Unsaid of the undead: A panel discussion exploring zombi(e)-transplant connections

It started with a throwaway line in The Walking Dead. But for the TransplantInformers team, things blew up from there. Not only did Steven Yeun’s retweet (Big ups Mr. Yeun!) bring a slew of readers our way, it showed us that there is an audience rabid to explore the connections between zombies and transplantation. Zombies are definitely having a pop culture moment. We’re taking that moment, running with it, and bringing in the big guns.

(Sources: bloodredrapture, Flickr; bneilsen, Open Clip Art; Andrew Braithwaite, Wikimedia Commons)

That’s right, we’ve assembled some of the most eminent zombie scholars (yes, there are serious zombie scholars) for an online panel discussion to talk about how the ever-proliferating array of zombie representations actually deeply engage with many issues we face in transplantation. While we gave you a taste of this zombie-transplant connection in that initial post, this discussion will not just satisfy the zombie hunger inside you. It will stimulate your mind with compelling meditations on how zombies and transplantation deal with notions of the self and other, the gut-wrenching questions of the line between life and death, and the entangled narratives of exploitation and cannibalism.

Dying to get in on the conversation? Register for the live online discussion here. There’s limited space so register ASAP! And to ask questions of our distinguished panel, tweet us @TransplantInfor, write on our Facebook wall, or email us: TransplantInformers@gmail.com. And don’t worry if you miss the live discussion, we’ll post a recording of it right here at TransplantInformers. To gear up for the discussion we’ve even got a TransplantInformers zombie-transplant resource guide.


Register for the live online discussion here.

May 23, 2012 11am Pacific Standard Time/2pm Eastern Standard Time


Eric Hamako is a Pre-Doctoral Faculty Fellow in the Department of Education at Ithaca College.  Eric’s doctoral work in Social Justice Education (UMass Amherst) studies how community education can support Mixed-Race people’s political movements in the US and ways to incorporate stronger anti-racist frameworks into those educational efforts.  Eric has been involved in Mixed-Race student- and community-organizing for more than a decade.  Currently, he serves as the Secretary of the Board of Directors for MAVIN, a national nonprofit organization serving mixed heritage communities.  Eric has presented on Multiraciality to colleges and universities across the U.S., on topics including identity development, student affairs, and pop culture.  Most recently, he published “Zombie Orientals ate my brain!  Orientalism in contemporary zombie film & fiction” in Race, oppression, and the zombie: Essays on cross-cultural appropriations of the Caribbean tradition (McFarland)

Jeffrey Mantz is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Sociology and Anthropology at George Mason University. He conducts research in the eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo and the Caribbean on the political, economic, and cultural changes underlying the digital age. For zombiephiles, however, he may be best known for his feature on NPR entitled “8 Things you Need to Know About Zombies.” He also teaches a wildly popular anthropology class at George Mason, elegantly titled “Zombies.”

Barry Saunders is an Associate Professor in Social Medicine, Clinical Associate Professor in Medicine & Family Medicine, and Adjunct Associate Professor in Anthropology & Religious Studies at the University of North Carolina. In Social Medicine he works from two kinds of training—in medical doctoring (general internal medicine) and in a set of humanities disciplines.  He is a cultural anthropologist of contemporary biomedicine and teaching hospitals—using approaches from philosophy, anthropology, history, and literary criticism.  His seminars on the Undead were already one step ahead of us, incorporating literature on deceased organ donation, brain death, and zombies.


Emily Avera serves as Managing Editor of TransplantInformers. From humble origins as an intern at AADP (Asian American Donor Program) she has gone on to conduct anthropological fieldwork and research on many aspects of transplantation in South Africa and the Netherlands. She holds an M.Phil in Diversity Studies from the University of Cape Town and an M.A. in Cultural Anthropology from Leiden University.

Claire deLouraille recently completed her B.A. at Lewis and Clark College. Claire is a contributor at TransplantInformers focusing on reproductive health technologies and donation. She is also a contributor for Emaho Magazine. She studied abroad in Athens, Greece where she examined Greek fertility practices. Claire is interested in medical anthropology, focusing on the cultural aspects of reproductive technologies.

TransplantInformers is a blog project featuring contributors sharing news and views about transplant and blood donor outreach and education from around the world. It is also a discussion space for sharing best practices and ideas inspiring the work of donor recruitment. We cover donor drives and campaigns, grassroots health outreach and education, book and article reviews, analysis of pop culture representations of transplantation and transfusion, bioethics and much more.

TransplantInformers is supported by AADP, an U.S.based organization focused on bone marrow donor recruitment in multi ethnic communities.

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    3. […] we had an online panel discussion, Unsaid of the Undead, an assemblage of top notch scholars discussing zombie-transplant connections. Many of you were […]

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