Research and Publications

On this page, you’ll find a variety of public presentations, academic criticism, and opinion pieces that I’ve done over the years.

All of my research emphasizes putting queer (and) women of color feminist critique at the center of scholarly conversations about video games, popular culture, and technology. I am active in game studies and the digital humanities.

Things You Can Watch Now!

Things You Can Read Now!

Things to Look Forward To!

Gamer Trouble: Feminist Confrontations in Digital Culture

Cover of Gamer Trouble: Feminist Confrontations in Digital Culture by Amanda Phillips, featuring six black icons in two rows: an eye, a mixed male/female bathroom sign, a stick figure getting shot through the head, a bag of money, a skull being measured, and a broken heart.

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Gamers have been troublemakers as long as games have existed. As our popular understanding of “gamer” shifts beyond its historical construction as a white, straight, adolescent, cisgender male, the troubles that emerge both confirm and challenge our understanding of identity politics. In Gamer Trouble, Amanda Phillips excavates the turbulent relationships between surface and depth in contemporary gaming culture, taking readers under the hood of the mechanisms of video games in order to understand the ways that difference gets baked into its technological, ludic, ideological, and social systems.

Things you can watch now!

“Postmillenial Pop Virtual Book Event.” NYU Press. NYU Press authors Tara Fickle (The Race Card), Christopher B. Patterson (Open World Empire), and Amanda Phillips (Gamer Trouble) discuss their new books in gaming studies, in a discussion moderated by Postmillennial Pop series editors Henry Jenkins and Karen Tongson.

“The Queer Art of Dying in Video Games.” University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI, 2019. An expanded version of the Unruly Bodies talk below, that goes into more detail about how I’m developing mechropolitics in terms of the pornography of death. Includes material presented at QGCon, SCMS, and more.

“Unruly Bodies: The Queer Physics of Fumblecore.” Queerness and Games Conference, Los Angeles, CA, 2017. NOTE: the audio doesn’t work for about 30 seconds, but it does eventually kick in!

Roundtable: Queer Digital Humanities. with Kara Thompson, Alexis Lothian, and Leisa Meyer. Race, Memory, and the Digital Humanities Conference, Williamsburg, VA, 2017.

Roundtable: American Studies and the Digital Humanities. with Lauren Tilton and Marisa Parham. Race, Memory, and the Digital Humanities Conference, Williamsburg, VA, 2017.

“Ain’t That a Witch,” femslash vid created for the Queerness and Games Conference, Berkeley, CA, 2013.

Things you can read now!

More Academic

“Negg(at)ing the Game Studies Subject: An Affective History of the Field” Feminist Media Histories 6.1, 2020. Examining how the field of game studies produces feelings of alienation for marginalized scholars.

“Death: Sniper Elite III” How To Play Video Games, ed. Matthew Thomas Payne and Nina B. Huntemann. NYU Press, 2019. Short and sweet exploration of death mechanics in games, from headshots to ragdolls to indiscriminate slaughter.

“Not Gay as in Happy: Queer Resistance and Video Games” Coauthored with Bonnie Ruberg. Game Studies 18.3, 2018. Introduction to the special issue on Queerness and Video Games. How we can push queer game studies beyond desires for inclusion and representation and embrace a queer tradition of rejecting the status quo?

“Game Studies for Great Justice” Routledge Companion to Media Studies and Digital Humanities, ed. Jentery Sayers. Routledge, 2018. Some concrete tips for implementing social justice in your game studies work. *Open-access*

“Shooting to Kill: Headshots, Twitch Reflexes and the Mechropolitics of Video Games” Games and Culture 13.2, 2018. Addresses the racial politics of video game headshots, which encourage twitch reflexes and rapid-fire approaches to combat.

“dicks dicks dicks: Hardness and Flaccidity in (Virtual) Masculinity” Flow 24.03, 2017. Short and sweet, exploring what it means to have a floppy dick.

