Dr. Shira Chess

Assistant Professor, Entertainment & Media Studies

About: Shira Chess teaches courses in media studies and media writing. Her research focuses on digital media studies with an emphasis on gender and gaming.

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Ph.D., Communication and Rhetoric, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute
M.A. Media Arts, Emerson College
B.A. English, The University of South Florida

Research Interests and Activities

Dr. Chess’ research interrogates the intersections between gender studies and video game studies. In particular, she has written extensively on games that target women audiences. Additionally, she has researched several other topics in digital media including research on “slenderman” memes and pervasive gaming such as the Google game Ingress. Her research has appeared in Journals such as Critical Studies in Media Communication, New Media & Society, Feminist Media Studies, and Information Communication & Society.

This is What a Feminist (Game) Looks Like. Shira Chess

As video games become an increasingly mass medium — not intended for niche audiences but deployed with different genres, styles, and platforms — it is an apt time to rethink the role of feminism in gaming. Feminism, as it is deployed in this paper, considers feminism as discursive, exceeding “women” as its subject, per Judith […]

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Dark Play in Paradise: Stardew Valley and the Negotiation of Abuse. Shira Chess

Stardew Valley, on its surface, appears to be yet another invest-express farming game; players grow crops, tend to animals, mine, fish, and do other idyllic tasks that make it almost feel mundane at first. Yet, as time passes in the game, the player has opportunities to engage in relationships with non-player characters that reveal dark […]

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Book Chapter: Not So Straight Shooters: Queering the Cyborg Body in Masculinized Gaming Shira Chess

Abstract: This chapter offers a “diffractive” consideration (Barad 2003) of posthumanist and cyberfeminist theory, masculinity studies, and research on gender and gaming, that views digital play between straight white men as a form of homosexual contact via cyborg bodies, one that is mediated by the material and semiotic apparatuses of gaming, but no less real […]

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Book Chapter: Neko Atsume: Affective Play and Mobile Casual Gaming Shira Chess

Abstract: In this article, I consider the role of affect in the popular app game Neko Atsume. Neko Atsume is a “cat collector” game where players leave food and toys out for cats. The game’s success is strongly linked to its ability to deploy a kind of affect on players – it relies entirely on […]

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The end of casual; long live casual Shira Chess

Abstract: When we discuss games, as a culture, the games under discussion are often presumed almost always a “core” (or “hardcore”) games. However, video games are change rapidly. The market has been shifting for years with increased revenue and game play occurring in casual and mobile gaming. Revenue streams have are now flowing from digital […]

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KIm is my new BFF: The Looking Glass Celebrity Shira Chess

Abstract: Mobile-based celebrity games are a byproduct of a new, more feminized video game industry. Within celebrity games, the player engages with celebrity culture in a variety of ways, often being transformed into their own brand of celebrity. Celebrity games are a form of hypertrophic media, based on the dyadic interactions between the player and […]

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Teaching Specialties

Dr. Chess’ teaches courses that focus on both understanding and creating digital and traditional media. Prior to teaching in Grady College, she taught at Miami University of Ohio and worked as a game developer and web designer.

Chess, Shira
In the News

Chess explores how video games are marketed to and portray women in new book

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Shira Chess: Focus on Faculty

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Growing demand leads Grady College to offer additional online courses for summer semester

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"Why Are Video Games so Sexist?" via the New Republic

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