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Rise Up! Class Conflict and Neoliberal Speculative Survival in the Walking Dead

Guest lecture by Maxi Albrecht (JFKI Berlin)

Tuesday, January 18, 2022; noon - 1.30 p.m. (via Zoom).

The guest lecture will take place in the advanced seminar "Masses, Classes, and the State in American Culture." If you are not a participant in the class but would like to attend the guest lecture, please send an email to american-studies[at]uni-koeln.de to register.

Guest Lecture: Rise Up! Class Conflict and Neoliberal Speculative Survival in The Walking Dead

“We’re the ones who live” – this mantra, repeated frequently during the seventh season of AMC’S ultra-successful zombie horror show The Walking Dead (2010-present), embodies the status its heroes have attained over the course of surviving years in a post-apocalyptic wasteland. After the collapse of state power as we know it, they have killed masses of zombies, endured near-starvation, seen the rise and fall of new settlements, and faced human antagonists from megalomaniacs to cannibalists. In short, they have adapted, through hardship and loss, to a new mode of living and surviving. They have become idealized subjects, whose speculative survival struggle occurs under neoliberal paradigms, remarkably in the complete absence of a recognizable economy or state power. Yet, at the end of the sixth season their status as fully individualized, realized, resilient, and self-sufficient subjects comes under dire threat with the introduction of uber-antagonist Negan (Jeffrey Dean Morgan). Negan’s rule signals a re-emergence of economic structures and re-introduces class struggle into this post-apocalyptic world. The subsequent “Rise Up” and “All Out War” story arcs dramatize the recovery of the heroes’ previous status and autonomy and way of life.

Maxi Albrecht is visiting lecturer at the Culture Department of the John-F.-Kennedy Institute at Freie Universität Berlin. Before taking up this position she completed her dissertation titled “Speculative Subjects Surviving Somehow: Speculative Survival Narrative and Neoliberal Intelligence Politics in the 21st Century” at the Graduate School of North American Studies at Freie Universität. She holds an MA in British and North American Cultural Studies from the University of Freiburg, as well as a Bachelor of Arts in Intercultural European and American Studies and History from Martin-Luther Universität Halle-Wittenberg.

Poetry Reading with American Poet Laura Passin

Saturday, January 22, 2022; 6 - 7 p.m. (via Zoom)    

More information TBA soon.

***Cancelled*** Walt Whitman's Democratic Vistas

Guest lecture by Prof. Dr. Ed Folsom (University of Iowa)

Tuesday, Nov. 16, 2021. 6  - 7.30 p.m. (via Zoom)

This guest lecture is part of the advanced seminar "Masses, Classes, and the State in American Culture."

Unfortunately, this talk had to be cancelled due to unforseeable circumstances. If you are interested in American poetry or Walt Whitman's poetry in particular, please stay on the lookout for future events on the subject.