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Atlanta Zombie Symposium

Streaming video of the complete AZS panel discussion

Pictures from the AZS

AZS in the Media!

PLAYING -- It begins from Tonight of the Living Dead by 400 Lonely Things
A dark-ambient instrumental remix project over a year in the making, using treated dialogue-free audio from the 1968 version of Night of the Living Dead as its only ingredients, and is accompanied by a 12-page booklet of photo treatments adapted from the movie as well.  MORE

Atlanta Zombie Symposium
September 12, 2009

Zonbi, Wilson Biguad, 1953 -- Born in Port-au-Prince, Bigaud was discovered by Hector Hyppolite, who brought him to Le Centre d'Art in 1946. During his career, Bigaud has seen much political upheaval in Haiti. In the late 1950s, his expressions turned toward violent feelings and his world was transformed into a demonic place, resulting in an emotional collapse and several nervous breakdowns between 1957 and 1961. His painting, Zombies deals with the religious fraternities known as secret societies. Today, some function as strictly religious organizations; others are used as fronts for illegal activities. For a long period, Haiti lacked the infrastructure to be truly governable from its capital city, Port-au-Prince. So, before Duvalier instituted the system of section chiefs, the countryside was in effect governed by vodou secret societies that controlled the rituals of zombification. The zonbi is characterized as lifeless because of a nerve toxin that may have been administered by members of the secret society. This would have been done clandestinely to destructive or overly offensive members of the community (usually in rural areas) as part of a mock death sentence followed by a real funeral. Later, members of the secret society would break open the grave of the 'dead' person, resuscitate him or her, and banish them from the area. Sometimes brain damage would result from either the toxin or the lack of oxygen during entombment. The zonbi character is central to Haitian folklore. It articulates a memory of the loss of control over self suffered during the period of slavery--a very real cultural event in Haitian history. In Bigaud's painting the zonbi has further reference to the physical labor of slaves on Haitian plantations. The zonbi-slave is forced to do mindless labor on a plantation owned by a tyrant-sorcerer. He is led around on a leash, chained at night, and beaten when he does not respond quickly enough.
Zonbi, Wilson Bigaud, 1953
Figge Art Museum

The idea of the Zombie long predates that of the bloodthirsty undead that populated horror films since the 1960s. The original zombies were drugged victims under the control of certain powerful spiritual practitioners.  Zombification may have been used as punishment for certain crimes. Lately, the word “zombie” has found a place in diverse discussions, in disciplines such as economics, computer science, and entomology, among others

The Atlanta Zombie Symposium includes a panel discussion, entitled The Zombie Perceived: Religion, Media, and Society; a double feature film screening of Night of the Living Dead and Return of the Living Dead, directed by Dan O’Bannon; and Dance of the Undead, a dance party with Zombie Transformation Chamber. Area partners will participate through presenting other interpretations of the idea of the “zombie”.

1 – 3:45 PM, Panel Discussion The Zombie Perceived: Religion, Media, and Society, Dr. Dianne Stewart, Emory University; Dr. Andrea Wood, Georgia Institute of Technology Laszlo Xalieri. Moderated by Stan Woodard.
Clary Theater, Bill Moore Student Success Center, 225 North Avenue, NE, Georgia Institute of Technology. FREE (SEATING IS LIMITED, ARRIVE EARLY!)

5 – 9 PM Films Night of the Living Dead, (1968) directed by George Romero + Return of the Living Dead (1985), directed by Dan O'Bannon, A rare opportunity to see George Romero’s classic on the Big Screen, followed by Dan O’Bannon’s hilarious send up of the zombie scenario.
Plaza Theater, 1049 Ponce De Leon Ave. $9 for one, $12 for both

10 PM – 2 AM, Dance of the Undead, Including the Zombie Transformation Chamber.
Graveyard Tavern, 1245 Glenwood Ave., East Atlanta Village $2


The Atlanta Zombie Symposium is created and organized by Stan Woodard, with participation from the School of Literature, Communication, and Culture, Georgia Institute of Technology, Gorehound Productions, and Public Domain, Inc. This program is funded through the generous support of Robert Brawner, Gene Hooff, Louis Corrigan, Hormuz Minina Louise Shaw, and Deborah Ryan.

Additional funds are sought, contact Stan Woodard to donate. (Your donation is tax deductible. Consult your tax advisor for details.)

Press Release


The online journal PERFORATIONS announces the call for issue 32: ZOMBIE! (PDF)

Le Flash, October 2
We Are Survival Machines, Carl Di Salvo and David Holstius

Curated by Louise Shaw in association with The Zombie Symposium.


Zombies in Vodun
According to the tenets of Vodun (voodoo), a dead person can be revived by a houngan or mambo. After resurrection, it has no will of its own, but remains under the control of the person who performed the ritual. Such resurrected dead are "zombies".

Zombie, From Wikipedia

Bernard Diederich;Claudia Wallis, "Zombies: Do They Exist?" Time Magazine, Monday 17 October 1983

Timothy Sexton, "The Truth About Voodoo Zombies",, March 27, 2008

"DDoS attacks with zombie computers – 'North Korea's powerful hacker army'?" The H Online, July 10, 2009

Nicole Kobie, "Korean cyber attacks traced back to UK", PC Pro, 15th July 2009


Have you heard of the new book, "Pride and Prejudice and Zombies: The Classic Regency Romance - Now with Ultraviolent Zombie Mayhem!"? someone added zombies to Jane Austen" novel.

Some possibly suggested reading, from Jon Ciliberto

I am sure you are familiar with this one:

It is in the same series with The Philosophy of the Simpsons, The Philosophy of the Matrix, etc., all popular culture oriented tomes of light-academic work (I guess in some cases less light than others).

The other book I browsed was a lot more heavy:

There is quite a bit of work in philosophy dealing with consciousness and zombie states... the 'philosophical zombie'. This guy in particular has written on the subject:

There is a link on his page which leads to lots of academic zombie stuff.

Probably you already know about all this. . .

I got the impression that your thing is more about cultural issues in the uprise in zombie interest in film (and other media) at the end of the twentieth c.?

And, an interesting link relating Easter Island to Zombies:

Jewel Wasps zombify cockroaches to reproduce

White Zombie A young man turns to a witch doctor to lure the woman he loves
away from her fiance, but instead turns her into a zombie slave.

Zombie Fire Ants


Fungus Makes Zombie Ants Do All the WorkFungus Makes Zombie Ants Do All the Work

Jack Jeans Zombie Jamboree - French pop take on the classic song

Zombie Snails

Construction sign warns of zombies




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