Mich. College offers course in zombies, apocalypse

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Mich. College offers course in zombies, apocalypse
In a photo provided by Central Michigan University Kelly Murphy, a philosophy and religion faculty member at Central Michigan University, stands in her office Thursday, Jan. 23, 2014, in Mount Pleasant, Mich. She is teaching a religion course this semester titled "From Revelation to 'The Walking Dead'" that explores biblical texts and apocalyptic themes in media. (AP Photo/Christina Kurtz)
A zombie character in an exhibit inspired by the television series "The Walking Dead" screams at onlookers during the Preview Night event on Day 1 of the 2013 Comic-Con International Convention on Wednesday, July 17, 2013 in San Diego, Calif. (Photo by Chris Pizzello/Invision/AP)
In this image taken in London, Tuesday, Aug. 11, 2009, three books are shown of a new bread of classic author novel and mutant beast. It is a truth universally acknowledged that a Jane Austen novel in possession of added gore is a surefire best-seller. That's the conclusion reached by publishers since the success of "Pride and Prejudice and Zombies," an unlikely literary sensation created by adding dollops of "ultraviolent zombie mayhem" to Austen's classic love story. "Zombies" _ billed as 85 percent Austen's original text and 15 percent brand-new blood and guts _ has become a best-seller since it was published earlier this year, with 750,000 copies in print. There's a movie in the works. And it has spawned a monster _ or, more accurately, a slew of literary monster mash-ups. (AP Photo/Alastair Grant)
In this photo taken Oct. 13, 2010, books published by Quirk Books are displayed in Philadelphia. The Philadelphia-based company is the brains behind Pride and Prejudice and Zombies and Sense and Sensibility and Sea Monsters, books that spawned the "mashup" trend of public-domain classics blended with horror-fied kitsch. (AP Photo/Matt Rourke)
In this photo taken Oct. 13, 2010, Quirk Books president and publisher David Borgenicht poses for a photograph in Philadelphia. The Philadelphia-based company is the brains behind Pride and Prejudice and Zombies and Sense and Sensibility and Sea Monsters, books that spawned the "mashup" trend of public-domain classics blended with horror-fied kitsch. (AP Photo/Matt Rourke)
From left, moderator Patt Morrison, NPR and LA Times, executive producers Robert Kirkman, Dave Alpert, Gale Anne Hurd, Greg Nicotero, showrunner/executive producer Scott Gimple, Norman Reedus, Danai Gurira, Steven Yeun, Lauren Cohan, Melissa McBride and Scott Wilson appear on stage at AMC's The Walking Dead panel, at the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences, on Thursday, Feb. 6, 2014, in North Hollywood, Calif. (Photo by John Shearer/Invision for AMC/AP Images)
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MOUNT PLEASANT, Mich. (AP) - Some Central Michigan University students are getting schooled in the undead this semester, thanks to a religion course that's exploring apocalyptic themes in biblical texts, literature and pop culture.

Philosophy and religion faculty member Kelly Murphy says she always wanted to teach a course on apocalyptic literature, and she is a fan of AMC's TV show "The Walking Dead." The result is Murphy's class, which is called "From Revelation to 'The Walking Dead.'"

"Thinking about the end and imagining life in a different way is something that humans have always done," Murphy said in a university release.

Murphy's class will discuss biblical texts, review popular novels and watch clips from movies such as "Shaun of the Dead" and "28 Days Later." Students also will discuss hypothetical ethical and theological problems that people could encounter in a post-apocalyptic world.

"The prevalence of apocalyptic stories in various media gives us a window into what people are worrying about, what they hope for and how they imagine they would react in the face of a cataclysmic event," Murphy said. "In the same way, we can read the Book of Revelation ... and learn what ancient Jewish and Christian groups were concerned about."

Kevin White, a senior from the Detroit suburb of St. Clair Shores majoring in political science and religion, said it is important to incorporate popular culture into classroom settings because it helps to give students a way to connect with subjects of study.

"Studying ancient biblical texts isn't most people's cup of tea," he said. "But, when you add zombies, it instantly becomes everyone's cup of tea."
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