Call: International Conference Series in Games and Literary Theory

International Conference Series in Games and Literary Theory

Inaugural Conference
University of Malta
Institute of Digital Games and the Department of English
31st October-1st November 2013

This inaugural event in the Digital Games and Literary Theory Conference Series follows on from a successful International Workshop held at the University of Malta last year. That event established the scope, appeal and timeliness of interdisciplinary research involving Game Studies and Literary Theory. While there are ample conference opportunities for discussion of the impact of Game Studies on other fields in the Humanities and on the amenability, in turn, of Game Studies to critique by those fields, events where the affinities with Literary Theory take centre stage are, by comparison, quite rare. This is surprising.

There are, in fact, a number of reasons why a forum for formalised exchanges across the two fields is now overdue, and why the prospect of it should be exciting and enriching for both areas. For one thing, digital games’ modalities could be seen as reconfiguring and possibly subverting conceptualities and orthodoxies integral to literary theory (such as matters concerning textuality, subjectivity, authorship, the linguistic turn, the ludic, and the very nature of fiction).

Additionally, and conversely, theory’s capacities for close and rigorous critique finds ample opportunity for extension in digital games. The discourse on theory in the area of game studies is, by some lights, remarkably slow in bringing to bear those perspectives which theory is peculiarly well endowed to address (for instance, on matters concerning undecidability, the trace, the political unconscious, the allegorical, and the autopoietic, to name but a few likely avenues). To be sure, the encounter between Digital Games and Literary Theory is not inexistent. The lively debate around narrative in games and about the nature of concepts such as fiction and the virtual, as well as discussion about indeterminacies across characters, avatars and players, attest to that. But there can be no doubt that there is much more that can be broached within that encounter. A conference series providing for regular meetings where that could start to occur, allowing for new thinking on the mutuality and divergences between Games and Literary Theory, would be extremely helpful in energizing the debate further and in helping the two areas to find a congenial and productive space for their interaction.

To this end, the organizers of this First International Conference on Games and Literary Theory-based at the Institute of Digital Games and the Department of English at the University of Malta, and networked with a number of academics in the United States, Europe, Australia and Asia equally committed to this interdisciplinary undertaking-are issuing a Call for Papers that invites proposals for presentations that could focus on issues related, but not limited to, any (or a combination of) the following :

  • Textuality in literature and games.
  • Rethinking fiction after digital games.
  • Characters, avatars, players, subjects: What changes occur for literary theory when digital games are considered?
  • New forms of narrative and games.
  • Games and the rethinking of culture.
  • Genetic criticism.
  • Digital games and literariness, and/or intermediality.
  • Digital games and authorship and/or focalization.
  • Autopoiesis, literary theory, and digital games.
  • Reception theory, reader experience, player experience: new phenomenologies for critique.
  • Gender in games, literature, theory: transformation or more of the same?
  • Digital games, literary theory and posthumanism.
  • Game Studies and the New Humanities.
  • Possible Worlds Theory and games.
  • Digital games in literature.

We invite scholars with an interest in the conjunction of games and literary theory to submit abstracts between 1000 and 1500 words including bibliography. The deadline for submissions is April 30th 2013. Please submit your abstract in PDF format to

All submitted abstracts are subject to a double blind peer review, which will be the basis for the programme committee’s selection of papers for the conference. A full paper draft must then be submitted by September 30th.

Papers will be made available to participants on the conference website. A selection of top papers from the conference will form a Special Issue of Game Studies focused on Literary Theory and Games. Notifications of acceptance will be sent out by June 15th, 2013.

Programme committee

Gordon Calleja (University of Malta)
Espen Aarseth (IT University of Copenhagen)
Hans-Joachim Backe (Ruhr-Universität Bochum)
Ziva Ben-Porat (Tel Aviv University)
Ivan Callus (University of Malta)
Diane Carr (University of London)
Patrick Crogan (University of the West of England)
Joyce Goggin (Universiteit van Amsterdam)
Brian Greenspan (Carleton University)
Stephan Günzel (Berliner Technische Kunstschule)
Cynthia Haynes (Clemson University)
Stefan Herbrechter (University of Coventry)
Olli Tapio Leino (City University of Hong Kong)
Frans Mäyrä (University of Tampere)
Laurent Milesi (Cardiff University)
Stuart Moulthrop (University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee)
David Myers (Loyola University New Orleans)
Marie-Laure Ryan (University of Colorado)


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