Zombies: Monsters with Meaning

Friday, November 8, 2019 7:30 pm - 7:30 pm EST

What is it that makes us so scared of, and yet so attracted to, the living dead? Why is it that shambling or sprinting corpses still retain such relentless power?

Before 1968, zombies began their pop culture career as living human beings controlled by a Voodoo master. Then, in one of the most tumultuous years in modern American history, a low budget horror film shocked the world with its tale of the reanimated dead shambling forth to feast on the flesh of the living. Night of the Living Dead redefined the concept of the zombie forever and gave us a new and indelible vision of horror: the greatest monster of all – us. Dr. Arnold T. Blumberg presents a whirlwind look back at 100 years of cinematic zombies and their evolution into a modern pop culture icon, with special attention to the ways in which Night of the Living Dead permanently impacted the media landscape.

Robert Smith? looks at zombies as a popular figure in pop culture/entertainment usually portrayed as being brought about through an outbreak or epidemic. Modelling a zombie attack, using biological assumptions based on popular zombie movies, he will introduce a basic model for zombie infection, determine equilibria and their stability, and illustrate the outcome with numerical solutions. He will then refine the model to introduce a latent period of zombification, whereby humans are infected, but not infectious, before becoming undead. The model is further modified to include the effects of possible quarantine or a cure. Finally, he examines the impact of regular, impulsive reductions in the number of zombies and derive conditions under which eradication can occur. Together Blumberg and Smith? will show that only quick, aggressive attacks can stave off the doomsday scenario: the collapse of society as zombies overtake us all.