I’ll be sharing my research on political affect in games, by kind invitation of Raiford Guins and The Media School at Indiana U. Bloomington, as part of the Voices in Cultural Studies series. Thanks @GuinsRaiford and @IUMediaSchool

Friday, February 18, 2022, 12:40 PM – 1:40 PM EST

For more info and Zoom link access:


No Country For Old Tropes: Representation and Political Affect in Red Dead Redemption II   

Rockstar’s iconic western-themed action adventure series, Red Dead (2004- ), is typically discussed in terms of its visual realism, historical authenticity, or how it engages with quintessential American cultural mythologies. It is often debated whether the games ultimately critique or reinforce of those values expressed within their universes. In this presentation, Murray articulates how the game’s aesthetics, appropriation of the Western genre, as well as its space and time-based experience, all contribute to a concentrated political affect that engages with an American political present—and perhaps even its potential futures. Enhancing a growing game studies discourse on inclusivity, this research further develops Murray’s visual studies of playable representation, grounded in an understanding of form as deeply enmeshed in identity politics, not separate from it.

COMING SOON: Video Games and Spatiality in American Studies

Edited by: Dietmar Meinel, University of Duisburg-Essen

Volume 5 in the series Video Games and the Humanities
Forthcoming February 21, 2022

I’m pleased to share my very first Coda in Video Games and Spatiality in American Studies forthcoming in Feb 2022. It is included in a groundbreaking anthology on games and space in American Studies, edited by Dietmar Meinel. Contributors include: Sören Schoppmeier, Stefan Schubert, Michael Nitsche, Hanne Nijtmans, Nathalie Aghoro and many more.

While video games have blossomed into the foremost expression of contemporary popular culture over the past decades, their critical study occupies a fringe position in American Studies. In its engagement with video games, this book contributes to their study but with a thematic focus on a particularly important subject matter in American Studies: spatiality. The volume explores the production, representation, and experience of places in video games from the perspective of American Studies. Contributions critically interrogate the use of spatial myths (“wilderness,” “frontier,” or “city upon a hill”), explore games as digital borderlands and contact zones, and offer novel approaches to geographical literacy. Eventually, Playing the Field II brings the rich theoretical repertoire of the study of space in American Studies into conversation with questions about the production, representation, and experience of space in video games.