Associate Professor Liam Mitchell
BA (Thompson Rivers), MA (York), PhD (Victoria)
Chair, Cultural Studies Department
Scott House 201, Traill College
705-748-1011 ext. 6072
Associate Professor Liam Mitchell is the Chair of the Department of Cultural Studies and a former Coordinator of the Media Studies program. 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. It aims to show 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; if the world is not quantifiable, then our infatuation with games tells us something else. This work can be found in his book, Ludopolitics: Videogames against Control, and in journal articles on Bastion, women's voices in videogames, and the reception of Bernard Suits in game studies.
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/1035Y: Introduction to Media Studies, CUST 2035Y: Media and Society, CUST-COIS 3533H: Game Studies, CUST 4535H/4035Y: Contemporary Topics in Media Studies, and CUST 5508H: Media Theory. He has supervised theses on social media surveillance practices, interpretive strategies in videogames, cyberflânerie, digital subjectivity, ludic fiction, and post-apocalyptic videogames.
“Damsels Who Distress: Gender and the Acousmatic Voice in Videogames.” Camera Obscura: Feminism, Culture, and Media Studies 35, no. 2 (2020): 62-93.
“Reconsidering The Grasshopper: On the Reception of Bernard Suits in Game Studies.” Game Studies 20, no. 3 (2020): http://gamestudies.org/2003/articles/mitchell_liam.
Ludopolitics: Videogames against Control. Winchester and Washington: Zero Books, 2018.
“The Political and Ethical Force of Bastion, or, Gameplay and the Love of Fate.” Loading…. Journal of the Canadian Game Studies Association 7, no. 11 (2016): 25-40. http://journals.sfu.ca/loading/index.php/loading/article/view/189/202.
“Karmic Cascades: Ranking Content and Conditioning Thought on reddit.com.” Techné: Research in Philosophy and Technology 19, no.1 (2015): 69-91. http://www.pdcnet.org/pdc/bvdb.nsf/purchase?openform&fp=techne&id=techne_2015_0999_4_2_28.
“Life on Automatic: Facebook’s Archival Subject.” First Monday 19, no. 2 (2013): http://firstmonday.org/ojs/index.php/fm/article/view/4825/3823.
“‘Because none of us are as cruel as all of us’: Anonymity and Subjectivation.” CTheory, tbc 051 (2013): https://journals.uvic.ca/index.php/ctheory/article/view/14794.