Saturday, August 23, 2008

CFP: Joystick Soldiers: The military/war video game reader

CFP: Joystick Soldiers: The military/war video game reader
2007-07-20 02:54 | Posted by jpzagal | Permanent Link | Call for Papers

Edited by Nina B. Huntemann and Matthew Thomas Payne
The editors seek essays on military/war-themed video games which explore the multifaceted cultural, social, and economic linkages between video games and the military. The collection will feature scholarly work from a diversity of theoretical and methodological perspectives, including: close textual readings of military-themed video games; critical histories of game production processes and marketing practices; and reception studies of video war gamers, fandom, and politically resistant game interventions. As there is no other collection of its kind, Joystick Soldiers will make a significant contribution to the breadth of work shaping the burgeoning field of game studies, complementing analyses concerning the Military-Entertainment Complex, and offering diverse insights on how modern warfare has been represented and remediated in contemporary video games. The editors invite junior as well as established scholars to submit, and welcome cross-disciplinary work from sociology, cultural studies, anthropology, history, military studies, psychology, economics, media studies, visual communication, graphic arts and game design, education, and so forth.

We are looking for submissions that address a wide range of topics from diverse methodological approaches, including but not limited to:

--Use of games for training, recruitment, propaganda (serious games)

--Video games and military ideology (or Military-Entertainment Complex)

--Representing / playing soldiers, terrorists, & civilians

--Global reception of America’s Army and other “pro-US” war games

--Production of war video games

--War video games across genres (e.g., FPS, RTS, RPG)

--Playing war video games of past & near-future conflicts

--War game mods and other user-generated content

--Machinima as social commentary on war (e.g., Red vs. Blue)

--Games and resistance (non-combat games, in-game protests, diplomacy as alternative to force)

--Game for peace

--Networked war games in different spaces (LAN parties, on-line, mobile).

--War games and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)

We are interested in defining “military/war” video games widely, but not so widely as to be useless for critical analysis. The following is a partial list of war video games we hope to include, but submissions for scholarly work about other games are welcome, for example games based on past wars (Battlefield 1942; Call of Duty, etc) and non-US based games.

--Marine Doom

--Counter-Strike & its mods

--America’s Army & America’s Army: Rise of a Soldier

--Battlefield 2: Modern Combat

--Close Combat: First to Fight

--Conflict: Desert Storm II - Back to Baghdad

--FA-18 Operation Desert Storm

--Freedom Fighters

--Full Spectrum Warrior & Full Spectrum Warrior: Ten Hammers

--Kuma War

--Ghost Recon 3: Advanced Warfighter

--Operation Flashpoint: Resistance

--Rainbow Six 3: Raven Shield --Sniper Elite


--Under Siege, Under Ash, and Special Force

Please submit a 500 word abstract and short bio (100 words max) by September 17, 2007 in Rich Text Format (RTF) to Nina Huntemann and Matthew Payne at We expect final papers will not exceed 5000-7000 words and will be due December 10, 2007. Feel free to repost this CFP on relevant lists. Please contact us if you have questions about potential essays or the book project in general.

Friday, August 08, 2008

CFP: International Conference on the Foundations of Digital Games

FDG '09, the International Conference on the Foundations of Digital Games is a focal point for academic efforts in all areas of research involving computer and console games, game technologies, game play and game design. Previously known as the Conference on Game Development and Computer Science Education (GDCSE), this year's conference broadens its scope to cover the breadth of game research and education. The conference is targeted at researchers making contributions that promote new game capabilities, designs, applications and modes of play.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Hanes "Tag" Ads Controversy

A controversial ad campaign by Hanes (developed for South Asia) featuring the words "faggot" and "nigger" and "paki" has drawn a lot of attention, criticism, and little actual theorization and critique. Much of the response has been purely "this is bad, bad, bad because using labels is bad, bad, bad because in this diverse, multicultural world we don't do things that are bad, bad, bad..." The campaign features the tagline "The world gives you enough tags." And the images are about the anthropomorphication of the discourse, stereotypes, and signifiers of the very labels themselves.

I think there is something going on here that might actually be disidentificatory, a way that unsettles the words (not completely) from their usage and that revivifies our relationship to them that might actually pull them out of the safe distance of history.

Granted these stereotypes are problematic and, well, stereotypical. But is there a way to not have a knee-jerk neoliberal reaction? And to find something productive out of the discomfort and eerieness produced by the ads? There is something posthuman going on here, too.

