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CDHI Lightning Lunch: Games Studies and the Purpose of Play

19 September 2023 @ 12:00 pm - 1:00 pm EDT

Please join us on Tuesday, September 19, 2023, 12 pm for University of Toronto’s Critical Digital Humanities Initiative’s (CDHI’s) first Lightning Lunch of the 2023–2024 academic year centred on the intersections of digital humanities and games studies. 

Lightning Lunches are short meetings over lunch featuring the work of three scholars on a theme in current critical digital humanities scholarship. Joining us for this panel are Felan Parker is Associate Professor at St. Michael’s College at the University of Toronto and co-PI on the Swarming Comic-Con SSHRC Insight Grant. His research interests include media industries and cultures with specific focus on games, digital media, and film. Christine Tran is a Doctoral Candidate at the University of Toronto’s Faculty of Information. Their research interests include cultural studies of live video platforms, media studies, and game studies. Shanmugapriya T is a Digital Humanities Postdoctoral Scholar at the Department of Historical and Cultural Studies (HCS). Her research and teaching interests include an interdisciplinary focus in the areas of digital humanities, digital environmental humanities, and digital literature and games. Her expertise lies in building and applying digital technologies for historical and literary research, with a specific focus on text mining, digital mapping, and digital creative visualizations.


Felan Parker, “Game Studies and/or Digital Humanities”
This presentation looks at different ways we study games, and how Game Studies and Digital Humanities (DH) work together. It reflects on the blurry boundaries between these two fields, highlighting their productive overlaps and divergences with a particular emphasis on method. Additionally, the talk addresses the role of disciplines in professionalization in this dynamic landscape. Ultimately, this examination helps us understand the flexible and always changing relationship between Game Studies and DH.

Christine Tran, “Feminist Game Studies for Academic Community Defense in Unfun Times”
GamerGate attacks on feminist game scholars marked an inflection point in the history of harassment campaigns and real-world violence directed towards academics. Information technologies enabled the rise of DH communities, but also gave rise to hostile movements targeting their research today. My contribution to this panel considers how playing with a feminist perspective (drawing from Shira Chess) aids in (un)learning our assumptions about the emancipatory potential of DH tools, and in developing alternative networks of solidarity during unfun times.

Shanmu, “Critical Making of Contemporary Information through Digital-born Creative Works”
Drawing from my iSchool course, “Reading and Unreading Digital-Born Creative Works: Critical Making of Contemporary Information,” I examine digital-born creations and their media styles to dissect current societal challenges. I spotlight student-selected works with gaming elements.

This event will be virtual. Please register on Zoom.



19 September 2023
12:00 pm - 1:00 pm EDT
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Critical Digital Humanities Initiative
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Virtual (Zoom)