Media Studies Coordinator
Classes: CUST 2035Y, CUST 3533H (FA), CUST 4035Y (WI)
BA (Thompson Rivers University), MA (York University), PhD (University of Victoria)
Assistant Professor Liam Mitchell is the Chair of the Department of Cultural Studies and the Coordinator of Media Studies. His work theorizes the relationship between media, culture, and the political by paying close attention to particular technological artifacts, practices, and phenomena, particularly those objects associated with new or digital media. In doing so, it shows how digital media both drive and describe the order of things.
Mitchell’s previous work took this approach to social media including Facebook, Reddit, and 4chan. His current work concerns games. Videogames can provide substantial insight into both the digital and the ludic aspects of the contemporary world: they are an indirect means by which phenomena as disparate as ubiquitous surveillance, big data, drones, nanotechnology, traffic signals, high-frequency trading, and actuarial science can be understood, since phenomena like these function algorithmically, i.e. according to some set of rules and proceeding towards some objective. If the world is quantifiable, then videogames, which take digitality as their foundation, offer a way to understand something unique about contemporary cultural conditions. And if the world is not quantifiable, then our infatuation with games tells us something else. Some of this work has been published already, and more of it will appear in a 2018 manuscript for Zero Books called Ludopolitics: Videogames against Control.
Mitchell’s undergraduate teaching relates directly to his research: it begins from students’ experiences of the media, moving from their daily media practices to theoretical conclusions about what possibilities these practices open up and what other possibilities they close down. He has taught CUST 1535H: Introduction to Media Studies, CUST 2035Y: Media and Society, CUST-COIS 3533H: Game Studies, and CUST 4035Y: Advanced Topics in Mass Media and Popular Culture. At the graduate level, he has supervised theses on social media surveillance practices, interpretive strategies in videogames, cyberflânerie, digital subjectivity, ludic fiction, attention, and misogyny in gaming communities.