Embodying Contagion

The Viropolitics of Horror and Desire in Contemporary Discourse

Editor(s): Sandra Becker Megen de Bruin-Molé Sara Polak

Language: English

Genre(s): Literary Criticism

Series: Horror Studies

  • April 2021 · 288pages · 216x138mm

  • ·Paperback - 9781786836908
  • · eBook - epub - 9781786836922
  • · eBook - mobi - 9781786836939

About The Book

From Outbreak to The Walking Dead, apocalyptic narratives of infection, contagion and global pandemic are an inescapable part of twenty-first-century popular culture. Yet these fears and fantasies are too virulent to be simply quarantined within fictional texts; vocabulary and metaphors from outbreak narratives have now infiltrated how news media, policymakers, and the general public view the real world and the people within it. In an age where fact and fiction seem increasingly difficult to separate, contagious bodies (and the discourses that contain them) continually blur established boundaries between real and unreal, legitimacy and frivolity, science and the supernatural. Where previous scholarly work has examined the spread of epidemic realities in horror fiction, the essays in this collection also consider how epidemic fantasies and fears influence reality. Bringing scholarship from cultural and media studies into conversation with scholarship from the medical humanities and social sciences, this collection aims to give readers a fuller picture of the viropolitics of contagious bodies in contemporary global culture.


Notes on Contributors
Embodying the Fantasies and Realities of Contagion
Part I: Epidemic Fantasies in Reality
Chapter 1: The Krokodil Drug Menace, Cross-Genre Body Horror, and the Zombie Apocalypse
Chapter 2: Preparedness 101: Zombie Pandemic and the Ebola Scare – How the CDC’s Use of Zombie Pop Culture Helped Fan a Nationalist Outbreak Narrative
Chapter 3: The Zika Virus, Ebola Contagion Narratives, and U.S. Obsessions with Securitizing Neglected Infectious Diseases
Chapter 4: An Affectionate Epidemic: How Disability Goes Viral on Social Media
Chapter 5: ‘Fatties Cause Global Warming’: The Strange Entanglement of Obesity and Climate Change
Part II: Epidemic Realities in Fantasy
Chapter 6: ‘Time is of the Essence, Doctor’: Twenty-First Century (Post-)Apocalyptic Fiction, White Fatherhood, and Anti-Intellectual Tendencies in FX’s The Strain
Chapter 7: Killable Hordes, Chronic Others, and ‘Mindful’ Consumers: Rehabilitating the Zombie in Twenty-First-Century Popular Culture
Chapter 8: Networks, Desire, and Risk Management in Gay Contagion Fiction
Chapter 9: This Long Disease, My Life:’ AIDS Activism and Contagious Bodies in Larry Kramer’s The Normal Heart and The Destiny of Me
Chapter 10: The Epidemic of History: Contagion of the Past in the Era of the Never-Ending Present
‘Contagion Contagion’: Viral Metaphors, Lockdown and Suffering Economies in the COVID-19 Pandemic

About the Editor(s)

Sandra Becker

Sandra Becker is a PhD candidate in American Studies at the University of Groningen.

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Megen de Bruin-Molé

Megen de Bruin-Molé is Lecturer in Digital Media Practice at the University of Southampton.

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Sara Polak

Sara Polak is Assistant Professor in American Studies at Leiden University.

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