WGS334 - Class 2.doc

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University of Toronto St. George
Women and Gender Studies
Sarah Trimble

Jan 15 - Class Two - Theorizing Zombies: On undead histories and Vodou economics • Delay for the Matheson book Zombie is attached to different histories, a complex figure Prof spell 'Vodou' instead of 'Voodoo' to signal the departure from other associations Zora Neale Hurston • went to Haiti • interested in the vodou practises and the figure of the zombie • want to see real life zombie • Why the figure of zombie starting to pop up in particular historical period in particular place The ZOMBI: A History of Contact • Originated in the Vodou traditions • Haitian revolution (fleeing of ex-slaves into the rural parts of the island) • 'Murun' communities where they gathered around, most of knowledge and practises associated with Vodou in Haiti • Vodou believes in multiple spirits similar to the Christians that believes there are multiple saints • Zombie can mean a body without a soul or a soul without a body • Vodou is key to think about slave resistance and rebelion • Entered into US pop culture W. Davis Quote • the idea of relentless moving body survived into our contemporary idea of zombie (that there is certain way to kill them) • lacking sensation (numb) Lauro & Embry Quote • Zombie is a slavement to the body • body is kind of rebellious against house of the soul Subject and Object, Master and Slave… • Hegal German philosopher, his work in dialectical thesis • he understands history as a dialectical process • Thesis, antithesis, synthesis (in the shape of triangle) Thesis --> Antithesis --> create synthesis, which creates new thesis --> antithesis etc. • progress moving towards something better and better • Progressive movement towards the unfolding of the 'world's spirit' (idea of movement towards more freedom) • Moving in linear fashion (idea of progress) • Lordship and bondage: dialectic between master and slave • unfolding of self-consciousness is about encounter between 2 self- conscious individual • both want to be the master to be in charge (to dominate to the other) • the encounter is about the movement of recognition • the only way is to have one accept the role of the slave (recognizes the master) • master recognizes that their power is coming from the work of the slave • master feel they are alienated from its own labour • slave feels like it has some control over its agency because of their labour provide power • see the paradox/contradiction here? Counter-histories of modernity, I • think enlightenment theory in conduction with the Haitian revolution and the french revolution • use slavery as metaphor (lack of power, enslaved because we have government without representation, key metaphor for the lack of freedom) • at the same time that wester philosopher are talking about freedom we have a systematic slavery that is built on un-freedom • process of capitalism increased idea of freedom but we see increase in slavery (contradictory) • different way of imagining history • 'Negative dialectic' meeting of contradiction that does not resolve itself, might not lead to the progressive unfolding of history (greater and greater perfection of the world • important to think of zombie this way too Counter-histories of modernity, II • idea that if you are born in to
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