Guest Lecture Prof. Dr. J. Jesse Ramírez (University of St. Gallen) Rules of the Father: Fatherhood, Masculinity, and the Ruins of Neoliberalism in The Last of Us

Prof. Dr. J. Jesse Ramírez will talk about his forthcoming book inthe Palgrave Studies in (Re)Presenting Gender series, Rules of the Father: Fatherhood, Masculinity, and the Ruins of Neoliberalism in The Last of Us, which tackles the following:

How is patriarchy, the rule of the father, encoded in rule-based media like videogames? How do videogames combine narrative and play to procedurally model systems such as hegemonic masculinity and neoliberalism? Is it possible to combine gender-inclusive game design and the power fantasies and “fun” of the zombie apocalypse, action-adventure, and shooter genres? 

This book works through these questions with an extensive playthrough of the critically acclaimed PlayStation game The Last of Us (2013). Analyzing everything from the start menu to the final cutscene, Rules of the Father examines how The Last of Us solicits players to perform a hybrid form of fatherly masculinity that combines care and protective violence. If The Last of Us appears to be a game about parental love, the book argues, this is because it is so adept at fusing fatherhood to the antisocial individualism, fatalistic necessity, and collapsed expectations of our late neoliberal era. 

Both scholarly and accessible, Rules of the Father will be of interest to scholars, players, and students of videogames and gender who are interested in how masculinities and femininities are algorithmically represented, made actionable, played, and critiqued.  

While this book explores the intersection of gender, new media, and American studies, Prof. Ramírez has also published works on the topic of automation and apocalyptic fiction, and has also worked at the Rachel Carson Center for Environment and Society. He is also co-organizing the 2021 SANAS conference on labor. You'll find more information about him and his work here and here.

The talk will be followed by an open discussion.

The event is open to all, so please feel free to forward the flyer to students and peers who might be interested in this talk. We would appreciate it if participants could register with


Monday, October 25, 2021, 18.15-19.30

Room: RAA-E-29