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Lawrence Technological University
21000 West Ten Mile Road
Southfield, MI 48075-1058

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  ALT+F4: Rebooting Community after GamerGate

In August of 2014, the hashtag #Gamergate emerged online, used as a weapon deployed against women in the video game industry. Through online harassment tactics, including threats of physical violence, GamerGate constituted an instance of digital mass mobilization deliberately attacking what was perceived to be a turn away from gaming culture’s historical association with young male players. As commentators have since noted, GamerGate would become a precursor to subsequent social media mass mobilizations, including disinformation campaigns, conspiracy theories, and online grievance culture.

This conference seeks to revisit the social and cultural implications of GamerGate on its ten year anniversary. To be held over four days in September 2024, this gathering of academics, designers, and community participants is designed to extend current conversations of game development and game studies beyond the existing heteronormative, hegemonic discourses through offering an integrated, multiperspectival, digital humanities retrospective focused on the social and technological sources and afterlives of GamerGate.

This event is going to be held during the Detroit Month of Design : September 1-30, 2024.

Conference Registration is coming soon; registration link will be open April 2024.

There are several hotels within walking distance of the University.

Reservations can be made with special pricing at the Comfort Suites Southfield . For special pricing, all reservations must be made before 9/5/2024 .

Additional accomodations can be made with the following nearby hotels:

Kishonna L. Gray

Professor in Writing, Rhetoric, & Digital Studies and Africana Studies
Director of Undergraduate Studies
Director, Faculty Learning Community on eSports and Gaming

Dr. Kishonna L. Gray (@kishonnagray) is Professor in Writing, Rhetoric, & Digital Studies and Africana Studies at the University of Kentucky. She is an interdisciplinary, intersectional, digital media scholar whose areas of research include identity, performance and online environments, embodied deviance, cultural production, video games, and Black Cyberfeminism.  

Rachel Kowert

Research Psychologist
Founder, Psychgeist

Dr. Kowert's keynote is titled Loud Misogyny, Silent Support: The lasting influence of #GamerGate on gaming cultures

Rachel Kowert, Ph.D, is a research psychologist, Research Director of Take This , visiting professor at the University of York (UK), and founder of Psychgeist , a multimedia content production studio for the science of games and pop culture. She is a world-renowned researcher on the uses and effects of digital games, including their impact on physical, social, and psychological well-being. In her current work, she serves as one of the primary investigators on the first grant-funded project from the Department of Homeland Security about games and extremism. She has spoken about her work to thousands of people across the globe, including the United States Congress, United Nations, and Department of Homeland Security. An award-winning author, she has published a variety of books and scientific articles relating to the psychology of games and, more recently, the relationship between games and mental health specifically. She also serves as the editor of the Routledge Debates in Media Studies series and the series from ETC Press, The Psychgeist of Pop Culture . In 2021, Dr. Kowert was chosen as a member of The Game Awards Future Class, representing the best and brightest of the future of video games. Dr. Kowert has been featured in various media outlets, including NPR , the Washington Post , the Wall Street Journal , the Atlantic , New York Times , and Wired Magazine. To learn more about Rachel and her work, visit www.rkowert.com

Anita Sarkeesian

Media Critic
Creator,  Tropes vs. Women in Video Games

Anita Sarkessian is the creator of the award-winning  Tropes vs. Women in Video Games , a critically acclaimed video series exploring the history of women's representation in gaming that has garnered nearly 14 million views on YouTube alone. Her work as a media critic, public speaker, and filmmaker who thrives at the intersection of digital culture, accessibility, and social justice helped create a new lexicon and sparked a paradigm-shifting conversation about improving the representations of magrinalized people in video games. She has been featured in The New Yorker , on Good Morning America , and The Colbert Report as well as being named one of TIME's 100 Most Influental People

Additional Speakers are forthcoming. Please direct any questions to the Organizing Committee here .

Call for Papers: "Alt+F4: Rebooting Community after Gamergate"

A Public Humanities Symposium Hosted by Lawrence Technological University

Abstract Submissions now LIVE through the conference portal via EasyChair here

In the decade following the #GamerGate controversy, the urgency for a nuanced understanding of both social conflicts and inclusive community within digital spaces has become increasingly apparent. Lawrence Technological University’s "Alt+F4: Rebooting Community after Gamergate" is an academic and community facing symposium that responds to this need by uniting diverse scholarly approaches that take up and challenge the racialized and gendered injustices prevalent across online spaces while foregrounding existing attempts to radically imagine–and produce–other digital worlds. Our gathering will convene a wealth of multidisciplinary and transdisciplinary scholars who will examine digital spaces as structured by histories of domination and exclusion, yet also opportunities for the expression of marginalized identities and experiences.

