Monday, July 20, 2015

CFP Video Games, Culture, & Justice (10/1/15)

CFP: Video Games, Culture, & Justice

Announcement published by Kishonna Gray on Friday, July 10, 2015

Call for Papers
July 11, 2015 to October 1, 2015
Subject Fields:
Communication, Contemporary History, Cultural History / Studies, Digital Humanities, Demographic History / Studies, History of Science, Medicine, and Technology, Library and Information Science

Call for Papers: Video Games, Culture, & Justice

The purpose of this edited volume is to propel game studies towards a more responsive existence in the area of social justice.  The text will attempt to move beyond the descriptive level of analysis of what and begin engaging the why, highlighting the structural and institutional factors perpetuating inequalities that permeate gaming culture and extend into a myriad of institutions.  The public outcry associated with GamerGate has put 'why' at the forefront of game studies. GamerGaters, who gained media attention through their misogynist and racist attacks on women gamers and developers, even tried to justify their campaign as an attempt to restore the ethics needed in video game journalism. This attack directed at 'social justice warriors' brought the hidden reality of harassment, cyberbullying, sexism, racism, homophobia, transphobia, and other injustices to light.  These attacks are part and parcel of gaming culture; challenges to the lack of diversity or the gross stereotypes are often met with demonization and rhetorical violence directed at those who merely seek to help gaming reach its fullest potential. Yet, in these struggles, we must move beyond individual acts of prejudice, discrimination, and microaggressions to examine the structural and institutional factors that allow them to exist.   We must look at how the daily practices sustain what Mark Anthony Neal calls "micro-nooses" and lived reality of violence on and offline.

Amid this culture of violence, the gaming industry has embraced the rhetoric of diversity and inclusion.  In response to protests, game developers have incorporated statements asserting their commitment to producing diverse games and building an industry no longer dominated by white men. Given the post-racial rhetorical turn of the last six years, it is important to push conversations about gaming and gamers beyond diversity, to expose the disconnect between rhetorics of multiculturalism and the struggle for justice and equity.  It is important to highlight the contradiction between ideals of inclusion espoused within the video game industry and society as a whole and the persistence of injustices within the structural and institutional context in which they may have developed. This compilation not only seeks to answer these questions but also to produce work that intervenes in the culture of violence and inequity from which these works emanate from inside and outside of academia.

Traditionally, academic public discourses concerned with criminal justice focused on issues pertaining to crime and legal justice; within game studies, there has an effort to examine criminogenic effects of violent video games on the streets.  We must move beyond this simple construction of justice and video games.  This interdisciplinary text defines justice broadly, but in terms to speak to the struggle of racial, gender, and social justice.  Moving beyond abstract principles, the collection focuses on the stakes playing out in virtual reality, demonstrating the ways that struggles for justice online, in the policy booth, in the court house, in our schools, in legislatures and in streets must be waged online.

As such, this collection seeks a broader range of critical perspectives on justice issues within gaming culture seeking whether gaming culture can foster critical consciousness, aid in participatory democracy, and effect social change.  It will give voice to the silenced and marginalized, offering counter narratives to those post-racial and post-gendered fantasies that so often obscure the violent context of production and consumption. In offering this framework, this volume will be grounded in the concrete situations of marginalized members within gaming culture.

Early career scholars, game industry personnel, gaming activists, graduate students, and others are invited to submit work addressing the connected themes of Video Games, Culture, & Justice.  Suggested essay topics may include (but are not limited to):

·         Representation and Identity in Video Games

·         Examining the complex nature of intersections

·         Marginalized identities within gaming culture

·         Developing culturally responsive games

·         Activism within video games

·         Power and anonymity

·         Negative experiences in multiplayer settings

·         Applying social justice theories to gaming

·         Militarization and video games

·         Cyberbullying, online harassment, and other virtual violence

·         Policing game communities

·         Swatting and blurring boundaries of virtual and physical spaces

·         Online disinhibition, anonymity, and trolling

·         The impact of serious games and games for change

·         Hacking inequalities (sexism, racism, heterosexism, ableism, etc)

·         Solutions to eliminate bias

·         Hypermasculinity in tech culture

·         Methodological successes and challenges

·         Genre, representation, and social justice

·         Gaming interfaces as social praxis

·         The graphical arms race: hyperreality, phenotype, and identity

Please submit abstracts (500 word max) along with a short bio and your CV/resume to by September 15th, 2015.  Authors will be notified by October 5th, 2015 if their proposals have been accepted for the prospectus.  Final essays should be within the range of 4000 – 6000 words, submitted as a Word or Rich Text Format.  Notifications to submit full essays will occur shortly after abstracts are submitted and they will be due December 28th, 2015.  For more information please contact the co-editors at

Deadline for Abstracts: September 15th, 2015

Full Essays Due: December 28th, 2015

André Brock (Ph.D., University of Illinois at Urbana Champaign) is an Assistant Professor of Communication Studies at the University of Michigan.  His research interests include digital and online performances of race and culture, African American technoculture, and critical cultural informatics.  Follow him on Twitter @DocDre.

Kishonna L. Gray (Ph.D., Arizona State University) is the Director of the Critical Gaming Lab at Eastern Kentucky University as well as faculty in the School of Justice Studies, African/African-American Studies, & Women & Gender Studies.  Her work broadly intersects identity and new media although she has a particular focus on gaming.  Her most recent book, Race, Gender, & Deviance in Xbox Live, provides a much-needed theoretical framework for examining deviant behavior and deviant bodies within that virtual gaming community.  Her work can be found at and at  Follow her on Twitter @DrGrayThaPhx and @CriticalGameLab.

David J. Leonard (Ph.D., University of California – Berkeley) is Associate Professor and chair in the Department of Critical Culture, Gender and Race Studies at Washington State University, Pullman.  He regularly writes about issues of race, gender, inequality, and popular culture.  His work has appeared in a number of academic journals and anthologies.  His works can be found at Follow him on Twitter @drdavidjleonard.

Contact Info:
For more information please contact the co-editors at

André Brock (University of Michigan), Co-Editor

Kishonna L Gray (Eastern Kentucky University), Co-Editor

David J Leonard (Washington State University), Co-Editor

Contact Email:

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