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FOJAS Camille

Zombies, Migrants, and Queers. Race and Crisis Capitalism in Pop Culture

University of Illinois Press, 2017, 184 p., £21.

The alarm and anxiety unleashed by the Great Recession found fascinating expression across popular culture. Harried survivors negotiated societal collapse in The Walking Dead. Middle-class whites crossed the literal and metaphorical Mexican border on Breaking Bad or coped with a lack of freedom among the marginalized on Orange Is the New Black. Camilla Fojas uses representations of people of color, the incarcerated, and trans/queers—vulnerable populations all—to work through the contradictions created by the economic crisis and its freefalling aftermath. Television, film, advertising, and media coverage of the crisis created a distinct kind of story about capitalism and the violence that supports it. Fojas shows how these pop culture moments reshaped social dynamics and people’s economic sensibilities and connects the ways pop culture reflected economic devastation. She also examines how these artifacts illuminated parts of society usually kept off-screen or on the margins even as they defaulted to stories of white protagonists.

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