“Welcome to MY Fantasy Zone: Bayonetta and Queer Femme Disturbance” Queer Game Studies, ed. Bonnie Ruberg and Adrienne Shaw. University of Minnesota Press, 2017. A reparative reading of Bayonetta, who is often portrayed as just another vapid bombshell in video games.

“Reflections on a Movement: #transformDH, Growing Up” Coauthored with Moya Bailey, Anne Cong-Huyen, and Alexis Lothian. Debates in the Digital Humanities 2016, ed. Matthew Gold and Lauren Klein. University of Minnesota Press, 2016. Some founding members of the #transformDH Collective look back on what it meant to try to shake up the discipline from a vulnerable place, and where we go from here.

“Feminism and Procedural Content Generation: Toward a Collaborative Politics of Computational Creativity” Coauthored with Gillian Smith, Michael Cook, and Tanya Short. Digital Creativity 27.1. Special issue, “Post-Anthropocentric Creativity,” ed. Stanislav Roudavski and Jon McCormack, 2016. Computer scientists + game designers + feminists.

“(Queer) Algorithmic Ecology: The Great Opening Up of Nature to All Mobs” Understanding Minecraft: Essays on Play, Community, and Possibilities, ed. Nate Garrelts. McFarland Publishing, 2014. A digital ecology ruled by numbers nevertheless operates according to its own queer time and rhythms.

“Additive Race: Colorblind Discourses of Realism in Performance Capture Technologies” Coauthored with Alison Reed. Digital Creativity 24.2. Special issue, “Performance Art and Digital Media,” ed. Michael Nitsche, 2013. The racialized past and present of motion capture animation.

More Casual

“Death: Sniper Elite III” How To Play Video Games, ed. Matthew Thomas Payne and Nina B. Huntemann. NYU Press, 2019. Short and sweet exploration of death mechanics in games, from headshots to ragdolls to indiscriminate slaughter.

“dicks dicks dicks: Hardness and Flaccidity in (Virtual) Masculinity” Flow 24.03, 2017.

“Gaming” Digital Pedagogy in the Humanities: Concepts, Models, and Experiments open access project, ed. Rebecca Frost Davis, Matt Gold, Kathy Harris, Jentery Sayers. MLA Commons, 2017.

“Can Computers Be Feminist?” Coauthored with Gillian Smith, Tanya Short, and Michael Smith. First Person Scholar, 2015.

Bayonetta, Femme Disturbance, and AAA Queer Desires” In Media Res, 2014.

“5 Things Academics Might Learn from How the Rowdy Social Justice Blogosphere Handles Fucknecks” Fembot Collective Laundry Day, 2012.

Reviews and Commentary

Survivance Confronts Collective Trauma with Community Response” (digital project review), American Quarterly 70.2, 2018.

“Precarious Labor and the Digital Humanities” coauthored with Christina Boyles, Anne Cong-Huyen, Carrie Johnston, and James McGrath, American Quarterly 70.3. Special issue, “Toward a Critically Engaged Digital Practice: American Studies and the Digital Humanities,” ed. Lauren Tilton, Amy Earhart, Matt Delmont, Susan Garfinkel, Jesse P. Karlsberg, and Angel David Nieves, 2018.

Journal Projects

Special Issue, “Queerness and Video Games: New Perspectives on LGBTQ Issues, Sexuality, Games, and Play,” Game Studies. Co-edited with Bonnie Ruberg.

Things to look forward to!

Book Projects

Mechropolitics: Video Games and the Pornography of Death

Mechropolitics takes questions about violence in video games beyond overplayed arguments about causality. Instead, this book aims to develop a vocabulary for discussing the political implications of death mechanics in popular media to understand what happens when death goes digital. Drawing on postcolonial theories of necropolitics to understand the mechanics of death in digital games and animation, Mechropolitics seeks to illuminate the links between contemporary racial and gender politics and the death worlds that we have created in digital media.

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