Taking a broad interpretation of “supernatural” to include anything beyond nature, Global Perspectives on the Liminality of the Supernatural examines the liminality of often-overlooked types of supernatural beings in light of the themes of death and gender. It gives the reader a tour of the continents and takes them out into space, looking at popular culture and mythologies to propose answers to fundamental anthropological questions about humanity, the concept of “dead,” and how we relate to our own genders when using the supernatural to understand them.
Rebecca Gibson is lecturer of anthropology at Virginia Commonwealth University and author of Desire in the Age of Robots and AI: An Investigation in Science Fiction and Fact.
James M. VanderVeen is professor of anthropology and assistant director of the University Center of Excellence in Teaching at Indiana University South Bend.
Part I. Korea: Zombies and Other Supernatural
Chapter 1. A (Wo)Man’s Touch: Doomsday Book as Critique of Metropolis
Liz W. Faber
Part II. China: Demonic Possession and Spiritual Vampires
Chapter 2. Gender, Death, and the Supernatural in The Untamed (Chen Qing Ling): A Danmei Genre Pop Cultural Phenomenon.
Lucy Yuan Qin and Kong F. Cheong
Part III. Russia: Trans Rebirth
Chapter 3. A Real Woman is an Iceberg, and a Real Man is Made: Gender, Failure, and Death in Post-Soviet Cinematic Space
Part IV. Australia: Aboriginal Vampires
Chapter 4. The Yara-ma-yha-who, “Real” Vampires, and Aboriginal Erasure: The Retold Vampires of Australian Horror Fiction
McKenzie Lynn Tozan
Part V. The Caribbean: Animism and Why the Dead Walk at Night
Chapter 5. When Opposites Impact: The Remarkable Duality Present in the Taíno Belief System
James M. VanderVeen
Part VI. Afrofuturism: Astral Projection and Hyperempathy
Chapter 6. Dying to Live in Octavia Butler’s Kindred and Breonna Taylor’s America: Discourses of Policing, Misogynoir, “Runaways,” and Zombies
Jamie A. Thomas
Chapter 7. Death and Disability in Octavia E. Butler’s Kindred and Parable of the Sower
Kathryn E. Heffner
Part VII. Moving from the Real World to the Matrix: Cyborg and the Supernatural Power of Love
Chapter 8. Bodies in Pods: Masculine Domination, Sexuality, and Love in The Matrix Franchise
Part VIII. A Galaxy Far, Far Away: Star Wars, Jedi, and the Force
Chapter 9. Half Man, Half Machine: Transhumanism and the Cyborg Through a Fictional Lens
Part IX. The Imperial Radch: The Humanity of Corpse Soliders
Chapter 10. “Blood Stays Inside Your Arteries, Dlique”: Aliens, Cyborgs, Death, and Tea Ceremonies in Ann Leckie's Imperial Radch Trilogy
Global Perspectives on the Liminality of the Supernatural: From Animus to Zombi is a fascinating exploration of contemporary science fiction and the supernatural. It is an engrossing insight into how writers and film makers have explored the possible and impossible to make sense of the world and the many ways humans exist within it. It has expanded my horizons, deepened my understanding and lengthened my reading list. A highly recommended read.