Publications

Follow the links below to find all my digital publications. All publications are open access.

 
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Click the button below to download my dissertation “On the Cultural Inaccessibility of Gaming: Invading, Creating, and Reclaiming the Cultural Clubhouse.” While this is a PhD dissertation, it was written with a public audience in mind, and has been read and enjoyed by academics and gaming enthusiasts alike!

Abstract

My dissertation uses intersectional feminist theory and Autoethnography to develop the concept of “cultural inaccessibility” a concept I’ve created to describe the ways that women are made to feel unwelcome in spaces of game play and games culture, both offline and online. At the same time, I also explore my own experiences as a female gamer and academic in the 2010s, using projects I have been a part of as a means of reflecting on developments in the broader culture. I first discuss a short machinima (a film made within a video game) that Elise Vist and I created within the 2007 Massively Multiplayer Online Role-Playing Game Lord of the Rings Online entitled Lady Hobbits. Lady Hobbits becomes an entry point to consider the historical cultural inaccessibility of women’s representations in seminal male-dominated media such as The Lord of the Rings. I then discuss the gender and games advocacy group that I co-founded at the University of Waterloo, The Games Institute Janes (GI Janes), and the many gaming events that we ran, comparing the experience of our gender-integrated and women-only game nights. The challenges I experienced organizing GI Janes fuels my analysis of the cultural inaccessibility of game play for girls and women. Lastly, I discuss my experiences as a staff member, and eventual first female editor-in-chief, of game studies publication First Person Scholar (FPS). This chapter interrogates the cultural inaccessibility of writing and publishing about games for women in the academic field of game studies, and the ways in which game studies’ links to gamer identity replicate games culture’s troubling sexism. The dissertation concludes with a discussion of the more recent connections between games culture, Gamergate, and conservative political groups such as the Alt-right. The conclusion asks how women can study games culture if doing so puts us at risk of becoming a target of harassment and abuse.


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Why the “Gamer Dress” is about so much more
than just a dress

As someone who loves both video games and a good dress, I instantly wanted to tweet about the “esports dress” aka the “gamer dress” that Cranium Apparel unveiled on March 2nd but I just couldn’t put into so few words the exasperation and horror I felt upon opening the tweet. As one game dev pointed out, the dress, a short red and black skater dress with a skull and adjustable cleavage zipper on the front, looks exactly like those ugly “gaming chairs” that have become an apparently ubiquitous symbol of “gamer” identity. It is 0% surprising that this is what an “esports dress” would look like as it has a similar appearance to other esports apparel, with that general Alienware-esque techno-masculine vibe… but in a dress.


Games of the Year 2018 - Labourers in a Dangerous Time

Third Person asked me to write up a list of my favourite games I played in 2018. What follows is an exploration of how the five best games I played in 2018 made me feel about life and labour. I talk about Night in the Woods, Donut County, Stardew Valley, Spyro: Reignited, and Bendy and the Ink Machine.

"Despite being about a group of anthropomorphic animals Night in the Woods is one of the most realistic pieces of media I had ever consumed."

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Publish AND Perish: On Publishing, Precarity and Poverty in Academia

This journal article is about the problem with journal articles. It examines the interconnected relationship between poverty, academia, and academic publishing. “Publish AND Perish” looks at the ways that the uncompensated labour of young and hopeful grad students is exploited in the world of academic publishing and what First Person Scholar is trying to do about it.

“We value some research more than others. Journal articles were once about sharing research, now that function is secondary to the economic function of creating journal articles. Journal articles are currency in the academic economy"