Towards an Insurgent Zombie Collective

∞ “Towards an Insurgent Zombie Collective” (pdf) – Florian Cord, 2021

Abstract: This essay reads the present not as the Anthropocene, but as the Zombiecene. Conceived as a figure of undecidability and the confusion of boundaries (between life and death, mind and body, self and other, etc.), the zombie is mobilized for an inquiry into the onto-political conditions of existence in the early 21st century. The article begins with a discussion of bio-/necropower and the contemporary escalation of the production of bare life, as well as geontopower, and subsequently proceeds to explore processes of zombification across the social spheres of politics, the economy, culture, theory, and the academy. In the second part, the essay then makes the case for a recoding of the zombie into a figure of resistance. Through an in-depth analysis of Alex Garland’s 2018 science fiction horror film Annihilation, the paper explores the zombie’s radical potential, arguing that the present also holds possibilities for new becomings and novel kinds of emancipatory, collective politics. An alternative (to the) Zombiecene is possible.

Florian Cord teaches British Cultural Studies at Dresden University of Technology. He is also general editor of Coils of the Serpent: Journal for the Study of Contemporary Power (, an open-access platform for the investigation of contemporary manifestations of power. His publications include the monograph J.G. Ballard’s Politics: Late Capitalism, Power, and the Pataphysics of Resistance, an edited volume of essays on pop culture, and (co-)edited thematic journal issues on the New Right, the theoretical legacy of Stuart Hall, and Deleuze’s notion of the control society. He is currently working on a research project with the working title “Cultural Studies and the Anthropocene”.