[Air-L] Fwd: CFP REMINDER: Conference History of Gender in Games (Montreal, Canada)

Mia Consalvo mconsalvo at gmail.com
Thu Jan 8 06:32:48 PST 2015

FYI... last call!

The deadline to send a 800 words proposal is January 11, 2015. For more
details: www.sahj.ca.

*Call for Papers*

Game History Annual Symposium: 2015 Edition

*History of Gender in Games                             *

Bilingual Conference (French/English)

June 26-27, Grande Bibliothèque (Montreal, Canada)

Website : www.sahj.ca

Since the beginning of the 1990s, many scholars have shown concern for the
plethora of gender stereotypes and sexist narratives in video games, as
well as for the lower percentage of female players and of female game
designers. Over time, the solutions advanced to avoid sexism and to bridge
the gaps between men and women followed three different trends.

*First Wave of Game Feminism*

Considering the growing importance of technological literacy during the
1990s, many were promoting the creation of computer games specifically
designed for girls. Even though these games risk naturalizing gender
binaries, it seemed more realistic to transform the game industry one step
at a time, by creating spaces where young girls feel comfortable to play.
Simultaneously, groups like *Quake Grrl* proved that female players can
enjoy beating boys at their own games.

*Second Wave of Game Feminism*

Between 2000 and 2010, the number of female players increased, but the
rarity of women designers, the marginalization of professional female
players, and the proliferation of stereotypical avatars persisted. While
the conception of gender as socially constructed was spreading, more voices
called for gender-neutral games. Some scholars also surfed on this “second
wave” of game feminism by turning their attention to the contextual factors
that explain gender disparity within gaming practices. Such discussions on
gender in games, however, remained mostly centered around white
heterosexual women.

*Third Wave of Game Feminism*

After two decades of game feminism, many scholars are now shifting their
focus toward alternative representations of gender, LGBTQ themes, as well
as self-reflexivity, diversity, sexuality, and masculinity in video games.
Inspired by the most recent developements in gender and queer studies, more
researchers adopt an intersectional approach to gender/race/class/age, or a
postmodern approach to gender as something that we “do” and that is open to
exploration on an individual basis, thus initiating a “third wave” of game


Presented in partnership with TAG (Technoculture, Arts and Games, Concordia
University), CMS|W (Comparative Media Studies | Writing, MIT), Canada
Research Chair In Game Studies & Design (Concordia University), LUDOV
(Laboratory for the Documentation and Observation of Video Games, UdeM),
Homo Ludens (UQAM), and BAnQ (Bibliothèque et Archives nationales du
Québec), this second edition of the *Game History Annual Symposium* will
not only provide opportunities to review the history of gender in games,
but also to document the emergence of a “third wave” of game feminism.
Professionals and scholars from any and all disciplines are invited to
submit a proposal in French or in English that would fit in one of these
four tracks:

*Track 1: Game Feminism*

Invited speakers: Suzanne De Castell and Jennifer Jenson, co-founders
of *Feminists
in Games* (FIG)

How have studies of gender in games evolved in the past decades? Have
scholars found ways to work on this topic without essentializing gender
differences and homogenizing the category “woman?” How can we describe the
third wave of game feminism in comparison with the first and the second
ones? How can studies of gender in computer games benefit from studies of
gender in “traditional games” (role-playing games, board games, dolls,

*Track 2: Game Representations*

Invited speaker: Adrienne Shaw, author of *Gaming at the Edge: Sexuality
and Gender at the Margins of Gamer Culture* (University of Minnesota Press,

How have gender representations in games changed? What similarities and
differences can be observed between those found in computer games and those
found in “traditional” games? Are stereotypical protagonists still
pervasive, or there is more room for nuanced, androgynous, and queer
avatars? Are there more serious games, indie games, or machinima that
challenge stereotypes, educate players on gender issues or question

*Track 3: Game Design*

Invited speaker: Brie Code, Lead programmer of *Child of Light* (Ubisoft,

How has the participation of women as players and developers transformed
game design? Has the game industry created new genres that are more
appealing to women? Has it incorporated, in traditional genres, new
elements that attract female players? Does the evolution of game design
reflect a change of values regarding gender equality or a better tolerance
of diversity? Do computer games provide more freedom than “traditional”
games in terms of gameplay?

*Track 4: Game Culture*

Invited speaker: Todd Harper, author of *The Culture of Digital Fighting
Games: Performance and Practice* (Routledge, 2013)

How have gender dynamics evolved in game communities? Have those
communities opened up to female players and gaymers? To what extend are
sexism and sexual harassment still pervasive in geek culture? Are there new
pockets of resistance? How and in what areas has the game industry changed
its marketing to reach wider audiences than the core young male demographic?

*Abstract Submission*

Proposals of 800 words (plus bibliography) should be sent to
GameHistoryMTL at gmail.com before *January 11, 2015*. The proposals should be
*anonymous*, include a title, and provide a clear synopsis for a 20-minute
presentation. In your email, please specify which track you want to be part
of, provide your name, affiliation, and a short biography. Submissions will
be reviewed by members of the scientific committee. A double-blind peer
review publication project will be launched after the conference.

*Conference chairs for the 2015 Edition*

Mia Consalvo, Professor at Concordia University

Gabrielle Trépanier-Jobin, Postdoctoral Researcher at MIT

*Cultural Events*

• Screening of the movie *Gaming in Color* (2014)

• Exhibition “Gender in Games”

• Closing Reception

• Montreal International Jazz Festival

Mia Consalvo, Ph.D.
Professor and Canada Research Chair in Game Studies & Design
Director, the mLab
Co-editor of Sports Videogames, 2013, Routledge

Concordia University
7141 Sherbrooke Street West
CJ Bldg, 4.407
Montreal, Quebec
514.848.2424 .2574

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