Time Magazine ran an article last week by game journalist Leigh Alexander on “Sexism, Lies and Video Games: The Culture War Nobody Is Winning” http://time.com/3274247/video-game-culture-war/ Game researchers and game designers who think deeply about who we are when we play videogames and how games affect us will be attending and presenting at the international Meaningful Play conference (http://meaningfulplay.msu.edu) in East Lansing, October 16-18.
The Quello Center invites the general public and conference attendees to a pre-conference lecture: “‘Racism, Sexism, and Video Games: Social Justice Campaigns and the Struggle for Gamer Identity’ by Lisa Nakamura. The talk will be on October 15 at The Kellogg Conference Center, 6-8pm.
The identity of the video gamer as young, straight, white, and male is changing to reflect a more diverse group of users, but this transition has been accompanied by struggle and conflict. This struggle is played out in social media platforms used by “social justice warriors” to raise awareness of issue of egregious sexist and racist harassment (which itself occurs via social media platforms). Dr. Nakamura’s talk will raise key issues around race and gender within and beyond the context of games that should stimulate discussion on approaches to addressing these concerns in ways that respect the open and collaborative traditions of expression online.
Lisa Nakamura is the Gwendolyn Calvert Baker Collegiate Professor of American Cultures and Screen Arts and Cultures at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor. She is the author of Digitizing Race: Visual Cultures of the Internet (University of Minnesota Press: winner of the Asian American Studies Association 2010 book award in cultural studies), Cybertypes: Race, Ethnicity and Identity on the Internet (Routledge, 2002) and co-editor of Race in Cyberspace (Routledge, 2000) and Race After the Internet (Routledge, 2011).
Mia Consalvo and Robby Ratan will serve as respondents, kicking off a lively audience Q&A session. Mia Consalvo is Professor and Canada Research Chair in Game Studies and Design at Concordia University in Montreal and President of the Digital Games Research Association (DiGRA). She will deliver the opening keynote for Meaningful Play, and a paper with Christopher Yap about real games, developer pedigrees, race, class and capital.
Rabindra Ratan, Assistant Professor and AT&T Scholar at Michigan State University’s department of Media and Information, studies how different facets of mediated self-representations (e.g., gender, social identity) influence the psychological experience of media use. He is co-author on five papers, two posters, and one panel at Meaningful Play 2014 on topics including avatars, gender and social identity, and racial attitudes.
by Carrie Heeter