Trauma, Post-Apocalyptic Science Fiction & the Post-Human

Anirban Kapil Baishya


This paper deals with the idea of the “post-human” in cinematic science fiction and horror cinema through figures such as the zombie. Literally “undead”, such figures reveal a level of engagement with memories and possibilities of traumatic events at a social, cultural and political level. Hence, the deployment of such figures operates within specific historical and political junctures and cannot be read outside of specific spatial and temporal contexts. In this paper, I look at three films, Danny Boyle’s 28 Days Later (2000), its sequel 28 Weeks Later (2007) directed by Juan Carlos Fresnadillo and Alfonso Cuarón’s Children of Men (2006) which figure plotlines located in Britain. These recent films reveal a deep engagement with contemporary anxieties about terrorism, immigration and xenophobia. Through the deployment of horrific and spectacular imagery these films look at how the human body itself becomes the site of the political. Corporeal imagery in these films then becomes an allegory of both the “body-politic” and the human body as the site of political control and resistance. The work of Michel Foucault, Giorgio Agamben and Hannah Arendt provides the basic theoretical frame through which I look at this angle of the “biopolitical” that is evoked in these films through dystopic and spectacular imagery of the “death” of the human and the production of the “post-human” subject.


film theory, cinema, film studies, science fiction, children of men, agamben, 28 days later, 28 weeks later, danny boyle, zombies, agamben, focault, trauma

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