Lucy Swanson, "The Zombie in Contemporary French Caribbean Fiction" (Liverpool UP, 2023)


Believed to have emerged in the French Caribbean based on African spirit beliefs, the zombie represents not merely the walking dead, but also a walking embodiment of the region's history and culture. In Haiti today, the zombie serves as an enduring memory of enslavement: it is defined as a reanimated body robbed of part of its soul, forced to work in sugarcane fields. In Martinique and Guadeloupe, the zombie takes the form of a shape-shifting evil spirit, and represents the dangers posed to the maroon or 'freedom runner.' 

Lucy Swanson's book The Zombie in Contemporary French Caribbean Fiction (Liverpool UP, 2023) is the first book-length study of the literary zombie in recent fiction from the region. It examines how this symbol of the enslaved (and of the evil spirits that threaten them) is used to represent and critique new socio-political situations in the Caribbean. It also offers a comprehensive and focused examination of the ways contemporary authors from Haiti and the French Antilles contribute to the global zombie imaginary, identifying four 'avatars' of the zombie-the slave, the trauma victim, the horde, and the popular zombie-that appear frequently in fiction and anthropology, exploring how works by celebrated and popular authors reimagine these archetypes.

Annie deSaussure, holds a Ph.D. in French from Yale University. Her work focuses on minority regional languages, literatures, and cultures in contemporary France, radio, sound studies, and podcasting. Her most recent article on feminist discourses of motherhood in French podcasting was published in the “Podcasting Disruptive Voices” issue of CFC Intersections in July 2023.

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Annie de Saussure

Annie deSaussure holds a Ph.D. in French from Yale University and is an Assistant Professor of French and Francophone Studies in the Department of Languages and Literary Studies at Lafayette College.

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