Panel on Emerging Voices in Black Games Studies

Wednesday, September 20, 2023 11:00 am - 12:30 pm EDT (GMT -04:00)

Poster for event

This panel highlights emerging scholars in Black game studies. Panelists will present recent and/or ongoing work, sharing a glimpse of the emerging research questions animating the field. Topics include Black worldbuilding in and across games (Fletcher), perceptions of Black male exceptionalism in gaming cultures (Dashiell), and the relationship between avatar representation and Black user experience in social VR (DeVeaux).

This event is part of the “ADE for Game Communities: Enculturing Anti-Racism, Decolonization, Equity, Diversity and Inclusion (ADE) in Games Research and Creation” series from the ADE Committee of the Games Institute, University of Waterloo, and is supported in part by funding from the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council.

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This event will be held in a HYBRID format. Please join us in-person at the Games Institute, EC1 on the University of Waterloo campus or online through Microsoft Teams.


Dr. Akil Fletcher is an award-winning anthropologist and a Cotsen Postdoctoral Fellow in the Society of Fellows at Princeton University. Utilizing his research which intersects between Anthropology, African American Studies, and Game studies, Fletcher explores and teaches about the lived experiences of Black individuals in online gaming spaces.

Fletcher earned his Ph.D. in anthropology from the University of California Irvine, where he wrote his dissertation “Playing in Color: An Exploration of Black Gaming Communities and Practices,” which discussed how Black communities use digital platforms to form selfhood and relationships in gaming spaces while circumventing forms of racism and anti-Blackness in games like Final Fantasy XIV and communication platforms like Discord. In doing so, his work has been funded by the National Science Foundation and the University of California.

Cyan DeVeaux is a 3rd year Communication Ph.D. Candidate at Stanford University. As a member of the Virtual Human Interaction Lab and Human-Computer Interaction Group, she researches the psychological, behavioral, and sociocultural implications of augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR). Her current work explores identity, culture, and embodiment in social AR/VR. DeVeaux is a recipient of the NSF Graduate Research Fellowship, Stanford Graduate Fellowship in Science & Engineering, and Stanford Technology & Racial Equity Graduate Fellowship.

Dr. Steven Dashiell is a visiting affiliate researcher in the Game Center of American University, and holds a PhD in Language, Literacy, and Culture. Steven's work focuses on the sociology of language and the nature of discourse in male-dominated spaces, notably gaming, military, and other subcultures. He has published research regarding online discourse, gaming, and masculinity in the Journal of Men’s Studies, Sexuality & Culture, and Games & Culture, among other places.