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[Commlist] CfP: History of Games 2020

Thu Nov 21 14:52:30 GMT 2019

History of Games Conference 2020

Collegium Maius

ul. Jagiellońska 15

Jagiellonian University


27th – 29th May 2020

Submissions via EasyChair:

Conference Theme:

Transnational Games Histories

Call for Papers:

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.

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

Submissions of 750 words including references are welcome to the conference and will be double blind peer reviewed.

Open: 18th November 2019

Close: 13th January 2020

Notifications of acceptance:

Sent to authors 29th February 2020

Submit via EasyChair:

Conference Cost:
130 EURO

Included in Conference Cost:

Welcome package for delegates

Three day conference

Coffee/tea breaks and Lunch for Delegates

Visit to Krakow Pinball Museum

Conference Dinner

Conference After Party

Support for Students / Unwaged For Attendance at Conference:

There may be a fee waiver available for the History of Games Conference for students and unwaged. This will be assessed on a case-by-case basis and you must be presenting at the conference to be eligible for consideration. Further details to follow.

Confirmed Keynote Speakers:

Aphra Kerr (Maynooth University, Ireland)

Aleksandra Klęczar (Jagiellonian University, Poland)


Jagiellonnian University is the oldest academic institution in Poland, established in 1364, and as the conference takes place within the oldest part of the campus, it provides excellent ambience for discussion and reflection on the histories of games. The institution host is the Game Research Centre, which specialises in the study of games of all types: with over a dozen young scholars involved in research of this kind, the Centre is particularly vibrant and diverse, given that it has hosted researchers from Denmark, Russia, Indonesia, India and Brazil.

Alongside the host Game Research Centre, which has extensive experience in hosting game related events, Jagiellonian University is also home to UBU Lab ( a laboratory devoted to the research of digital literature and demoscene and is the proud purveyor of fully-operational vintage hardware and most vitally, the knowledge to use it!

Being a popular tourist destination, Krakow is a city with excellent connections with - practically - the entire world. The cost of living in Poland and therefore visiting the city is relatively low, making it appealing for scholars from outside the Global North to attend, as well as those with limited access to funds such as Early Career Researchers. Krakow is a city well known for its ease of access, centred around the largest Gothic square in Europe with excellent communications in the city via bus, tram and train and international connections via train to other European venues. For players of games, Krakow is home to the ‘future-past’ of CD Projekt: RED, one of the most critically acclaimed developers operating in the world today with works including The Witcher and the forthcoming Cyberpunk 2077.

Accomodation and Transport:

Krakow is popular destination for holidays and business and has excellent air, rail and road links with cities around the world. There is a plethora of excellent accomodation and further details will follow on our website.

The Steering Committee look forwards to welcoming you to Krakow in May 2020!

Steering Committee:

Lynn Alves, Gabriela Kurtz, Carl Therrien, James Newman, Kristine Jørgensen, Alex de Voogt, Olli Tapio Leino, Gathoni Mwai, Henry Lowood, Ida Kathrine Hammeleff Jørgensen, Jaroslav Švelch, Paweł Grabarczyk, Jesper Juul, Mark JP Wolf, Micalea Romanini, Guillaume Roux-Girard, Arseniy Deriglazov, Bora Na, Helen Stuckey, Alex Wade (Committee Chair)

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