Call for Proposal: The Psychgeist of Pop Culture: The Last of Us

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The Last of Us world is a widely popular survival horror video game series set in a post-apocalyptic world. The first game follows Joel, a survivor, escorting Ellie, a teenager immune to a deadly fungal infection, across the United States. The infection has led to the collapse of society, and survivors face threats from both infected creatures and hostile human factions. The narrative explores themes of loss, morality, and the bond that develops between Joel and Ellie, and later Abby. The Last of Us storyworld includes The Last of Us (2013), The Last of Us Remastered (2014), The Last of Us Part II (2020), The Last of Us Remake (2022), The Last of Us Part II Remastered (2024), HBO’s television series based on The Last of Us, and a graphic novel, The Last of Us: American Dreams (2013). The Last of Us collection will explore the social, cultural, resonance of the video game and episodic series on players and audiences

This book is part of The Psychgeist of Pop Culture published by ETC Press collection: a book series highlighting iconic pop culture content from television, film, literature, and video games through an examination of the psychological mechanisms that endear us to these stories for a lifetime.

Each chapter in the book will cover a variety of approaches to the game and the series including fandom, game design and development, game mechanics, embodied play, spectatorship, transmedia storytelling, post-apocalyptic narratives, race and gender representations, and ecocriticism among other topics.

We are currently seeking proposals on the following topics:

  • theories of play
  • the aesthetics, storytelling, and sensibilities within post-apocalyptic gaming realms
  • Twitch, Kick, YouTube, and Discord etc. as virtual playgrounds
  • performative fandom:
    • cosplay: analyzing the artistry and cultural significance of The Last of Us cosplay, examining how fans embody and interpret characters within the game's universe
    • collecting: investigating the practices of fans who engage in collecting The Last of Us memorabilia
    • fannish tattooing: exploring the phenomenon of fan tattoos inspired by The Last of Us,
    • crafting: examining fan-created crafts and DIY projects related to The Last of Us, from handmade replicas to unique creations inspired by the game
    • Fan Fiction: exploring the ways in which fans expand and reinterpret the game’s narrative through their own creative writing.

Send an abstract (no more than 300 words) and your resume or CV to no later than February 28, 2024.