More brains! The perpetuation of the zombie scholar

With Jim Groom I'm writing a chapter for the Zombies in the Academy book. It's at an early draft stage, but thought I would share it in this wiki.

My argument is that the context we have set up in education for all aspects of scholarship is like a contagion that works against innovation. This was an idea I explored in my researchers and new technology post and which forms a theme of my upcoming book (but with no zombies). There is an analogy here with the manner in which zombies turn all-comers into one of their own, which is exemplified by this clip from Dan O'Bannon's Return of the Living Dead:

 

The scholarly discipline is in ever more need of fresh brains to feed itself.

But I propose that, unlike zombification, there may be an antidote: the adoption of the fast, cheap and out of control technologies espoused by Brian Lamb.

Anyway, take a look at the paper and if you feel like contributing let me know.

3 Comments

  1. Interesting, and thanks for sharing the text. This is just a subset of a bigger problem in academic though – creeping managerialism and loss of academic freedom.
    League Tables – need I say more?

  2. currently kicking a few ideas around for this book myself, think i’ve been through 3 or 4 so far, i think it’s that time of year for a ‘fun’ writing project!
    i’ve read your early draft and i think that the zombie scholar has got legs, i think it captures quite nicely some of the things that we were talking about for disco (from disco to zombie, thriller?!) especially the idea that new entrants to academia end up adopting moribund practices, as you say the film clip illustrates it rather nicely.
    i’ve been reading wade davies’ ‘passage of darkness’ which is an ethnographic account of zombie culture in haiti and what’s interesting there (apart from the fact that there is a pharmacological explanation to zombie-ism) is the functional role of zombie within voodoo culture, in that they are a necessary tool for social order.
    i’ve also stumbled across this site which is quite interesting, although i can’t work out how serious it is…
    http://zombieresearch.org/home.html
    all in all i’m drowning in ideas at the moment! good luck with the chapter though!

  3. Hi Nick
    I read Davies ages ago, I think thatd be a really interesting angle to take. Drop me an email if you want someone to bounce any ideas off – us zombie meme researchers have to stick together

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