Title: Zombies, Migrants, and Queers: Race and Crisis Capitalism in Pop Culture
Author: Camilla Fojas
Rating: Your Cup of Tea Maybe?
Genre: Nonfiction, Pop Culture, Media Criticism, Race/Racism
Release Date: February 28, 2017
Publisher: University of Illinois Press
Note: I received a review copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review and that’s absolutely what you’re getting.
At first glance, Zombies, Migrants, and Queers: Race and Crisis Capitalism in Pop Culture seems like it should be right up my alley. It’s about pop culture after all, and in-depth critiques of pop culture and placing into specific cultural contexts s kind of my thing.
Unfortunately, and I’m really bummed about this, this book didn’t hook me.
Author Camilla Fojas’ writing is interesting and she definitely knows her stuff, but I actually found the book difficult to get into because while it flirted with concepts and pieces of media that I was familiar with, I’m not “at” her level so I didn’t understand a lot of what she was writing. Which is obviously, entirely on me for the most part. I will say that the book was dense in a way that made understanding it difficult because at times it felt like a distracting info-dump.
What I could understand, I liked. That’s one thing I can promise you.
Fojas is brilliant and I absolutely have a bit of an academic crush on her. She’s a talented writer and she’s writing about something that I feel needs to be covered and discussed more often. I think that if you are studying how pop culture intersects with both race and capitalism, you’ll find this to be a super useful and engaging book. For someone like me that doesn’t really engage with studying capitalism and only consumes a small percentage of the media that she references… it’s a bit like wandering through a labyrinth…
Only with cutting cultural criticism at the center instead of a man-eating minotaur.
While I didn’t find this book useful for my studies, I already know several people in my department at school that will find great use out of it because of Fojas’ focus on how certain pieces of media (i.e., Weeds and Breaking Bad) position white criminals as heroes even as they villainize characters of color – in and out of the same line of work – for behavior that is comparably far less distressing.
At the end of the day, Zombies, Migrants, and Queers is the kind of cultural criticism that we need in academia and that if you’re studying things like Latinx stereotypes in media or how capitalism fuels stereotypes, this is the kind of book you need to be reading.
So go read it!