Our symposium addresses these complexities by acknowledging and investigating the uneven promise of technological spaces, where issues of democracy and social justice are debated, enacted, and contested. Recent scholarship in social media and streaming economies (Johnson, Carrigan, & Brock, 2019; Tran, 2022; Van Dijck & Poell, 2015), disinformation studies (Marwick et al., 2022; Pavliuc et al., 2023), Black technostudies (Benjamin, 2019; Gray, 2020) and democracy in the digital age (Berry & Fagerjord, 2017; Schwanholz, Graham, & Stoll, 2018) provide a scaffold for our examination of the state of digital democracy, historical and current modes of social media toxicity, and emerging models for inclusive and equitable community-building endeavors in gaming and digital culture. By reflecting on the nexus of social gaming, media ecologies, and political life participants will explore the broader ramifications of digital interactions that extend beyond the content of the games themselves.

As a transdisciplinary gathering, our symposium will bridge academic theorization and community practice. In addition to inviting scholars to consider the narrative of #GamerGate within a broader spectrum of social media and digital economies, we invite game developers, designers, coders, and players to consider the ways gaming as a praxis extend beyond the play space into community and world-building activities, including platforms like YouTube, Twitter, Discord, and Twitch. Ultimately, the goal of the symposium is to use critical analysis and play to explore the ways that contemporary gaming is a hybrid medium with complex politics that forge narratives and meanings with real-world impact.

Call for Submissions:

We invite scholars from a wide range of disciplines, including but not limited to game studies, digital humanities, critical code studies, game development, psychology, science and technology studies, critical media studies, and related fields to submit scholarly papers/presentations that engage with the following themes:

  • #GamerGate as historical, political, social, cultural, and technological
  • intersectional analyses of digital culture
  • the perpetuation of injustice within gaming communities
  • implications of gaming design/ industry practices for media literacy and democratic engagement
  • explorations of gaming/social media platforms and disinformation/reactionary politics
  • applications of humanistic frameworks such as intersectionality, critical play, and digimodernism
  • how to understand and reshape digital narratives post-GamerGate
  • critical play as methodology for exploring identity
  • Black studies and gaming
  • joy, care, and inclusivity collectivity in gaming
  • gaming as political world-making
  • subcultural and parasocial relationships on cultures around games
  • social media as sites of trauma, psychological development, and cognition

Contributions should be informed by, but not limited to, the aforementioned theoretical frameworks and should aim to further our understanding of the social, cultural, psychological, and political dynamics within techno-cultural spaces post-GamerGate.

We await your proposals with keen interest, anticipating a symposium that not only reflects on the past but actively shapes a more inclusive and ethical digital future. A comprehensive website with submission details and further information will be forthcoming. Join us in this essential dialogue that unites academic, industry, and public spheres to understand and promote a democratic and inclusive digital world.

Symposium Details:

  • Dates: September 26-28, 2024
  • Location: Southfield, Lawrence Technological University
  • Organizers: Department of Humanities, Social Sciences, and Communication; Department of Art and Design; College of Arts and Sciences; College of Architecture and Design; Lawrence Technological University

Submission Guidelines:

Please submit an abstract of no more than 250 words via the conference portal via the Conference EasyChair here . Submissions should be aligned with the symposium's focus on inclusive digital cultures. Selected papers will be invited to contribute to an edited scholarly collection.


Important Dates:

  • Extended Abstract Submission Deadline: April 11, 2024
  • Notification of Acceptance: April 22, 2024

Contact the Organizing Committee for more information here .

Committee Invitations have been sent. Current Members include:

  • Neil Jones, Game Developer, Never Yield
  • Timothy Welsh, Associate Professor of English, Loyola University of New Orleans
  • Edmund Chang, Associate Professor of English, Ohio University
  • Alenda Chang, Associate Professor in Film and Media Studies, University of California Santa Barbara
  • Francesco Ruotolo, Assistant Professor of Psychology, University of Campania
  • Kat Schrier, Associate Professor and Founding Director of the Games and Emerging Media program, Martist College
  • Marc Ouellette, Associate Professor of English, Old Dominion University
  • Diamond EB Porter, Assistant Professor of Digital Technology and Culture, Washington State University
  • JC Lau, Game Developer and Advocate, ProbablyMonsters
  • Melissa Kagen, Assistant Teaching Professor in the Interactive Media and Game Development Program, Worcester Polytechnic Institute

More Academic, State, City, and Corporate Sponsorships are being extended.