[-empyre-] Welcome to Week 3: Queer, feminist, and race-conscious games and game studies

Chang, Edmond change at ohio.edu
Tue Mar 17 01:10:58 AEDT 2020

Hello, all,

Many thanks, again, to Alenda and all the participants for an intriguing and thoughtful discussion.  (It is taking me a hot minute trying to get back into the "genre" of the listserv -- I think back on the 90s and even early 00s and wonder now, especially as many of us prepare to teach online, if our students understand how these forms of digital communication and thoughtspaces came to be much less work!)

I would start this week off with a bridge between last week on analog games and this week on queer, feminist, intersectional games with a short piece I tele-presented at Queerness and Games Conference (2014) and the subsequent article, which was included in the QGCon special issue at First Person Scholar edited by Bo: https://qgcon.com/qgcon-special-issues-at-first-person-scholar/

The article is "Cards Against Humanity Is _________: Playing With & Playing Up Difference in Games": http://www.firstpersonscholar.com/cards-against-humanity-is/

And here's the recording of the presentation: http://www.firstpersonscholar.com/cards-against-humanity-is/

I often start my games studies classes with this presentation because it frames out the questions, issues, and arguments about why game studies is important (to the class and to me) and how we might embrace social justice, queer games, and games of color.  Since, as I cite in the article, "much of the pleasure of videogames comes at the expense of women and people of color, both literally and figuratively” (Nakamura "User-Generated" 9).  I would add here any non-normative difference be it race, gender, sexuality, ability, even play style.


From: empyre-bounces at lists.artdesign.unsw.edu.au <empyre-bounces at lists.artdesign.unsw.edu.au> on behalf of Alenda Chang <achang at filmandmedia.ucsb.edu>
Sent: Sunday, March 15, 2020 4:30 PM
To: empyre at lists.artdesign.unsw.edu.au <empyre at lists.artdesign.unsw.edu.au>
Subject: [-empyre-] Welcome to Week 3: Queer, feminist, and race-conscious games and game studies

----------empyre- soft-skinned space----------------------
Thanks to week 2's discussants for the analog games conversation! I
hope everyone is weathering this stressful time of social distancing,
lockdown, and uncertainty. At least these posts may provide a brief
but welcome distraction.

This week, we're fortunate to have three guests who have been at the
forefront of some of the most exciting and sorely needed scholarship
in game studies. Bonnie "Bo" Ruberg and I went to grad school together
at Berkeley, where I knew they were someone to watch after a
scintillating presentation about how Kafka's love letters to Felice
Bauer were akin to cybersex avant la lettre. I've been hearing about
Amanda Phillips's work since her time at both UC Santa Barbara (where
I now teach) and UC Davis's ModLab. And... full disclosure, I'm
related to Ed Chang. Much of our work on games today grows out of a
shared childhood experience of reading, playing games, and going
online together.

Week's topic: Queer, feminist, and race-conscious games and game studies
As Carly Kocurek wrote in Coin-Operated Americans, gaming has "an
overwhelming gender problem." Certain cadres of gamers are notorious
for their gatekeeping and cultures of exclusion, famously writ large
in the #GamerGate debacle. This week, we consider what theoretical
paradigms and design practices could make game studies and development
more inclusive.

Looking forward to more voices chiming in,


Guest bios:

Bonnie “Bo” Ruberg
Bonnie Ruberg, Ph.D. is an assistant professor in the Department of
Film and Media Studies and the Program in Visual Studies at the
University of California, Irvine. Their research explores gender and
sexuality in digital media and digital cultures. They are the author
of Video Games Have Always Been Queer (2019, New York University
Press) and the co-editor of Queer Game Studies (2017, University of
Minnesota Press). Ruberg is also the co-founder and co-organizer of
the annual Queerness and Games Conference. They received their Ph.D.
from the University of California, Berkeley and served as a Provost’s
Postdoctoral Fellow at the University of Southern California.

Ed Chang
Dr. Edmond Y. Chang is an Assistant Professor of English at Ohio
University. His areas of research include technoculture,
race/gender/sexuality, video games, RPGs, and LARP, feminist media
studies, cultural studies, popular culture, and 20/21C American
literature. He earned his Ph.D. in English at the University of
Washington.  He teaches undergraduate and graduate courses on queer
American literature, speculative literature of color, virtual worlds,
games, and writing.  Recent publications include “Drawing the Oankali:
Imagining Race, Gender, and the Posthuman in Octavia Butler’s Dawn" in
Approaches to Teaching the Works of Octavia E. Butler, “Playing as
Making” in Disrupting Digital Humanities, and “Queergaming" in Queer
Game Studies.  He is completing his first book on algorithmic
queerness and digital games tentatively entitled Queerness Cannot Be

Amanda Phillips
Amanda Phillips (US) is Assistant Professor of English and Film and
Media Studies at Georgetown University. They wrote Gamer Trouble:
Feminist Confrontations in Digital Culture (NYU Press, 2020) and
co-edited the "Queerness and Video Games" issue of Game Studies. Their
other publications can be found in Feminist Media Histories, Games and
Culture, Debates in the Digital Humanities, Queer Game Studies, and
empyre forum
empyre at lists.artdesign.unsw.edu.au
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