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Anthropology in Practice

Clowns, Zombies, and Luck: More Halloween Favorites From Anthropology in Practice

Photo by Thomas Scilia, CC>

Haven’t had enough of ghosts and ghouls yet? Here are some favorites from Anthropology in Practice: Why are we afraid of clowns? Tricksters have a reputation for being bawdy, antisocial, and clever. They’re characters with whom many of us are quite familiar—Bugs Bunny, for example, is a trickster. Anansi the spider, Hermes, Loki, and Rumpelstiltskin [...]

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Anthropology in Practice

The American Fascination With Zombies

Ed note: As Halloween rapidly approaches in the US, AiP will be exploring superstitions, beliefs, and the things that go bump in the night. This post originally appeared on AiP on May 17th, 2011, in response to Zombie Awareness Month—oh, it’s real all right. It’s been slightly modified for this posting. I think I must [...]

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Are Zombie Bees Infiltrating Your Neighborhood?

parasite flies and zombie bee

Zombie bees are not science fiction. They are real—and real threat to already-threatened U.S. honeybee populations. Honeybees (Apis mellifera) in California and South Dakota have been observed acting zombielike, wandering away from their hives at night and crawling around blindly in circles. These insects have been rendered insensate by a parasitizing fly that lays eggs [...]

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Roots of Unity

Zombie Fever: A Mathematician Studies a Pop Culture Epidemic

Helpful information for surviving the zombie apocalypse. Image: Todd Hryck, via flickr.

Zombies. They’re everywhere. My dentist and his assistant spent my last visit and chatting about The Walking Dead while drilling into my head, and it seems like every reasonably large town hosts a zombie run. Science education is getting in on the trend, too. Colleges have classes about zombies, AMC (the network that broadcasts The [...]

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Parasite Got You Tied Up in Knots? Call in Alexander the Great


Have you decided on your Halloween costume yet? If you haven’t already put many hours into this year’s costume, you might consider a new take on the old standby: the zombie. But not your average bloody, bandaged abomination… and for the love, not a mustached, hipster kind of zombie (judging from the prevalence of random [...]

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