How would the international community respond to the rise of a zombie horde? Daniel Drezner's Theories of International Politics and Zombies answers this crucial question — but also parodies the stultifying state of academic international relations programs. And for those of us who don't understand all the competing theories of international relations out there, it sounds like Drezner's zombie book is a pretty good primer. According to a great writeup in Mother Jones:
A light, breezy volume, TIPZ is a valuable primer in international relations theory for laypeople, and thank God for that-it's been a long time coming. But Drezner's real genius is that he's written a stinging postmodern critique of IR theorists themselves, applying the full force of their structured reasoning to topics as diverse as Michael Jackson's breakdancing zombies, Peter Jackson's lesser film canon (Dead Alive, a splendid Kiwi undead gorefest), and romantic zombie comedy flicks-"rom zom coms," as he puts it. It's both a pedagogical text and a lampoon of pedagogy. "There are multiple existing paradigms that attempt to explain international relations," he writes. "Each of them has a different take on how zombies affect world politics and how political actors would respond to the living dead."
In true academic form, Drezner surveys the existing zombie/poli sci literature-including Thucydides' history of the aforementioned Peloponnesian conflict, and Cheney's "1 percent" doctrine ("If a policy analyst applies this logic to the undead, then preventive measures are clearly necessary"). Drezner defines his zombie terms; he identifies the possible scholarly objections to his zombie endeavor; and he launches into the zombie approaches different theorists-realists, liberals, neoconservatives, and social constructivists-might take. Along the way, he hits the scholarly signposts: "parsimony," "free-rider problems," "prospect theory," "confirmation bias," and "cascading norms". Most of these illuminate some point or other on the brain-eating oeuvre of George Romero or Danny Boyle. "Quelling the rise of the undead," he tells us, "would require significant interagency cooperation."
Top image: Illustration from Drezner's "Night of the Living Policy Wonks" in Foreign Policy.