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Zombies in the Zeitgeist Oct. 31: WIU English Grad Student Zombie History Talk

October 21, 2011

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MACOMB, IL -- The walking dead, a fitting topic for a Monday that happens to be Halloween, will be the subject of a graduate student's presentation at Western Illinois University's Leslie F. Malpass Library Oct. 31. At 12:10 p.m. (Malpass, room 180), Melissa Wangall (Macomb, IL), an English master's candidate at WIU, will present, "Zombie Culture: Representations of the Zombie Throughout American History."

Wangall's thesis work focuses on the role of the female body as represented in the zombie genre. She noted that zombies are everywhere in American culture — in movies, television, novels and even in serious novels, such as Colson Whitehead's recently published and widely reviewed "Zone One." Her presentation will provide a guided historical tour of the zombie phenomenon.

"While zombies have seized the zeitgeist, they are nothing new in American culture," Wangall explained. "During my presentation, I will discuss the roots of zombie culture, from its origin in Haiti to becoming immortalized in American culture in Victor Halperin's 1932 feature film 'White Zombie,' to the varying representations of the zombie as American culture has shifted — from the infamous shambling zombies of George A. Romero's 'Night of the Living Dead' to the rages of '28 Days Later' — and finally to the post-human new millennial zombie: zombies with the ability to think, as presented in the film, 'Zombies Anonymous.'"

Wangall earned her B.A. in English in creative writing from Southern Illinois University, Carbondale. For more information, contact Tammy Sayles, marketing and outreach librarian, at (309) 298-3298 or via email at

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