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Made to Move, Made of this Place

“Into America”, Mobility, and the Eco-Logics of Settler Colonialism

René Dietrich


Pages 507 - 525

open-access



Outbreak scenarios negotiate fears of a lack of control over the human and non-human environment and over increasingly instable borders in an age of globalization. Recently, the zombie genre has incorporated the outbreak narrative, combining it with the apocalyptic. In the zombie outbreak narrative, the critique of capitalist exploitation of humans and the natural environment is centered on the figure of the zombie who combines fears of environmental catastrophe and global migration. Marc Forster’s ‘World War Z’ (2013) provides an example of this, as it refers to a sense of global environmental crisis in its credit sequence, while visualizing the break-down of borders and the subsequent ‘migration’ of bodies (zombies) in the main film. It thus aligns itself with a feeling of threat from both environmental disasters and global capitalism by envisioning the ‘migrating’ living dead as at once the retaliation of a human-made ‘unnatural nature’ and a stand-in for a foreign surplus laboring population. Rather than sticking with the genre’s inherent critique and apocalyptic vision, however, the film suggests in an epilogue that an American-controlled military-scientific world order is the answer to the problems we are facing, be they related to migration, natural viruses, or unequal capitalist relations.

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