This week, Mia Consalvo, Kelly Boudreau and Jen Whitson are trekking to Denver to speak at the Association of Internet Researchers conference, IR14. The theme of the conference is resistance and appropriation.
Mia is a panellist for a session on October 25th talking about the future of Internet Studies and critically assessing how we scholars have contributed to the field. The panellists will tackle questions such as: What have we properly included? What has been neglected? Are we viewing the field through rose-colored glasses, failing to see emerging trends, and/or right on-target with empirically anchored and credible perspectives?
On October 26, Mia is also chairing a roundtable of other game scholars, Christopher Paul (who spoke at TAG last week), Ian Bogost (who will be at TAG Nov 7/8), Todd Harper, and Greg Lastowka. They’ll discuss the role of resistance in game studies. This panel should be quite interesting as they are collectively critiquing academic game studies. Orienting questions for the roundtable are: Do we need to do more than publish academic scholarship aimed at other academics? Do we need to work with those who make and play games? Are there modes of production that are better suited for a resistant game studies? This may mean reconfiguring ‘what counts’ as productive academic labor by seeking alternatives to traditional academic publishing, but is that the most productive use of our limited time and efforts? Can we reasonably expect to resist dominant academic norms and still progress in our careers? What kinds of benefits can be drawn from traditional scholarship that needs to be retained? Should we focus on developing connections and interactions with designers and game players? What could we gain from such relationships? What are we likely to lose? What kinds of terms do we need to develop for these kinds of interactions?
This panel follows my own session earlier in the morning, which centres on the resistance of indie devs themselves. Aphra Kerr, Allison Harvey, Tamara Shepherd, Casey O’Donnell and I all work with game developers. In the session, we’ll each talk about our research with indie and hobby devs in Canada, the US, and Ireland. Of particular interest to the local game community: Allison and Tamara will be sharing their experiences working with Dames Making Games and Montreal’s own Pixelles, while I’ll be talking about how Montreal indies balance the tension between economic survival and creative autonomy. This is the first time that I’ll be talking about my work with Execution Labs, so I’m excited to see how it will go.
Also on October 26, Mia is a co-author of the best-named talk in the conference: Dwarf acts like a lady: The importance of gender roles in understanding gender switching and player behavior. TAG alumni Kelly Boudreau will also be speaking in this panel on Hybrid-Identities. She will talk about at the ways in which Facebook and Pinterest offer two different platforms for identity play with both actual and idealized forms of selves through the posting and framing of personal information and the (re)appropriation of pre-existing content on the internet.
It’s shaping up to be an awesome (and extremely jam-packed) conference. Stay tuned to hear whether I survive it.