Associated Students Program Board will showcase the carnage of its annual Zombie Debates tonight at 8 p.m. in the University Center Hub in an effort to determine which of UCSB’s academic disciplines is best prepared to handle a fully fledged zombie apocalypse.
Faculty from six departments — English, biology, engineering, communication, psychology and religious studies — will participate in a debate over which of their subjects is most critical to withstanding a stampede of brain-craving zombiefolk. Following the debates, students and campus community members will vote on which professor would most likely live through a gruesome clash of mortal versus zombie.
English and comparative literature professor Candace Waid said she has never participated in an event like this before but has developed a keen sense of valor after repeatedly facing the undead in her studies of literature.
“Zombies come up frequently in my field and I have been in many discussions concerning zombies,” Waid said in an e-mail. “What it means to be human and the terror of dehumanization is fundamental to even to the most Cyborgian inclined practitioners and scholars in the field of literature. This debate raises the question of what it means to be human, and I will be very interested to see how a ‘human colony’ chooses to define their existence and being.”
The event showcases each major’s highlights in a unique way, according to communication professor Walid Afifi. Afifi said he is excited to compete with faculty who are so passionate about their subjects, but thinks the communication major is ultimately the most useful.
“In terms of why the communication discipline has the tools to defeat the zombies, ultimately, it’s all about the ability to inform and persuade,” Afifi said. “Communication scholars do that best.”
Evolution, ecology and marine biology lecturer John Latto said he wanted to get involved after noticing science’s lack of representation in last year’s debate.
“When I read about the event last year, I thought that it was a shame they didn’t have a biologist on the panel,” Latto said. “So when I got invited this year, I felt a certain obligation to participate. It’s a no-brainer — pun intended — that biology is the only subject capable of helping humanity defeat the zombie menace and rebuild society.”
Other participating faculty includes engineering professor Glenn Beltz, psychology professor Tamsin German and religious studies professor Rudy Busto. The event is free to all students with ACCESS cards.