Defense Date


Graduation Date

Summer 8-11-2018


Immediate Access

Submission Type


Degree Name



Clinical Psychology


McAnulty College and Graduate School of Liberal Arts

Committee Chair

Suzanne Barnard

Committee Member

Leswin Laubscher

Committee Member

Claire Colebrook


viral, zombie film, deterritorialization, subjectivity, psychology as a human science, queer theory, queer anti-humanism, schizoanalysis


This dissertation traces the encounter between psychology as a human science and the viral zombie film genre using the collaborative works of Deleuze and Guattari in conjunction with the queer anti-humanist theories of Colebrook and Halberstam. I interwove thematic (i.e. plot, dialogue, character development) and cinematographic (i.e. shot composition, editing, lighting, musical score) analyses of fourteen viral zombie films with theoretical arguments regarding the deterritorialization of the human subject and its relevance to psychology as a human science. The films were selected from the plethora of viral zombie films released after the turn of the 21st century. The selection was based on their relevance to three ‘themes’: queer deterritorialization, contagious becomings, and viral subjectivity, themes that emerged from my readings of Deleuze and Guattari, queer theory, and film theory. One of the central claims of this project is that the ‘problem’ that must be confronted by both psychology and the zombie film is the ‘problem’ of the human subject. In the broadest sense, the viral zombie film confronts the problem of ‘the human’ through radically disrupting the category of the human and other ancillary categories by which the human is propped up and codified. These films, instead, trace and take part in the emergence of what I call viral subjectivity. Thus, the encounter between viral zombie film and psychology as a human science offers a shift from normative theories and praxes grounded in the presumption of a stable, human subject toward ‘schizoanalysis’ as theorized by Deleuze and Guattari.