FYS 101 Cannibals & Zombies of the Caribbean

Both historical and fictional texts link the figures of the cannibal and the zombie to the Caribbean region. Cannibals were recorded to have been found in the Caribbean even before Columbus set foot on the islands. The word “zombie” itself comes from the creole spoken in Haiti and the first zombies to be recorded appeared in the island of Hispaniola. Though zombies are pale creatures seriously lacking in both fine and gross motor skills, they have still managed to eat our brain or flesh for over 200 years. What is it about a zombie or a cannibal that is so frightening and current at the same time?  And, what is it about the Caribbean that seems to be the home to these subhuman figures? This course explores the origins and history of the cannibal and zombie through their depictions in histories, stories, drawings and films from 1492 to recent time. Discussion will focus on the factors of race, ethnicity, gender, and class, as we tease out the political and cultural significance of the figure.

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