The Walking Dead franchise has become a popular culture juggernaut that shows no signs of slowing down. Yet, despite its soaring popularity, there has been a longstanding critique that the franchise, in both its comic book and television incarnations, advocates an explicitly patriarchal and predominantly white world order. Zombie narratives have shown themselves to be uniquely qualified to deconstruct the many illusions (and injustices) of our social order, so why have so many felt that The Walking Dead has only hardened the conventional boundaries of race, gender, and sexuality? Nonetheless, in all its forms, The Walking Dead is an evolving narrative—and many would argue that, specifically in its representations of what women and men of all races may become, the franchise is working toward more utopian possibilities.
All four of the collections of essays on The Walking Dead—James Lowder’s Triumph of the Walking Dead (2011), Wayne Yeun’s The Walking Dead and Philosophy (2012), Dawn Keetley’s “We’re All Infected”: Essays on AMC’s The Walking Dead and the Fate of the Human (2014), and Travis Langley’s The Walking Dead Psychology (2015)—cover a wide swathe of topics, and take up gender, sexuality, and race only fleetingly. We think it’s time for a collection addressed squarely at these issues, so crucial to the franchise’s vision of a post-apocalyptic world.
To that end, we are currently accepting chapter proposals for an edited volume exploring the interlinked representations of gender, sexuality, and race in all The Walking Dead franchises. This edited volume will explore the many ways in which all three crucial identity categories are constructed/deconstructed on television and in the comic book series. Because our intention is to present a highly diverse collection, we are interested in chapters exploring all facets of race, gender, and sexuality related to the television shows and comic books, as well as in tie-ins and connected materials (e.g. the AMC webisodes, Walking Dead Specials, etc.).
Possible topics may include (but are not limited to) the following:
- The relationship between undeadness and race/gender politics in The Walking Dead
- The role a dystopian, post-apocalyptic environment plays in shaping gender and race construction in The Walking Dead
- How race, gender, and sexuality intersect in The Walking Dead
- Queer visibility and gender in in The Walking Dead
- How The Walking Dead reflects/challenges the traditional depiction of gender and race in its predecessor zombie narratives
- How either the comics or the TV series has evolved in its representations of women, men, and people of color
- How fan conversation on the internet (on blogs, for instance) has critiqued and potentially shaped the ways race, gender, and sexuality are depicted in the franchise.
Please submit a 500 word abstract and short biography to Dawn Keetley (firstname.lastname@example.org) and Elizabeth Erwin (email@example.com) by January 11, 2016. We anticipate a tentative due date of August 1, 2016, for full essays. We will be more than happy to respond to any and all queries in the meantime.