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Shameless Marketing

Students who took the course in previous years said:

  Zombies In Popular Media was honestly my favorite, non-major related course I took at Columbia. The analysis of zombies as both a historical and media figure was very detailed, but kept my interest throughout. The reading load was more than I experienced in almost any class, however the reading material is always pertinent to the following day's topic, SO YOU MUST READ. ... Over all, one should expect a heavy workload, but content that will actually make you WANT to do the work.
Brendan cares a lot about your education. On our first day, he said this: "If you haven't seen the zombie/shark fight by the end of this class, I will feel as if I have failed you in some way, so please show up."  
  "After taking this class I realized that when the outbreak happens I will be philosophizing so hard my brain won't need to be eaten to hurt.  Any class that arms you with that kind of knowledge, you know, aside from teaching you to avoid being eaten and how to find the nearest pub, is probably worth it. Just saying."

"The class is a challenge in the best way possible, with the readings and assignments encouraging me to think about things and apply theories to something that has become so trendy that even Sears is using it in their marketing. But even beyond critical thinking, the class was full of artistic inspiration as well. I feel like I had some of the most interesting and fun discussions at Columbia in this class. This class is not for the weak, but it will definitely make you stronger."

Mall of the Dead
"Zombies in Popular Media is an awesome class! I'd take it again tomorrow. You will work hard but it's fun. Seriously. However, you need to keep up. In such a short time it's easy to fall behind so stay on top of your work. Sure, you may not get a lot of sleep but the zombie films are creepier when you're a little delirious anyway."
"Zombies in Popular Media is a fast-paced, intriguing and challenging class that is fantastic, unique and worth every minute. And did I mention it's about Zombies!"  

"The only class on campus that will scare the hell out of you, even if you do all of the work."

"If you like classes that provide thought provoking discussions, interesting texts to read, and a great class dynamic - this is the class for you. Oh and did I mention, you get all of that PLUS ZOMBIES? What else could you possibly want? Brendan's course is fun, challenging, interesting and unique. I would suggest it to fans of both the living and the dead!"  
Dead Alive "It was by far the best non-photo class I have taken at Columbia so far!"
"For those of you looking for a simple blow-off course, shy away!  For those of you who are fans of genre films or zombies in general, this is definitely for you.  Dr. Riley's course regarding the philosophical implications involved with the undead simply blew my mind in the best possible way."  
"If you're looking for something to do in January to stay warm (and love zombies!) this choice is a no-brainer!"
"The readings were tough, but we thorougly discussed everything so I got a lot out of them."

"This class was fantastic. As an avid zombie lover, I was thrilled to discuss psychology, theory, film history, and more regarding one of my favorite topics. I looked forward to every single class. Brendan is such a great teacher, incredibly intelligent and professional. I feel
prviledged to have taken this course with him.

"This class is the shit."
"This class was fantastic. I've already highly recommended it and wish I could take it again!"
"Having on-hand knowledge of the zombie film cannon has been useful in the most unsuspecting of conversations. Easily the most interesting class I took at Columbia, Zombies in Popular Media not only taught me about zombie films, but increased my capacity for critical analysis. This class was both fun and helpful."
Return of the Living Dead


This course has been featured widely on the internet, often in blog posts titled something like "22 Bizarre College Courses"

"Course Explores the History and Subtext of Zombies in Popular Culture." Chronicle of Higher Education, 23 Feb 2007

You can read a student's in-depth discussion of the course on Columbia's LOOP website.