Gaming Virtual Bodies: Video Games in South Asian Cities

Tuesday, 10/25/16
494 Wurster Hall

Irene Chien, Assistant Professor of Media and Communication at Muhlenberg College, speaks about moving through South Asian cities both within video games and while playing and producing such experiences. She will talk about her field research exploring the city of Dhaka, Bangladesh, which is the backdrop for some video games. Because of its low-cost technical labor pool, the city is also a production site for games set in other cities and played around the world.

Professor Chien writes about the politics of race and gender in digital media, with a focus on videogames. She is writing a book manuscript based on her dissertation titled Programmed Moves: Race and Embodiment in Fighting and Dancing VideogamesProgrammed Moves examines the intertwined history and transnational circulation of two major videogame genres, martial arts fighting games and rhythm dancing games. Dr. Chien argues that fighting and dancing games point to a key dynamic in videogame play: the programming of the body into the algorithmic logic of the game, a logic that increasingly organizes the informatic structure of everyday work and leisure in a globally interconnected information economy. She explores how games make bodily habituation to new forms of digital technology both intelligible and pleasurable by investing players in familiar racial, sexual, and national identifications. Dr. Chien has published on gaming in Film Quarterly and has contributed essays to Joystick Soldiers: The Politics of Play in Military Video Games and the forthcoming Identity Matters: Race, Gender, and Sexuality in Video Game Studies.

Part of the Cities and Bodies speaker series.

IMPORTANT: 494 Wurster is in the SOUTH Tower of Wurster Hall. If you are on the fourth floor in the North Tower you cannot walk across to the South Tower unless you go down to the third floor.  When you enter Wurster Hall's main (west) entrance, turn right and take the single elevators in the South Tower up to the fourth floor. If you take one of the double elevators you are in the North Tower.