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“Why Zombies, Why Now?” is the topic of the first Scholars on the Road lecture, to be given by David Castillo, professor and chair of the Department of Romance Languages and Literatures.

'Zombies' kick off 'Scholars on the Road' lecture series


Published October 24, 2013

“They are us. Zombies look and act what we fear we are.”
David Castillo, professor and chair
Department of Romance Languages and Literatures

The College of Arts and Sciences will connect with UB alumni through a mutual love of zombies, theater and new technology in its new “Scholars on the Road” lecture series.

UB’s largest and most diverse school, the College of Arts and Sciences will host five, free lectures by UB faculty members for alumni across the country. The lectures—in Buffalo, New York City, Boston and Washington, D.C.—allow graduates to take part in discussions with UB professors on the research the faculty members are passionate about.

“Our faculty and alumni are one of the university’s greatest resources,” says Thomas McArthur, director of constituent and alumni relations in the college. “Graduates have shared with us that they are interested in hearing from UB faculty. With a wide range of disciplines in the college, the lecture series will bring relevant and stimulating topics to our alumni.”

The series kicks off on Oct. 30 in Buffalo with David Castillo, professor of Spanish and chair of the Department of Romance Languages and Literatures. In the spirit of Halloween, Castillo will present “Why Zombies, Why Now?” to an already sold-out crowd of UB graduates and discuss why our culture has become obsessed with zombies via TV shows, movies and popular culture.

“They are us,” says Castillo. “Zombies look and act what we fear we are. They are masses of aimless consumers possessed by a destructive hunger that we can’t understand. They are garbage, the products of our contamination and nature’s ways of re-establishing balance. And they allow us this new landscape where we can reinvent ourselves, take control over our lives and actually own our own choices, as hard as owning our choices can be.”

Castillo has done extensive research and lectured internationally on the origins of horror and the fantastic. A few of the major films he will discuss include the original “Night of the Living Dead,” “Dawn of the Dead,” this year’s blockbuster movie “World War Z” and the popular television show “The Walking Dead.”

The topics and lecturers for the remainder of the “Scholars on the Road” lecture series are listed below; specific dates, times and locations for lectures will be announced when they become available:

  • February 2014, Washington, D.C.: Journey to the Arctic with Jason Briner. Jason Briner, associate professor of geology who has done extensive research in the Arctic, will lecture on global climate change. He also will discuss and share photos from his many trips to the Arctic.
  • Feb. 19, Buffalo: Smart Technology with Sarbajit Banerjee. Sarbajit Banerjee, associate professor of chemistry, will present his research on “smart windows,” which, depending on the climate, allow heat or cold into a home to save energy. Banerjee has worked with several companies, including IBM and Jaguar.
  • March 2014, New York City: Performance by Stephen Henderson. Stephen McKinley Henderson, professor and former chair of the Department of Theater and Dance, welcomes alumni to come to his performance in the Broadway production of “A Raisin in the Sun.” Afterwards, guests are invited to a reception and discussion with Henderson. The reception is free; ticket arrangements are still being worked out.
  • April 3, Boston: Revisiting Civil War Poetry with Cristanne Miller Cristanne Miller, SUNY Distinguished Professor and Edward H. Butler Professor of Literature in the Department of English, will discuss how poetry helped people of the Civil War era—Northern and Southern, civilian and military, black and white, women and men—process the terrible slaughter, personal and national grieving, and deep ideological rifts of the war. She will show visual images taken during the war, and read and talk about poems by famous and anonymous poets written during the course of the war.

For questions or more information, contact Gina Cali-Misterkiewicz in the college’s Office of Development and Alumni Relations, at (716) 645-0850 or