Feminist Games

quo magis speculativa, magis practica

Tag: minecraft

conceptual skeleton

Foreclosing Possibility in Virtual Worlds:
An Exploration of Language, Space, and Bodies
in the Simulation of Gender and Minecraft

(link to pdf)

This thesis is a textual analysis and discourse analysis that examines the social and programmatic construction of the videogame Minecraft by interrogating how code, design, and fan modifications limit and facilitate play in and outside the game. This thesis will argue that the constitution of gender—and subjectivity, more broadly—is reflected in the language, space, and bodies that shape the boundaries of the virtual world. What makes a player “cyborgian” when they embody a virtual avatar may have less to do the abstraction of agency into a computerized self and more to do with the way in which humans create and maintain conduits to exist between worlds that are both digital and material.

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epic footnote series

Academic institutions tend to reproduce colonial schemes and milieus that only legitimate discrete packages of knowledge; my readers should be aware of how incredibly uncomfortable I am in producing knowledge about Minecraft in this way. This discomfort comes from being both within the meshwork and outside the network that connects Minecraft-related objects, places, players, and logics together. My thesis is not concerned with those people who love Minecraft and derive great personal benefit to the way the game is currently designed; rather, my observations reflect a personal, ontological desire to decolonize a virtual world that does not value plurality and multiplicity. 

digital citizenry and death

Users employ the Internet and various digital technologies to create politics around various consumptive practices. These politics inform both the creation of an activity-based citizenry (you play Minecraft? which server? PVP? oh, you also like Candy Crush…?), and the construction of channels (YouTube, F2P, Steam, AdSense) that generate wealth for real world people. 

These technical and digital—in some sense, virtual—channels transcode the human mind and body of the user into a resource that is more easily harvested over time.  Read the rest of this entry »

gender and minecraft: console-ing passions 2014

Full disclosure, this presentation is an abbreviated analysis of a forthcoming book chapter on conventions of gender in Minecraft. This is also work that I am more comprehensively developing for my master’s thesis, provided the process of writing it doesn’t kill me over the next few weeks.

Console-ing Passions 2014

By way of some introduction to this paper, I’ll first describe how Minecraft presents itself and rhetorically defines gender and sexuality. I will then talk about how this this framework differs from sociological understandings of gender and the lived experiences of people who play the game. I’ll then walk through the ways in which labor facilitates the gendering of players and vice versa. To make sense of this epistemological framework I’m then going to explore the limitations of ontological possibility in the game. In many ways this conference presentation is about Minecraft, and in others it’s not. It’s about almost every game I have ever played in which I was forced to adopt a digital representation of myself.   Read the rest of this entry »

reading the politics of admittance in games

Dear Daniel,

Thanks for your thoughts on the article that I passed along last week. In hindsight, I apologize for sending what was a dense piece of work. I had honestly not read it in a few months, so spending this weekend to re-read it was both a joy and a regret—this is how academia tends to spoil people’s social minds.

For other people who may not know what we’re talking about, I sent you an article penned by Rey Chow, a Chinese-American cultural critic, specializing in 20th-century Chinese fiction and film and postcolonial theory. This post makes reference to Chapter 5: The Politics of Admittance in The Rey Chow Reader, edited by Paul Bowman. The article offers a reading and critique of how Freud and Fanon articulate the relationships between community formation, race, and sexuality. It was first published in 1995.

Now, why did I send it? I suppose because I read postcolonialism as a project that (in part) grapples with the practice of equality and inclusivity. I find Chow’s article helpful in thinking about the ways in which communities are formed in and around videogames. Read the rest of this entry »