Term of Award

Fall 2016

Degree Name

Doctor of Education in Education Administration (Ed.D.)

Document Type and Release Option

Dissertation (open access)

Copyright Statement / License for Reuse

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.


Department of Leadership, Technology, and Human Development

Committee Chair

Daniel E. Chapman

Committee Member 1

Daniel E. Chapman

Committee Member 2

John A. Weaver

Committee Member 3

Julie C. Garlen

Committee Member 3 Email


Committee Member 4

Leila E. Villaverde

Committee Member 4 Email



This research seeks to understand how engagement in zombie media culture helps its participants to navigate their everyday fears, develop identity, and form meaningful communities through this interaction. Curriculum studies enables us to see that knowledge is fluid and we often learn more from our interaction with our world outside of the expected sites of education—like schools. Media and pop culture provide a place for this knowledge to begin. Participants in zombie culture invest themselves and connect in ways that transcend entertainment and seem to become sites of transformation. Standardization and testing have become the driving force in education, creating a vacuum of creativity that pushes students outside education for meaningful learning. Zombies are popular, and horde-like groups gather in diverse places and activities to enjoy them. By examining the connections that people make through pop culture, we can better understand how to tap into this form of learning by through the intersection of culture and curriculum. This non-traditional dissertation uses documentary as a tool for inquiry for a qualitative analysis that includes not only the interviews, but also the participants’ involvement in Live Action Role Playing (LARPing) activities associated with zombie culture. These interviews are viewed through the theoretical lenses of articulation and affect theories, as well as posthumanism. This research revealed that meaningful communities, rather than dystopian anti-social ideals, were prevalent for this zombie culture.

Research Data and Supplementary Material


GSU-Informed-Consent--H16299.doc (113 kB)
IRB informed consent letter for human subjects

Documentary link for Dystopian Identities--Zombie Culture.docx (11 kB)