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Books of the DeadReading the Zombie in Contemporary Literature$
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Tim Lanzendörfer

Print publication date: 2018

Print ISBN-13: 9781496819062

Published to University Press of Mississippi: September 2019

DOI: 10.14325/mississippi/9781496819062.001.0001

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The Postracial, Postcapitalist Zombie

The Postracial, Postcapitalist Zombie

Colson Whitehead’s Zone One and Junot Díaz’s “Monstro”

(p.161) 6 The Postracial, Postcapitalist Zombie
Books of the Dead

Tim Lanzendörfer

University Press of Mississippi

The final chapter of the book discusses the question of race in contemporary zombie fiction. Departing from the observation that many zombie fiction texts insist that the zombie apocalypse will do away with race as a marker of difference, it reads two recent texts against this oft-used trope. Arguing against much recent criticism, it posits that Zone One is best read not as concerned with the history of racial oppression, but as concerned with the way capitalism constructs race as a category useful to it. It concludes by reading Díaz’s “Monstro” as a tale most instructive at the metalevel, for what it tells us about the zombie’s contemporary relation to Haiti on the pervasiveness of racial categories even outside a White-Black dichotomy. It also serves as a point for departure to the Coda, an investigation of the larger valences of zombie fiction.

Keywords:   Race, Capitalism, Zone One, “Monstro”, valences of zombie fiction

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