Rotting, Blistered, Staggering Bodies and the Last of Ethnicity

  • David CallahanEmail author
Part of the Second Language Learning and Teaching book series (SLLT)


What is common to the scenarios of such dystopian spaces as The last of us video game, or the various iterations of The walking dead, is that human beings have been transformed into bodies not just disintegrating, but bodies without ethnicity. In various interpretations of The walking dead, the hordes of shuffling undead represent migrants, refugees, ethnic others who have come to overwhelm our lives and relationships with their abject otherness. This reading would dispute such an interpretation, seeing in the infected and infecting the absence of those supposedly ethnic markers through which central aspects of subject formation become legible. Moreover, this absence appears to be paralleled among the non-infected as well. The relevance of ethnicity becomes eviscerated, so to speak, when faced with bodily presences for whom ethnic markers have rotted off and ethnically-identified behaviours have vanished. This article accordingly examines how in the vision of The last of us and The walking dead the spread of the body as absent subject will play out in such a way that ethnicity will be stripped from all of us.


Video games Television Race Diversity The walking dead The last of us 


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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.University of AveiroAveiroPortugal

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