Dispatch from Kate Mattingly, Ph.D. candidate in Theater, Dance, and Performance Studies, and Designated Emphasis in New Media.
Last Thursday, February 26th, Professor Chris Goto-Jones of Leiden University in the Netherlands delivered a lecture as part of the History and Theory of New Media lecture series. His talk, entitled “Gamic Orientalism,” offered questions about how embodiment participates in ideological discourses. Using analysis of the video game Street Fighter, as well as commentary from those who play the game, Goto-Jones posited a pair of claims: “practicing fighting games makes you better at fighting games,” and “embodied transformation that results from mastery of the games brings visible normative and ethical transformation in everyday life.” The lecture sparked a range of responses and debates, with topics such as gender, sexuality, ethnicity, and racialized speech patterns being brought into the conversation. Goto-Jones’s research into visuality, interactivity, and digital cultures is part of a 5-year project funded by the Netherlands Organization for Scientific Research (NWO), and entitled: Beyond Utopia: New Politics, the Politics of Knowledge, and the Science Fictional Field of Japan. According to Goto-Jones, “This project aims to explore the ways in which non-conventional spaces (the non-European and the non-textual – in this case Japan and digital/visual culture) can make creative and innovative contributions to political thought more widely.” The project began in 2010 and has received 1.5 million euros of funding.