When a nearby college, Evergreen State College in Olympia, Wash., started offering classes on Star Trek's place in popular culture years ago, the old guard shook their heads in confusion and disgust. Had I a starship and a wormhole, I'd perhaps go back and offer up a new course that will be available at the University of Baltimore: Zombies 101.
As part of the advanced English course, students will learn about zombies from Arnold Blumberg, a renaissance geek who already teaches about comic books at the University of Maryland and has written or co-written books on Doctor Who collectables and penned fiction for the "Doctor Who: Short Trips" series.
Blumberg also co-authored "Zombiemania," a guide to zombie cinema. When he first discovered the University of Baltimore was starting a pop culture minor, he knew he wanted to take on the undead who want to eat your brains.
"Zombies are one of the most direct and potent reflections of where we are at any given time as a people, as a culture--what we think, feel, and fear," he told CNET. "They're our family, our friends, even ourselves, and it's always important to take a close, critical look at our entertainment and examine what it says about us and to us."
And if the course is a success, will there be others? A class on vampires perhaps? "I would be very interested in building on this with other courses in the future (Doctor Who is a personal favorite so time travel will likely rear its head one day,) but I might leave 'Twilight' to another professor," Blumberg said. Oh, snap!
The course, which began last week and runs through early December, will include in its curriculum movies ranging from 1932's "White Zombie," to films by George Romero (who's practically the godfather of Zombie culture), to recent fare like "28 Days Later" and "Zombieland." Students will also explore novels like "World War Z" and the comic and TV adaptation of "The Walking Dead." I'm jealous.