I'll have to think about it. Here's details:

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

European Journal of Cultural Studies (May 2008) on Video Game Studies

European Journal of Cultural Studies
1 May 2008; Vol. 11, No. 2

What is game studies anyway?
David B. Nieborg and Joke Hermes
European Journal of Cultural Studies 2008;11 131-147

Ruling the virtual world: Governance in massively multiplayer online games
Sal Humphreys
European Journal of Cultural Studies 2008;11 149-171

The mod industries? The industrial logic of non-market game production
David B. Nieborg and Shenja van der Graaf
European Journal of Cultural Studies 2008;11 177-195

Digital Arabs: Representation in video games
Vit Sisler
European Journal of Cultural Studies 2008;11 203-220

Do you believe in magic? Computer games in everyday life
Daniel Pargman and Peter Jakobsson
European Journal of Cultural Studies 2008;11 225-244

Open invitation: mapping global game cultures. Issues for a sociocultural
study of games and players
Frans Mayra
European Journal of Cultural Studies 2008;11 249-257

Monday, March 10, 2008



San Francisco, CA, October 1, 2007-- GroundSpark - formerly Women's Educational Media - today announced events celebrating the 10th anniversary and upcoming re-release on DVD of "It's Elementary-- Talking About Gay Issues in School." The groundbreaking documentary was the first film to show how elementary and middle school teachers can facilitate age-appropriate classroom discussions that include awareness about gay and lesbian people.

The DVD re-released version of the film is accompanied by a new documentary, "It's STILL Elementary," that features follow-up interviews with some of the original participants, as well as with educators, activists and the film's production team who discuss the political and cultural reaction to and impact of the original release of the film. GroundSpark will hold screenings of "It's STILL Elementary" in New York on Thursday, October 18th, San Francisco on Thursday, October 25th, and Washington, DC, on November 28th, 2007.

"It's Elementary" has helped countless educators and parents think about their role in helping to prevent young people from growing up with prejudice toward lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people. Rather than focusing on political differences on this issue among adults, the film takes the point of view of children and features them discussing the information and the misinformation that they have absorbed about what it means to be gay or lesbian.

Since its initial release, "It's Elementary" has won numerous awards, as well as widespread acclaim from parents, educators, policymakers, and religious leaders. It has been shown to faculty in thousands of schools across the country and around the world, from Alaska to Florida and from Tokyo to Warsaw. The film is widely credited for helping to ignite the national "safe schools" movement, contributing to the growth in the number of gay-straight alliance groups in schools and the increase in the number of K-12 schools with inclusive non-discrimination and anti-harassment policies.

The follow-up documentary, "It's STILL Elementary," presents fascinating "where are they now?" interviews with students from the original film, along with commentary from the filmmakers and other educators and leaders who look back at the political backlash the original film received and at the tremendous impact it has had on the American educational system.Paired with the DVD is a newly produced, comprehensive 80-page curriculum guide for educators, which includes lesson plans on how to incorporate LGBT curricula in classrooms.

"When the film was first released a decade ago, 'It's Elementary' helped spark a movement to make schools safer places for all children to discuss lesbian and gay people in age-appropriate ways," said GroundSpark Executive Director and Academy Award-winning documentary filmmaker Debra Chasnoff.

"Homophobia hurts all children: one only has to consider the consistently homophobic content of bullying in schools today to realize that this film is more relevant than ever. All of us at GroundSpark are excited to introduce 'It's Elementary' and its companion documentary, 'It's STILL Elementary,' to a new generation of educators," Chasnoff continued.

Earlier this year, GroundSpark found itself in the midst of controversy in Evesham Township, NJ. A group of highly vocal parents objected to another GroundSpark film, "That's a Family!," which features children talking about their diverse family structures, including families with divorced and single parents, multi-racial families, families whose children were adopted, and families with lesbian and gay parents. Despite a unanimous recommendation from its own review committee of professional educators, counselors and PTA representatives that the film remain part of the elementary school curriculum, the Evesham Township School Board voted to suspend the film's use in response to political pressure and intimidation by the minority opposition.

"Fear and ignorance about addressing diversity with children - especially related to lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people - is alive and well," commented Chasnoff. "The films that are part of our Respect For All Project, such as 'That's a Family!,' were created in response to the extraordinary impact that 'It's Elementary' received after its initial release. The goal of GroundSpark's Respect For All Project is to help create schools and communities where all children feel welcome and safe. The unfortunate recent events in New Jersey demonstrate that our work is as relevant and necessary as ever," concluded Chasnoff.

GroundSpark creates visionary films and dynamic education campaigns that move individuals and communities to take action for a more just world.

The Respect For All Project, a program of GroundSpark, facilitates the development of inclusive schools and communities that are free from bias and prejudice by providing resources, support and training to educators and youth service providers.

For more information, please visit


Tuesday, January 01, 2008

Happy. New. Year

Happy New Year. Best in 2008!