Pierson is a PhD Candidate in the Department of Sociology and Legal Studies. He often uses the euphemism ‘diverse’ to describe his academic interests; they include international relations, game theory, embedded ethnography, social network analysis, and – most saliently – the human act of play. Instead of abandoning any of these focus areas, Pierson threw paradigmatic parsimony to the wind and cobbled them together into a Frankenstein’s monster of a dissertation project, the aim of which is to examine the generation, diffusion, and permutation of strategic thought in communities of play – a range of phenomena collectively referred to as “metagaming.”
Substantively and methodologically, Pierson’s time at NetLab has greatly contributed to his dissertation research. Since joining NetLab in the fall of 2016, he has been involved in the lab’s research on the evolution of collaboration networks in open source software development, disciplinary divides between sciences and the philosophy thereof, and inter-institutional collaboration in biomedical research and development. He is also a founding member of the cult of Brad (the NetLab Linux server).
Pierson is an active member of the University of Waterloo’s Games Institute, where he serves as essays editor for the institute’s weekly open-access game studies publication First Person Scholar. He has also contributed to a number of projects, including The MindCraft Project (an interactive installation in the New Museum’s Ideas City exhibition which re-purposed a popular play platform to explore issues surrounding intergenerational communication and environmental sustainability), and Geek Girls, Gina Hara’s 2017 documentary exploring the practices and perspectives of women in fandom communities.