Once upon a time, Zombies were fictional beasts—corpses brought back to life by mystical means, such as witchcraft, prowling the earth in books and on film, striking terror into the hearts of men. Drawn from West African voodoo or Haitian Creole, the zombie was a great plot device in terror films such as George Romero’s 1968 cult classic, Night of the Living Dead.
That was then. Now—at least, beginning on May 14—zombies are big business on the university campus. That’s because students in Michigan State University’s School of Social Work will be able to take a two-credit course on “Surviving the Coming Zombie Apocalypse—Catastrophes and Human Behavior.”
The seven-week course will explore how human behavior and human nature change after catastrophic incidences, both historical and hypothetical. There will be traditional coursework, online forums and (Note this!) a catastrophic event simulation. During the simulation, students will work together as members of “survivor teams.” They will hypothecate about (Now watch: Here’s the “sociological” stuff) how catastrophic events may affect individuals, families, societies, civilizations and the Earth itself.
Glenn Stutzky, creator of the course, explains that as the course continues, students will also study catastrophes like the Black Death and meteor strikes. There will be extensive use of social media to promote the course, including Facebook, Twitter and a dedicated YouTube channel.
“Surviving the Coming Zombie Apocalypse” is part of a new venture called Summer Online Electives Initiative in Social Work. It and other courses in the program are intended to appeal to a “broader segment” of students, including students from other universities and new students from the general public.
(Does anyone hear: “Easy money! Free college credit!”?)