All posts by Jane Pinckard

February Playthink: Play for Justice

Join us at 6:00pm on Tuesday, February 6th, in SCI 201 at the USC School of Cinematic Arts for a discussion about games and play as art and culture. The theme for this Playthink salon is “Play for Justice.” We’ll be thinking of ways that play can intervene and intersect with themes of resistance, social justice, and equality!

UPDATE: Please note Speaker Emma Bobell is no longer able to present, so we will extend the discussion time!


PLAY FOR JUSTICE: Call for Presentations

Playthink is asking for presentations, talks, demos, panels, etc. around the theme of PLAY FOR JUSTICE! Works in progress for which you want feedback are especially welcome. We also invite projects that can be demoed and will organize exhibition space if we have enough submissions of that nature.

The session will take place Tuesday, January 23rd, from 6-9PM in SCI 201, USC School of Cinematic Arts, 3470 McClintock Ave Los Angeles, CA 90089. Refreshments will be served!

Examples of submissions could be:

A demo of a game with justice themes you’re working on.

Your research on how play subverts power structures.

A history or review of ways play has challenged oppression.

A panel discussion on protest games.

An investigation into trolling behaviors on social media as a form of harmful play.

These are just examples! If you have a question about whether something you’re working on is a fit, just ask!

Submission Guidelines:

The deadline to submit is December 15th. Email your submission to Jane Pinckard [].

Please submit an abstract or an explanation of what you will present. This should be between 250 and 1000 words long. Make sure you explain how your content fits the theme. If you already have slides or a paper, you may submit them along with the abstract.

The format is flexible! Please specify what format your presentation is in. You can aim for 10-20 minutes, or a microtalk/Pecha Kucha style of 5 minutes.

Please include a brief Bio of yourself (and any co-presenters, if you are presenting as a group). (Bios do not count towards the word count.)

All are welcome to submit!

Any questions? Please contact Jane Pinckard: pinckard@ Thank you!

November Playthink #1 — Identity

Please join us 6:00pm on Monday, November 9th, in SCI 201 at the USC School of Cinematic Arts for a discussion about games and play as art and culture. In this meeting we will explore the complex ways games can construct and inform us about identity.

Features speakers include:

Aaron Trammell is a PhD Candidate at the Rutgers University School of Communication and Information. He is also a blogger, board game designer, and musician. He is the multimedia editor of the Sound Studies blog Sounding Out! For his dissertation he is investigating the ways that fan subcultures in the 1960s created the game Dungeons and Dragons. In particular, the importance of affective bonds to their work, and the influence of Cold War motifs on their writing.

Bonnie Ruberg is a postdoctoral scholar in the Interactive Media and Games Division at the University of Southern California. She received her Ph.D. from UC Berkeley in New Media and Gender & Women’s Studies. Bonnie researches, teaches, and organizes community events around issues of gender and sexuality in video games. She is the co-founder and lead organizer of the annual Queerness and Games Conference, a one-of-a-kind event where industry members and academics meet to explore the intersection of LGBTQ issues and games. Along with Adrienne Shaw, she is also the co-editor of the forthcoming book Queer Game Studies: Gender, Sexuality, and a Queer Approach to Game Studies. From 2005 – 2010, Bonnie worked as a games journalist for publications like The Village Voice, Forbes, The Economist, Wired, Gamasutra, and Joystiq.

Steve Cha, MFA candidate in USC’s Interactive Media and Games Division, aspires to create compelling interactive narrative experiences. His interests include vignette games, political narratives, and revisionist works. His thesis work centers on a semi-autobiographical series of vignettes, which explore aspects of life regarding coming out, immigration, family, and the pursuit of happiness.

N.B. There will be one last Playthink on Monday, November 30th!