In this paper, I argue that Ling Ma’s 2018 novel, Severance, weaves together Asian American identity, capitalism, and neoliberal ideals into a zombie apocalypse novel that works to critique the systems of global capitalism and the ways in which Asian immigrants are positioned within this system. Through the figure of the zombie who has been infected by a virus the global community refers to as “Shen Fever,” Ma elucidates the dehumanized, pathologized nature of the relationship between race and labor in the United States. I will also argue that these ideas have been realized in the COVID–19 pandemic and the handling of a crisis by a capitalistic, neoliberal government. My argument will then move to the realization of Ma’s imagined world in the COVID–19 pandemic. Here I will discuss the parallels COVID, the rise of anti-Asian violence, and Ma’s depiction of Candace’s Asian American identity and allusions to immigrant acts that have historically positioned Asian Americans as non-citizens and foreigners.
"Neoliberalism’s Zombies: Ling Ma’s Severance, COVID,and Anti-Asian Racism,"
International ResearchScape Journal: Vol. 8, Article 6.
Available at: https://scholarworks.bgsu.edu/irj/vol8/iss1/6