August 01, 2011

Preparing for the Zombie Apocalypse, Part VIII: Voodoo

The following is pulled from the cutting room floor of our upcoming chapter in the edited collection Zombies in the Academy: Living Death in Higher Education.

After seven parts of this series, we remain somewhat surprised about the sheer amount of things we had to say about zombies. After all, zombies themselves are remarkably reticent when it comes to revealing their inner thoughts. Then again, how much is there to say about "braaaaiiiinnnnnsssssss"? In any case, given the strict word length for our chapter we found that plenty of material ended up on the cutting room floor. Since we were all raised to be thrifty, we're recycling it here.

The two maps in this post turn our attention to the importance of voodoo to zombie culture. Of course, the idea of the "zombi" as living dead derives primarily from the practice of voodoo as it was transmitted from Africa to Haiti, making the practice of voodoo spirituality almost inseparable from the modern cult of the undead.

References to Voodoo Worldwide
In the first map above, it is rather hard to see any clear patterns of references to "voodoo" at the global scale that cannot be seen in the U.S. map as well. On the other hand, the second map of the U.S. does show some intriguing clusters. First is the clear preference towards voodoo in Louisiana and much of the gulf coast, almost certainly reflecting the historical and cultural practice of the voodoo religion in the region. Harder to explain are the clusters around Dallas and Atlanta which, to our knowledge, don't have the same cultural traditions.

Zombies and Voodoo in the United States
Of course, the fact that the Northeast from DC to Boston is nothing but a seething pit of zombies comes as little surprise.

Be sure to check out the previous iterations of our Preparing for the Zombie Apocalypse series in Parts I, II, III, IV, V, VI and VII.

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