Call for Papers
Video Games at the Intersection of Postcolonialism, Postcommunism, and Globalisation
Center for American Studies, University of Bucharest
In the past decades, video games have established themselves as a global entertainment medium enjoying ever-increasing sales and profits. What was once a contested form of entertainment, now benefits from a level of social acceptability comparable to that of more traditional media such as the cinema. The popularity and cultural capital of video games calls for an inquiry into their contribution to the construction of cultural identity. While this avenue of research has begun to gain momentum, as proven by the increasing number of academic publications on gender identity or sexual orientation, less attention has been given to colonialism and colonial subjects in the context of today’s neoliberal postcolonial and postcommunist world.
The dismantling of the Soviet Union, the 9/11 terrorist attacks and the subsequent war on terror have not only galvanised postcolonial theory, but have also determined it to update its method so as to meet the geopolitical and cultural conditions of the 21st century. One approach which has developed is the attempt to employ the postcolonial toolkit for postcommunist contexts, while another has been to conduct a materialist critique of postcolonial theory itself in order to reveal whether its reliance on postmodern philosophy, particularly the Foucauldian notion of discourse, precludes the articulation of resistance to neo-colonialism.
As cultural artefacts, video games are no strangers to the global dynamics which have unfolded in the past decades. Firstly, by means of their procedural rhetoric, they play a major role in how power relations are consolidated or contested in various contexts around the world. Secondly, the very manner in which AAA games are produced pays tribute to neoliberal economic practices that reinforce colonial power relations.
Considering the relation between video games and the multiple forms of colonialism, this workshop welcomes contributions that address the following questions:
- How are video games structured by colonial discourse?
- Can colonialism be contested by video games? What are the means employed by such games in order to convey a critique of colonialism?
- How do video games relate to the communist past of the countries under the former Iron Curtain? To what extent is the representation/simulation of communism similar to conventional representations of colonialism?
- How are colonial clichés, tropes, and stereotypes reworked in order to represent contemporary cultural anxieties?
- How do colonial identities intersect with gender, class, sexual orientation, etc. in video games?
- Is gaming culture (post)colonial? What role do neoliberal notions of individualism and meritocracy play in the (post)colonial gaming culture at large, including here the games themselves, video game geek culture, and the gaming industry?
- How does video games’ intermedial network influence its colonial politics?
- How can we accommodate the method of postcolonial theory to the medium specificity of games in order to reveal the ideological nature of gameplay?
This workshop is organised by the postdoctoral project “Colonial Discourse in Video Games” PN-III-P1-1.1-PD-2019-0898 financed by the Executive Unit for Financing Higher Education, Research, Development and Innovation (UEFISCDI), project manager Dr. Andrei Nae.
Prospective participants are invited to submit abstracts of up to 300 words. Proposals should be in .doc or .docx format, and should also include (within the same document) name and institutional affiliation, a short bio (no more than 100 words), and e-mail address. Proposals for panel discussions (to be organized by the participant) will also be considered. Please send proposals (and enquiries) to firstname.lastname@example.org
ABSTRACT SUBMISSION DEADLINE: 01/06/2021
There is no participation fee.
The organiser’s intention is to publish a selection of the contributions at an international publisher.
For further details and updates, see: https://wordpress.com/post/colonialdiscourseinvideogames.wordpress.com/48