FP was kind enough to print an excerpt from my forthcoming book in the July/August issue of the magaqzine. The excerpt is entitled "Night of the Living Wonks." Here's the opening paragraph:
There are many sources of fear in world politics -- terrorist attacks, natural disasters, climate change, financial panic, nuclear proliferation, ethnic conflict, and so forth. Surveying the cultural zeitgeist, however, it is striking how an unnatural problem has become one of the fastest-growing concerns in international relations. I speak, of course, of zombies.
The book is entitled Theories of International Politics and Zombies, and will be released by Princeton University Press in December 2010.
The Atlantic's Max Fisher gets what I'm going for here, noting that:
Zombie theory sounds an awful lot like counterterrorism or cybsersecurity theory, to give just two example. But the beauty of zombie theory is that it applies too all sorts of emerging trans-national security threats, including those we have yet to anticipate or imagine.
I'm aiming for some laughs as well, but I must confess I learned a surprising amount while researching this tome.
The FP excerpt looks at how three theories -- realism, liberalism, and neoconservatism -- would respond to the specter of the living dead. This rankles Duck of Minerva's Charli Carpenter:
It's interesting to note that this summary of relevant IR "theory" turns a
half-eatenblind edeye to a whole range of the perspectives that might be presumed useful to comprehending this emerging transnational threat. Would not post-colonial theory help us understand the unique Haitian approach to the zombie menace? Would not constructivist IR theory contribute a more nuanced understanding of the power relations required to make the zombie community hang together, and the cultural reasons for the abject neglect of the such non-traditional threats by policymakers thus far? Would not IR feminism attune us to the impact of marauding zombie mayhem on zombie women and children, to say nothing of usefully deconstructing the gendered narrative about threats-of-the-flesh that underpins the popularity of zombie hysteria?
FP did excerpt abridged versions of the theories most commonly known inside the Beltway. However.... that's why Charli should buy the book when it comes out!! Just as a teaser, here's the current table of contents:
INTRODUCTION.... TO THE UNDEAD
THE ZOMBIE LITERATURE
DEFINING A ZOMBIE
DISTRACTING DEBATES ABOUT FLESH-EATING GHOULS
THE REALPOLITIK OF THE LIVING DEAD
REGULATING THE UNDEAD IN A LIBERAL WORLD ORDER
NEOCONSERVATISM AND THE AXIS OF EVIL DEAD
THE SOCIAL CONSTRUCTION OF ZOMBIES
THE SECOND IMAGE: ARE ALL ZOMBIE POLITICS LOCAL?
BUREAUCRATIC POLITICS: THE "PULLING AND HAULING" OF ZOMBIES
WE'RE ONLY HUMAN: PSYCHOLOGICAL RESPONSES TO THE UNDEAD
CONCLUSION.... OR SO YOU THINK
If IR theorists want to see constructivism applied to the problem of flesh-eating zombies, they only have to wait until December.
Daniel W. Drezner is professor of international politics at the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University.