Dr. Peter Admirand, Dublin City University, is editing a book within the Lexington Books/Fortress Academic Press series (Theology, Religion, and Pop Culture). The book is titled: The Last of Us: Violence, Ethics, Redemption? More details available here. The book examines ethical and theological themes in The Last of Us television show and video games.
Proposals are due 26 June 2023 and can be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Last of Us, The Last of Us: Left Behind (DLC) and The Last of Us Part II video games embody sustained critical and commercial success, and are some of the most important genre-defining video games of the last decade. The new HBO Series has followed this trend with some 8.2 million viewers of Season One’s finale. The Last of Us universe is steeped in rich, complex narrative; thick, round characters; gorgeous and layered imagery; and gameplay that invites nuanced and creative, sometimes deeply harrowing and questionable, moral complicity. Tied in with the present HBO Series and the next planned video game installment (not to mention online multiplayer modes, the comic tie-in, American Dreams, and the two books on The Art of the Last of Us), an edited collection on The Last of Us universe begs for astute theological, philosophical, literary, and ethical analysis.
Drawing upon The Last of Us universe, possible topics and chapters could include:
- The limits of forgiveness (and revenge)
- The fine line between murder and self-defence
- The portrayal (or absence) of God and religion
- Survival v. living v. living morally
- The (im)possibility of non-violence or pacifism
- Victim/perpetrator ambiguity
- Parenting amidst distress and through impending and real loss (death of Sarah)
- Joel and Ellie’s growing adopted father/daughter relationship
- Comparisons with other dystopian texts/films
- The portrayal of non-human animals (giraffe scene)
- Examination of moral catharsis and/or ultimate evil
- Human Nature, Evil, and Theodicy
- Choosing personal happiness at the cost of the greater good
- Gender and body shaming (particularly as related to The Last of Us Part II)
- Treatment of LGBQI themes and characters
- Violent Video Games and Complicity (especially regarding narrative choices in The Last of Us Part II—playing as Abbie after the murder of Joel, for example, or playing as a vengeance-filled Ellie)
- On false and real hope amid dystopia
- Corporate America, despotic governments, and Clickers—and other evils
- The Ethics of Love and relationships despite Runners and Stalkers
- Role of brothers (Joel and Tommy) – or family and friendship in general during great travail
- Predicted character arcs for (the hoped-for/expected) The Last of Us 3…
- Examination of background imagery/architecture as moral and symbolic codes
- Role of class, race, ethnicity, and other identity markers
Contributors will submit abstracts with CVs no later than 26 June 2023 to email@example.com. First drafts will be due by 26 September 2023 (Outbreak Day). Final manuscript will be delivered to publisher by 15 December 2023.