[Air-L] [Call for Book Chapters]- Edited Collection on Subversive Gaming

Aparajita Bhandari ab2725 at cornell.edu
Thu Nov 30 17:11:34 PST 2023

Hello all,

We are seeking chapter contributions for an edited volume on the topic of
subversion in games and gaming culture as part of the *Games in Context
<https://link.springer.com/series/16027>* Series.

Tanenbaum (2013) notes that video game players are often positioned by
designers as “agents of chaos” that are resistant towards pre-authored
narratives and architectures. While this description is overly simplistic
and does not account for the diverse, context-dependent, and sometimes
contradictory goals that motivate play, it does speak to the importance of
the element of subversion in both video games and video game cultures. Both
with regards to underlying code and representational norms, players have
long been invested to some degree in making “a mockery of the author’s
intentions” (Aarseth, 2004): modding kits and associated modding
communities have been integral to gaming subcultures since the early 1980s
(Voorhees, 2014); speedrunners and “glitch hunters” “revel” in disregarding
designers’ operational assumptions about how players could or should
interact with intelligently designed digital spaces (Hemmingsen, 2021,
447); queer, feminist, and critical race reimaginations of games and have
long deployed strategies of transgressive play to illuminate and disrupt
normative assumptions about the “ideal player” (e.g. Gray, 2012; Schleiner,
2001; Sunden, 2009; Ruberg, 2019).

Games, as computational systems that create simulated systems through
narratives and mechanics (Bogost, 2007), are deeply concerned with dynamics
of boundedness and freedom. The nature of play can be understood as
something that pushes up against (and in some cases, threatens) the power
of the game as a world and as a structure of meaning(s) and knowledge(s).
Viewed this way, subversion is a central consideration when it comes to
understanding video games as an artistic medium and social experience.
Subversion in gaming leads inexorably to questions of power; the power to
define meanings, values and truths in both digital and non digital gaming

As diverse forms of media and communication technologies become
increasingly “gamified,” understanding dynamics of subversion and alterity
becomes imperative in order to account for emerging dynamics of domination
and resistance across media landscapes. Thus this book aims to bring
together diverse projects that engage with subversion in relation to games
and gaming cultures.

The peer reviewed book will be published as part of the Games in Context
Series at Palgrave <https://link.springer.com/series/16027/books>. This
series asks us what it means to study, critique, and create games in
context. Titles in this series include *Feminism in Play
<https://www.springer.com/book/9783319905389> *(Edited by Kishonna L. Gray,
Gerald Voorhees, Emma Vossen) and  *Queerness in Play
<https://www.springer.com/book/9783319905419> *(Edited by Todd Harper,
Meghan Blythe Adams and Nicholas Taylor).

Book Editors:


   Dr. Aparajita Bhandari, Assistant Professor of Critical Digital Studies,
   University of Waterloo, Canada

   Sara Bimo, PhD student in Communication and Culture, York University,

What we’re looking for:

We invite academics, researchers, students and industry experts to submit
book chapter proposals that address, but are not limited to, the following


   The potential (or lack thereof) of games in subverting patterns of
   globalization and colonial power, hegemonic political systems, ideologies,
   or structures of power

   Analysis of how games and/or players can subvert traditional
   expectations of gender and sexuality

   Subversive labor practices within the video game, esports and
   livestreaming industries

   Gamification of everyday life

   Investigating how games can act as a medium for societal critique,
   addressing issues such as inequality, race, class, and discrimination or
   alternatively the limitations of the games industry in enacting such

   The subversive potential of in-game art, sound design, and narrative
   structure and gaming environments

   The role of player agency in subversive gaming, including choices that
   challenge ethical, moral, or societal norms.

   The impact of controversial games, censorship, and the boundaries of
   free expression in gaming and gamer communities

   Contributions of independent and alternative game developers to
   subversive gaming culture

Tentative Timeline:

Submit an abstract to us by: January 15th, 2024

Decisions on abstracts: January 25th, 2024

First chapter drafts due by: July 30th, 2024 (Chapters should be between
4000 to 7000 words)

How to Apply:

Interested contributors are asked to submit a 300-500 word (not including
references) abstract summarizing the chapter background, methods, and aims.
The submission should also contain the names, institution of affiliation,
and a short biography of all contributing authors and contact details for
the corresponding author. For inquiries and submissions, please email Dr.
Aparajita Bhandari at aparajita.bhandari at uwaterloo.ca. When submitting
abstracts please put in the subject line “Abstract submission- Subversive


Aarseth, E. (2004). Genre trouble. *Electronic book review*, *3*, 1-7.

Bogost, I. (2010). *Persuasive games: The expressive power of videogames*.
(Cambridge, Mass.: MIT Press, 2007).

Gray, K. L. (2012). Deviant bodies, stigmatized identities, and racist
acts: Examining the experiences of African-American gamers in Xbox Live. *New
Review of Hypermedia and Multimedia*, *18*(4), 261-276.

Hemmingsen, M. (2021). Code is law: subversion and collective knowledge in
the ethos of video game speedrunning. *Sport, Ethics and Philosophy*, *15*(3),

Ruberg, B. (2019). *Video games have always been queer*. NYU Press. NYC,
New York.

Schleiner, A. M. (2001). Does Lara Croft wear fake polygons? Gender and
gender-role subversion in computer adventure games. *Leonardo Music Journal*
, *34*(3), 221-226.

Sundén, J. (2009, September). Play as transgression: An ethnographic
approach to queer game cultures. In *DiGRA Conference* (Vol. 7).

Tanenbaum, T. J. (2013). How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Gamer:
Reframing Subversive Play in Story-Based Games. In *DiGRA Conference* (Vol.

Voorhees, Gerald (2014). "Chapter 31: Shooting". In Perron, Bernard (ed.).
The Routledge Companion to Video Game Studies. Taylor & Francis. pp. 251–


Aparajita Bhandari

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