Home >> CALENDAR >> Race, Space & Place: 'Buffoons, Goons, and Pixelated Minstrels: The Digital Story That Games Tell'

Race, Space & Place: 'Buffoons, Goons, and Pixelated Minstrels: The Digital Story That Games Tell'

0301 Hornbake Library North (lower level, behind Library Media Services)
Tuesday, February 07, 2017 - 12:30 PM to 1:30 PM

Digital Dialogue: As racial projects, video games legitimize white masculinity and hegemonic ideology through the ‘othering’ process. This is performed via pixelated minstrelsy by depicting Black and Brown bodies as objects to be destroyed and women as bodies to be dominated. The mediated story of Black characters is limited and situated within buffoonery (comedy) or crime and gaming is not exempt. Media outlets have created essentialist notions about Blackness and what it means to have an ‘authentic’ Black experience. And because there are limited counter-narratives, this singular story only confirms hegemonic notions of what it means to be Black.

Dr. Gray is visiting MIT as a MLK Scholar and Assistant Professor for the 2016-17 academic year. Additionally, she is a fellow at the Berkman-Klein Center for Internet & Society at Harvard University, and a Faculty Visitor at the Social Media Collective at Microsoft Research (Cambridge). Her work broadly intersects identity and digital media with a particular focus on video games and gaming culture. By examining game context and culture, her most recent book, Race, Gender, & Deviance in Xbox Live, examines the reality of women and people of color in one of the largest gaming communities.

For more information and to register click here


The AADHum Initiative seeks to prepare the next generation of digital humanists and African Americanists by broadening the conversation around new theories, methods, and tools to explore African American art, labor, and migration. The initiative has been made possible in part by a major grant from The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.

The African American History, Culture and Digital Humanities (AADHum) Initiative’s first sequence, Race, Space, and Place, explores our themes of African American labor, migration, and artistic expression, through a series of complementary Reading Groups (RG), Digital Humanities Incubator (DHI) and Digital Dialogues. The reading group provides a space for critical dialogue and exploration for African Americanists engaged in thinking about their work in terms of the digital. Our DHI workshops, small tutorials and individual consultations offer participants hands-on experience in envisioning and engaging new digital projects— whether they participate in individual sessions or the entire sequence.