Call For Papers

Consortium for Computing in the Humanities (COCH-COSH)
Association of Canadian College and University Teachers of English (ACCUTE)
2002 Annual Meeting at the Congress of the Social Sciences and Humanities
May 26-28, 2002
University of Toronto / Ryerson Polytechnic (Canada)


Theorizing Computer Games: Do We Need a New Theory?


Although late to the scene, humanities scholars have begun defining approaches to computer game scholarship, the most common being rooted in studies of narrative, cinema, and dramatic performance. As promising as these perspectives are, Espen Aarseth cautions against the oft-repeated mistake he finds in many recent approaches to digital media:

" the race is on to conquer and colonize these new territories for our existing paradigms and theories, often in the form of "the theoretical perspectives of is clearly really a prediction/description of ." (Aarseth, 1999, 31 & 32)

This joint session between COCH/COSH and ACCUTE will address the problem--if, in fact, there is a problem--with theorizing computer games from perspectives used to explain narrative, cinema, and dramatic performance. If theoretical perspectives for analyzing non-digitally interactive forms of art and culture potentially represent computer games as something they are not, then what are the new questions we must ask about computer games that require new paradigms and theories? What is there about computer games that make them so different from other forms of culture that they need their own theory? Can computer games be understood in terms of narrative, cinema, or dramatic performance? Or does their use of character, plot, time, space, interactivity, user-initiated sequencing, subject positioning, special effects, and new computer technologies require a new theory of computer games?

Proposals for presentations are invited that address these and other questions related to the theorization of computer games.

Submit by e-mail or snail mail a full paper or 500 word abstract plus a short bio and CV by December 15 to:

Andrew Mactavish
McMaster University
School of the Arts
1280 Main Street West
Hamilton, Ontario CANADA
L8S 4M2