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Minute Professor: Zombies!

Zombies have been a source of intrigue and nightmares for generations — from Haiti to Hollywood.

Not living and not dead, zombies don’t adhere to social norms.

And that, Ohio State Professor Jeffrey Cohen said, makes them the perfect vehicle for exploring concepts associated with anthropology — the study of societies and how cultures come to be.

Cohen incorporates the brain-eating ghouls into his course Zombies: The Anthropology of the Undead because of their resonance with students, most of whom already watch the latest season of The Walking Dead.

“One of the things we talk about is cannibalism. Humans don’t do that, and zombies do. And that creates this divide between what’s a culture and what’s not,” Cohen said. “It’s become a really good lens to get them engaged.”

In this Minute Professor installment, he offers a short history of how zombies became part of popular culture. You can read more about their origins as well in this blog he wrote.