There has been a great deal of attention to gay content in mainstream games and queer content in independently produced games. More than just study the presence of queerness in games, it is time is ripe to consider more rigorously what queer theory contributes to game studies. Specifically, Adrienne Shaw will focus on the insights from queer theory that can be used to rethink the methods and discourses of game studies as an area of research. In doing so, she begins with queerness as a method of analysis, as described by Gayle Salamon (2009). Drawing on her past research with marginalized gaming audiences she will discuss the ways in which game studies has tended to rely on descriptive and normalizing research, but argue that queer theory provides a much needed critical lens to many of the issues that are the core of game studies. In particular, drawing on the work of people like Michel Foucault, Judith Butler, Gayle Rubin (1993), Michael Warner, Sara Ahmed, and Jack Halberstam, she interrogates discourses surrounding who, where, and how games are played. Queer theory, along with its intersections with feminist and postcolonial theory, and critical race, postcolonial theory, disability and trans studies (to name a few), has always been about a politic of inquiry and not just a subject of study.
Sponsored by the Digital Environments Workshop and the Department of Communication Studies.