions. It is your responsibility to inform me about such emergencies as soon as it is possible for you to do so.   If you do not contact me in a timely fashion, it may not be possible to make up the work. 

Thinksheets are due at the beginning of class. Without a documented excuse, late thinksheets will not be accepted. I will keep track of your thinksheets in my grade roster, but mistakes can happen so you should hold onto to all of the graded  thinksheets until you receive your final grade.

Vacation plans and extracurricular activities are never an excuse for missed or late work. “What is late work?”: Sometimes there’s just something that keeps a person from getting to class on time.  What I want to avoid is disruptions to the class by habitual late entrances and the abuse of the system of thinksheets.  If I think you are having a problem with getting the thinksheets in on time, I will inform you promptly and we will discuss how you can avoid losing full credit for your work and attendance. It will be your responsibility to follow up on meeting with me about this.

Attendance is required.  Only documented medical or personal emergencies are valid excuses for missing class.

Academic Integrity: The University’s policy on Academic Integrity can be found here:  Reading through this policy will supplement our discussion of academic integrity in class.  If you ever have any questions regarding this policies please contact me and we can go through them together.