CLARKSVILLE, Tenn. – “It would take a perfect storm to achieve a pandemic of zombie apocalypse proportion,” Dr. Amy Thompson, Austin Peay State University associate professor of biology, said during a recent talk at the Nashville Comic Con event.
Although a zombie apocalypse is purely fictional, she does think the recent zombie craze offers an opportunity to engage students in important, real-life topics, such as the 2009 H1N1 pandemic. That’s why Thompson and her husband, APSU associate professor of history Dr. Antonio Thompson, are co-editing a new scholarly book, “The Real World Implications of a Zombie Apocalypse.” McFarland Press will publish the book in Spring 2014.
The book will consist of 20 chapters that examine the zombie apocalypse from historical, political, military, neurological and biological perspectives. It will also examine the legal and financial implications of such a disaster. The Thompsons are both contributing chapters, as are two of their colleagues – Dr. James Thompson, APSU biology professor, and Dr. David Steele, chair of the APSU Department of Sociology. On Oct. 19, all four APSU professors presented a panel discussion on the implications of a zombie apocalypse at Wizard World’s Nashville Comic Con 2013.
“Austin Peay was very well represented,” Antonio said. “Our panel included all four of the Austin Peay professors who are contributing to the book.” He added that “the Saturday session was well attended and several of those in the audience were Austin Peay students. We all appreciate the support.”
Amy Thompson introduced the first two speakers. James Thompson discussed his essay, “The Rise of the Zombie in Popular Culture.” Antonio Thompson spoke next on political philosophy and government formation following a disaster or zombie apocalypse.
“It gave me a rare opportunity to discuss (philosophers) Hobbes and Machiavelli with (“Night of the Living Dead” director George) Romero and (“Walking Dead” creator Robert) Kirkman,” he said.
Antonio then introduced the next two speakers, Amy Thompson and David Steele. Amy Thompson examined the role of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) during such an apocalypse, while Steele talked about “The Sociological Impact of Zombies.” The panel concluded with a question and answer session that continued well after the panel ended.
On Nov. 1, the Thompsons again will discuss an invasion of the undead, but in a more scholarly setting. At 10:30 a.m., they will lead a panel, “Lessons Learned From the Zombie Apocalypse,” at the Emory University Center for Ethics’ Second Annual Zombies and “Zombethics” symposium.
“We’re going to discuss the importance of doing this project, and why we wanted to use zombies,” Amy said. “We’re going to talk about how this project can be used to reach students.”
Photo cutline: Dr. Antonio Thompson and Dr. Amy Thompson are spreading the word about the new scholarly book they are co-editing, “The Real World Implications of a Zombie Apocalypse.” (Photo by Beth Liggett/APSU staff)