Zombies may not be real, but examining their apocalypse can help experts examine the real world military, police, medical, and civilian response to a disaster.
That’s why Austin Peay State University Associate Professor Antonio Thompson compiled a series of essays on the issue entitled, “But If a Zombie Apocalypse Did Occur: Essays on Medical, Military, Governmental, Ethical, Economic and Other Implications.”
Contributors to the book used the zombie apocalypse as a metaphor to examine the government’s response to pandemic diseases, civil unrest, as well as people’s behavior during actual catastrophes, according to The Leaf-Chronicle.
“When the Walking Dead came on television, I started watching it, and I saw that the show was really about people and not the zombies themselves. One of the things you have to do as a college professor is reach your audience, reach your students, and talk about things that they like in order to engage them in learning.”
Thompson presented his idea for the book at San Diego’s Comic Con where publishers leapt at the idea of an academic zombie book.
When stories about zombies first appeared in popular culture they represented a critique of the West’s consumer culture.
Thompson’s zombie book examines historical revolutions, plagues and diseases and the collapse of organized government. His wife, Amy Thompson, an expert in biology, wrote a chapter of the book examining the Center for Disease Control, according to The Leaf-Chronicle.
“In zombie movies, people always want to get to the CDC or World Health Organization, and I ask whether that (motivation) is founded. In my essay, the reader sees time the CDC has succeeded, as well as times they’ve had challenges. In the end, they’ll see that the CDC has a good track record of handling crisis situations.”
This isn’t the first time academics have examined the fictional zombie apocalypse.
Earlier this year, two Cornell graduate students used the idea of a zombie apocalypse to create an interactive map showing the spread of pandemic diseases.
Users can adjust variable parameters like the infectious rate of a zombie bite and the speed of a walking zombie to examine the spread of the disease.
After studying the various results of their interactive map they discovered the safest place to be during a zombie apocalypse is the Rocky Mountains in Colorado.