Gabriela T. Richard, Assistant Professor of Learning, Design and Technology at Pennsylvaia State University, presents:
Public Lecture, Feb. 4, 2016, Cone 210, from 2:00-3:30.
Abstract: Marginalizing practices in commercial game culture have made national headlines in the past three years, particularly when it comes to gender. The focal point of this coverage has been the lack of female protagonists, representational issues when women are featured, and the harassment and vitriol disproportionately directed at female players, developers and critics. These are all incredibly important issues, particularly when we consider the continued fallout around #GamerGate and similar anti-feminist and anti-social justice efforts online. Despite recent popular presence, many of these issues have been prevalent in game culture for decades, albeit behind the scenes. A growing body of work has similarly started to address queer players, queer representation and romance. However, what has remained notably absent in headlines and in research on diversity in gaming is work that explores the intersections of gender with race, ethnicity and culture. This talk will discuss the history of academic work that addresses diversity in gaming, highlighting case studies from popular culture, notable academic work, and emerging research. I will make a distinction between work that explores representation (which has a longer trajectory) and work that interrogates the link between representation, participation and player experiences. I will also discuss the implications of this work for inclusivity, not only in commercial game playing, but also in game making and learning from games and related technologies. This will be considered both in terms of youth-oriented work, and trajectories in computing and STEM through adulthood. Finally, I will discuss future directions, including an inclusive design framework, and broader implications for research, policy and practice.