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.

Kim Kardashian is my New BFF Shira Chess

Abstract: Recently, there has been a growing number of celebrity-focused video games. These games have functioned as promotional tools for celebrities such as Kim Kardashian, Kendall and Kylie Jenner, Brittany Spears, Katy Perry, Jason Stratham, Lindsay Lohan, and Shakira. Celebrity games typically empower players to perform the work of aspirational fame, while promoting the title […]

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What Does a Gamer Look Like? Shira Chess and Nathaniel J. Evans

Abstract: Recent years have seen changes to the video game industry and the image of video game players. There are more games on the market and larger variety of ways to play those games. Yet, despite market shifts, authors such as Shaw (2012)demonstrate that there are still tensions surrounding gamer identification. Even as next-generation systems […]

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When You See it You’ll S**t Bricks Shira Chess

Abstract: The scary stories we tell have meaning. The things that go bump in the night, the things we are terrified by, the monsters that creep under our beds and lurk outside our windows – those are the monsters that have both personal meaning and cultural relevance. Yet medium is also a factor that dictates […]

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The Queer Case of Video Games Shira Chess

In recent years, scholars have theorized about the narrative potential of video games. These conversations have helped to situate a complex new medium into the parameters of older forms of storytelling. This paper argues that these debates often privilege heteronormative formulations of narrative structure. Building on the work of Judith Roof (1996), I illustrate how traditional […]

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We are All Fishes Now Shira Chess

Abstract: Following DiGRA 2014, our Fishbowl was used by some members of the GamerGate movement as proof of the “nefarious” dealings within our academic community. Some have asked the question of whether our Fishbowl “The Playful is Political” should have been accepted, given the negative attention on DiGRA it engendered and ongoing ramifications of that attention […]

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Not Your Mother’s Video Game Shira Chess

Abstract: This essay analyzes the complicated role of motherhood in television commercials for video games, spanning several decades. Video game advertising, in particular, often features mother characters utilizing a kind of double-voicedness. On the one hand, they need to advertise in such a way that the primary target audience for the commercials – young males […]

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Social, Casual, Mobile Shira Chess

GamerGate began in August of 2014, resulting in several women game developers being attacked through harassment (both online and off), doxxing, and violent threats. This essay explores several aspects of GamerGate, paying specific attention to ways that it was affected by an emerging market of mobile, casual, and social games. Additionally, we consider how the […]

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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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