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Saturday, October 13 • 11:00am - 12:30pm
Configurations of Affect, Privacy and Community

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Adrienne Shaw, Christopher Persaud
Queer media scholars have long identified that queerness of media texts is not soley comprised of explicit and obvious representation. Queer authorship, reception practices, and uses of media texts offer possibilities for representation that reflect the fluidity and instability of non-normative gender and sexual identities and practices (Doty, 1993; Benshoff and Griffin, 2006). Yet when it comes to assessing queer representation in digital games, the focus has largely been on explicit forms of representation, even when addressing audience or industry perspectives on this representation. Despite a growing body of work applying queer theory to game studies (Ruberg and Shaw, 2017; Chess, 2016; Youngblood, 2013), however, there is no work that has yet reconsidered the analysis of game content in light of queer media scholarship. Specifically, this paper discusses a model for making sense of queer game content in a way that encompasses the text, authorship, and audience reception, while accounting for the instability of and tensions around defining queer representation in this medium. Drawing on an ongoing archival project documenting LGBTQ content in games (1985-present), we will discuss the process we have developed to address and attempt to reconcile game content, producer commentary, and fan debates around the gender and sexuality of digital game characters in assessing whether a game has LGBTQ content. In concluding, we will discuss the ethical obligations of drawing on fan labor in this type of research.

Anjuli Joshi Brekke
This project explores the potential of creating, sharing and listening to oral stories online to open affectively charged spaces for listening across difference. In a world in which we are increasingly able to tailor the technologies that surround us to echo back our own voices and worldviews, we seem less willing to slow down and listen deeply to the voices of those whose presence risk placing our tidy worlds into turmoil. This project explores the affective political potential of both the processes of production and dissemination of the multiplatform oral history project StoryCorps. Drawing together recent work on affect from rhetorical studies, cultural studies and new media studies, this project uses textual analysis to analyze how the various StoryCorps platforms (NPR segments, the podcast, the StoryCorps me app) generate affective archives that invite different forms of interactivity from listeners. This paper explores the affective power of mediated voice to bring minoritized experiences and calls for equity to the ears of broader publics. It is significant because it highlights the boundaries and possibilities of digital storytelling as a way to connect with others across difference. The boundaries remind us of the persistence of structures of marginality that limit the seemingly democratic practices of storytelling in a digital age; the possibilities gesture to the power of minoritized voices to disrupt entrenched narratives. The significance of these stories rests in their claim to be at once particular and generalizable, and the digital format enables their travel in new ways and to new audiences.

Christian Simon Ritter
This paper examines how professional practices of software developers forge global assemblages in the oil and gas industry by shedding light on the implementation of cloud technologies within a Norwegian-based digital service company. Delivering digital solutions to oil and gas extracting corporations, this company primarily develops proprietary software providing engineers with business intelligence dashboards that assist in managing the assets involved in the extraction of resources. This extended case study seeks to gain a better understanding of the materialities emerging in cloud environments by illuminating transnational divisions of labor within global assemblages. Committed to a holistic contextualization, this mixed-method investigation is primarily based on ethnographic fieldwork, including participation in industry events and a three-month secondment in a small-scale digital service company. Drawing from a materialistic approach to internet technologies, the study provides a comprehensive account of the digital service company since its founding in 2001. Based on evidence from industry events and a long-term immersion in the working lives of software developers, I suggest that the implementation of cloud technologies in the oil and gas industry prompted new digital divisions of labor and replaced the physical travel of professionals with a remote control system facilitating an enhanced circulation of data. The findings of this investigation imply that cloud computing continues to restructure the global economy and accelerates the migration of data through internet technologies.

Yuan Stevens, Ryan Ellis
Anti-hacking laws in both the U.S. and Canada are now over 30 years old, with the U.S. Computer Fraud and Abuse Act enacted in 1986 (CFAA) and amendments to Canada’s Criminal Code concerning computer-assisted crime in 1985. Despite significant attention to anti-hacking laws in the U.S., further research is needed to better understand how Canadian policymakers have sought to regulate computer hacking particularly in comparison to the US.

This paper seeks to track the continual divergence, rooted in history, between Canadian anti-hacking laws and that of its American counterparts, which has led to far less litigation in Canada against alleged computer-assisted crime. Using comparative historical and legal analyses, it examines the contexts in which the American and Canadian governments implemented their initial anti-hacking laws and the evolution of how courts in each country have broadly come to interpret these laws in intervening years. This examination is augmented by discourse analysis of each laws’ legislative documents, with a focus on the impact that American and Canadian notions of property rights had on these laws. More specifically, this paper accomplishes two things: it focuses on the distinct underlying values and metaphors that sit at the foundation of initial U.S. and Canada responses to computer hacking, and examines the divergent trajectory of these legal approaches across decades.

avatar for Anna Jobin

Anna Jobin

Researcher, ETH Zurich


Saturday October 13, 2018 11:00am - 12:30pm EDT
Sheraton - Salon 5