Zombifying a Nation
Race, Gender and the Haitian Loas on Screen
New Books in African American StudiesNew Books in African StudiesNew Books in Arts & LettersNew Books in Caribbean StudiesNew Books in FilmNew Books in HistoryNew Books in Peoples & PlacesNew Books in Politics & SocietyNew Books Network January 18, 2017 James Stancil
Zombifying a Nation: Race, Gender and the Haitian Loas on Screen (McFarland, 2016) dwells on the intersections of memory, history, and cultural production in both Africa and the African diaspora. The figure of the zombie that entered the popular imagination with the publication of William Seabrook’s book The Magic Island (1929) during the American occupation of Haiti still holds cultural currency around the world.
Zombifying a Nation: Race, Gender and the Haitian Loas on Screen calls for a rethinking of zombies in a sociopolitical context through the examination of several films, including White Zombie (1932), The Love Wanga (1935), I Walked with a Zombie (1943) and The Serpent and the Rainbow (1988). A 21st-century film from Haiti, Zombi candidat la presidence … ou les amours dun zombi, is also examined. A reading of Heading South (2005), a film about the female tourist industry in the Caribbean, explores zombification as a consumptive process driven by capitalism.
Author Toni Pressley-Sanon holds a Ph.D. in African Languages and Literatures with a minor in Latin American, Caribbean, and Iberian Studies from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. She also holds an M.A. in Liberal Studies and Anthropology from the New School for Social Research and a B.A. in Comparative Literature with a minor in African-American Studies from Hamilton College. She is an assistant professor at Eastern Michigan University in Ypsilanti, Michigan.
In addition to Zombifying a Nation: Race, Gender and the Haitian Loas on Screen, Pressley-Sanon has a forthcoming book titled Istwa across the Water: Haitian History, Memory, and the Cultural Imagination. The work reads the historical and contemporary relationship between Dahomey/Benin Republic, Kongo and Saint Domingue/Haiti dialectically; that is, as a “long conversation” that is facilitated by the ebb and flow of the ocean’s waves. She argues that this relationship is anchored in memory and manifest through material culture on both sides of the Atlantic divide.
James Stancil is an independent scholar, freelance journalist, and the President and CEO of Intellect U Well, Inc. a Houston-area non-profit dedicated to increasing the joy of reading and media literacy in young people.