My research is chiefly interested in play and meaning-making in a culture of computation. I teach courses on video games, expressive computation, philosophy and technology, and digital research methods. I have also taught courses in literature and film.
I hold a doctorate in media philosophy from The European Graduate School (Europäische Universität Für Interdisziplinäre Studien) in Leuk-Stadt, Switzerland; and a masters degree in Comparative Literature from The Catholic University of America in Washington, DC.
The venerable Program in Comparative Literature at Catholic — the second oldest program of its kind in the US — was shuttered before I completed my dissertation. EGS offered me a place in their PhD program, requiring some additional coursework. They also asked that I put my earlier dissertation work aside and begin anew under Prof. Schirmacher.
EGS was an extraordinary experience, but it only recently celebrated its 25th year: See the technical details about it here. For a narrative introduction to The European Graduate School, see Dan Hughes’ article, “School for Social Hackers.”)
My dissertation, Game Over: Play’s Republic and the Culture of Computation (2010) was supervised by Wolfgang Schirmacher.
Play’s Republic identifies a troublesome and recurring glitch in the literature from the first decade of video game studies. I argue that video game scholars in the humanities have been chiefly animated by Romantic theories of (literate) ludic subjectivity, and that our frequent idealization of video games as “emancipatory technologies” is technologically naive. The stubborn persistence of conventional literacy means not only that we misread new media technologies, but that we are slow to recognize the novel forms of reason that they advertise.
I propose that digital media scholars put aside Aristotle’s ergon and revisit the agon of Heraclitus; that we ignore Bentham’s “necessity” for the hasard of Malarmé; and that we abandon Adorno’s dyspeptic critique in favor of the lulz of Anonymous. I point to exemplars in the work of Wark (Hacker Manifesto), Ulmer (Teletheory), and Zizek (The Pervert’s Guide to the Cinema). And I suggest how critical “interventions” by 21st Century academics could draw on the practices of hacking, griefing, and de-making.
Until recently, I served for eight years as a core faculty member of the Program in Communication, Culture, and Technology, an innovative, interdisciplinary Master of Arts program at Georgetown University. It is a remarkable place, full of remarkable people.