Call for Papers for International Conference on Video Games, April 2018


The international conference Playing the Field: Video Games and American Studies is being organized by the Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität Munich and takes place on April 27-29, 2018 at the Amerikahaus.

About the conference
This conference will provide the first opportunity for scholars in American Studies working on video games to connect, share their research results, workshop their projects, and start building a network that so far exists in separate clusters at best. At the same time, the conference also sets out to discuss the particular perspectives that American Studies with its highly diverse toolbox of theoretical and practical approaches may bring to the analysis of video games, and how in turn other approaches to video games (and the games themselves) affect and change these established theories and methods.

Call for papers
Papers may draw on the rich repertoire of American Studies – ranging from strategies of close reading to queer theory, from feminist analyses to ecocritical approaches, from myths and symbols to postnationalism — and may re-read this repertoire as it is modified by Video Game Studies and its unique approaches to notions such as performativity, embodiment, intermediality, narrativity, interaction, and many more.


Scholars are therefore invited to submit proposals that critically explore these interconnections. This may occur on an entirely theoretical level or through a detailed analysis of a single game, from a historical perspective or a political or economic one, focusing on gameplay mechanics, narrative immersion or their respective subversion; considering the global video game market or local contexts of production, reception and criticism; delving into the frameworks of technology and coding; interrogating the production of virtual and real spaces and places; highlighting the interplay of image, music, sound, touch, movement, and text; inquiring into notions of community and dissent among gamers; tracing the impact of video games as high, popular, and unpopular cultures; or describing the pedagogical use of video games or the sociopolitical controversies around them.


Anything is fair game: hardware and software and wetware; casual and hardcore; e-sports and streaming; mobile and stationary; PC and console; retro and contemporary; AAA and indie; achievements and high scores; gamification and metagaming; cheating and modding; WASD and controller; VR and flatscreen; and anything in between. It’s dangerous to go alone, so let’s explore together how video games can play the field of American Studies.

If you would like to present a paper at the conference, please submit a proposal of no more than 300 words.
If you would like to discuss your work in progress in a small-group workshop at the conference, please submit a proposal of no more than 500 words.

The deadline for all submissions is August 1, 2017.
Please send your proposal along with a brief biographical statement to Sascha Pöhlmann at poehlmann@lmu.de.

More information
LMU Website on Playing the Field: Video Games and American Studies