“Athletes, Geeks, and Gamers: Exploring Gender and Professional E-sports”

February 28, 2013
5:00 pmto7:00 pm

0213-Taylor-flyerBrowsing Room
Knight Library
1501 Kincaid St.

T.L. Taylor is an associate professor of  Comparative Media Studies at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. She is the co-author of Ethnography and Virtual Worlds: A Handbook of Method (with T. Boellstorff, B. Nardi, and C. Pearce; Princeton University Press, 2012), and the author of  Raising the Stakes: E-sports and the Professionalization of Computer Gaming (The MIT Press, 2012) and Play Between Worlds: Exploring Online Game Culture (The MIT Press, 2006).

“Athletes, Geeks, and Gamers : Exploring Gender and Professional E-sports”

While we have a growing, and important, body of literature looking at women and girls in relation to gender and gaming, very little has been written that seeks to understand how boys and men are traversing the terrain. Though we should be cautious about easy category conflation, more attention is needed in unpacking various forms of masculinities, some even under contest, within game culture. E-sports, a form of  organized competitive computer gaming, proves to be a particularly useful site to explore this domain given it intersects conversations about both athleticism and geekiness, classic and potent way-points for the construction of femininity and masculinity. Drawing on my work in professional gaming, I will explore several major forms of masculinity produced in the professional e-sports scene; one centered around ratifying a notion of athletic masculinity and one entangled with constructions of “geekyness” that, at times, has an uneasy relationship to hegemonic masculinity. Though professional e-sports remains a niche slice of game culture, this talk will argue that it presents a strong case study for our continued interrogation of gender, play, and sports.

This lecture is free and open to the public.

Sponsored by the UO Center for the Study of Women in Society, Robert D. Clark Honors College, College of Arts and Sciences, Department of Comparative Literature, and the School of Journalism and Communications.