Call for papers

History of Games Conference 2020: Transnational Games Histories

27th – 29th May 2020
Collegium Maius (ul. Jagiellońska 15), Jagiellonian University, Krakow

Following successful Histories of Games conferences in Montreal (2013) and Copenhagen (2018), the Conference Committee is delighted to announce the creation of a biennial series of Histories of Games conferences. The series begins, in late May 2020, in the beautiful Polish city of Krakow.

The theme of the conference, Transnational Games Histories, reflects a changing awareness in the influence of games throughout time and space. Following from earlier calls for a broader and more inclusive approach to the histories of games (Therrien, 2012), games do not belong to one country, nation state or region. Through formal and informal networks (Wasiak, 2015) of production, distribution and consumption games pop up in areas far from their intended market (Swalwell, 2007). Indeed, when they permeate geographical and political boundaries they have the capacity to transform traditional ways of consuming media and even the way individuals interact within society (Švelch, 2018). In doing so, they alter contemporary notions of how these societies are viewed.

As Marshall McLuhan says, as societies change, so do games. By exploring the transnational histories of games, this conference series seeks to provide a forum for presentation and discussion of how transnational games transform across local, regional, national, international and global spaces and times and how they challenge and rework or hold and replicate, the status quo of those societies (Debus and Hammeleff Jørgensen, 2017).

Given the expansive, transnational, transformative and transdisciplinary reach and constitution of games histories, the conference welcomes original submissions from researchers and scholars working across the spectrum of academic disciplines, including, but not limited to: economic history; cultural history social history; computer science; military history; cultural history; media history; memory studies; sensory history; the history of technology; psychology of games; history of play; history of games, history of computing, art history; material histories; ethnography; historical archaeology; museology; information science; preservation; curation; education studies and heritage studies.
Topics to be covered, can include, but are not limited to:

• Board, card, table-top, playground, field, hand games
• Computer, video and electric / electronic games
• Histories and biographies of games designers and developers
• Histories of hardware and software (including board, card, table-top, playground, field, hand games)
• Histories of minorities in play and games
• Local, regional and national game histories
• Material games histories (storage, curation, display, upgrade, degradation)
• Historical Studies of Gaming Media (Magazines, disks, cassettes etc.)
• Sites of play (e.g. amusement arcades, theme parks, bowling alleys)
• Historical anthropology of games
• Animals and play
• Cultural and political discourse of games
• Histories of the games industry
• Wargames and political deployment of games
• Pinball and arcade games
• Home or lone programming
• Convergence of games with other games and media (e.g. chess, Tetris, pool)
• Critical readings of historical games
• Histories and biographies of players and their communities
• Histories of games no longer played
• Games and everyday life
• Histories of games and education


750 words including references
Open: November 18th 2019
Close: January 20th 2020 (until midnight, GMT)
Notifications sent February 29th 2020

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