January 5

Queerness and Video Games: Identity, Community & Design

Interactive media and games increasingly pervade and shape our society. In addition to their dominant roles in entertainment, video games play growing roles in education, arts, science and health. This seminar series brings together a diverse set of experts to provide interdisciplinary perspectives on these media regarding their history, technologies, scholarly research, industry, artistic value and potential future. As the speakers and title suggest, the series also provides a topical lens for the diverse aspects of our lives.

Join us every TUESDAY from January 5th until March 8th from 12pm-1pm in Lane Hall, Rodriguez Lecture Hall (Rm 2) at Stanford University.

Also listed as one-unit course BIOE196. For more information contact Ingmar@stanford.edu

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Bonnie Ruberg

Bonnie Ruberg, Queerness and Video Games: Identity, Community & Design. Video games represent today's fastest-growing and arguably most expressive digital medium, rich with the potential to tell stories of difference. Yet games, games culture, and the games industry often remain hostile to those who do not fit the profile of the traditional gamer. In the wake of recent online harassment campaigns, it is now more important than ever to turn our attention to the power of games as a platform for expressing diversity. To this end, this talk looks at the burgeoning movement of queer games. For decades, LGBTQ people have been underrepresented in mainstream video games. In the last three years, however, we have seen a blossoming interest from mainstream game studios in increasing queer inclusivity, queer games events like GaymerX and The Queerness and Games Conference have flourished, and queer game-makers from across the country have been leading the vanguard in the new wave of small-scale, personal games. Queerness in video games is more than a matter of who we see on-screen; it's also a matter of identity, community, and game systems. Thinking about games from the perspective of queerness offers us valuable lessons about design itself.

Bonnie Ruberg is a Provost's Postdoctoral Scholar in the Interactive Media and Games Division at the University of Southern California. She received her Ph.D. from the University of California, Berkeley with certification in New Media and Gender & Women's Studies. Her research explores expressions of gender and sexuality in digital cultures with a focus on LGBTQ issues and video games. Bonnie is the lead organizer of the annual Queerness and Games Conference, the co-editor of the forthcoming volume Queer Game Studies (University of Minnesota Press) and the author of many articles on games and games culture. She teaches game design, with an emphasis on social justice, at the undergraduate and graduate levels.