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Zombies: Using pop culture's fascination as a teaching tool

Andrew Becraft
Using our cultural fascination with zombies as a teaching tool is catching on.

Educators around the country are tapping into the interest in zombies in popular culture as a means to reach students. One such place using the teaching tool is the University of Idaho.

Last week on the UI's Moscow campus there was a public lecture called "Zombies and International Politics." It was delivered by Tufts University professor Dan Drezner, who says zombies work as a metaphor for current global concerns.

"You know, climate change, financial contagion, terrorism, other sorts of disasters, zombies work perfectly as a metaphor for those kinds of things, as it turns out," Drezner says.

This semester, hundreds of students on the UI campus took part in the Humans versus Zombies game, and the university is using zombies as a way to get students, faculty and staff to think about emergency preparedness, such as updating emergency contact information.

Bill Smith, the director of the Martin Institute at the UI, named a course the "Zombie Apocalypse and International Issues" and attracted students from many different majors on campus.

The course hopes to introduce students to global concerns, using the language of popular culture.

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