Texas Tech University

Megan Condis

Assistant Professor
Communication Studies

Email: megan.condis@ttu.edu

Phone: +1.806.834.0455

Office: 412

Website: https://megancondis.wordpress.com/

Twitter @MeganCondis

PhD, University of Illinois, 2014
MA, Univerisity of Illinois, 2010
BA, University of Illinois, 2007


View Full CV

Megan Condis

Biography

Megan Condis is an assistant professor of game studies at Texas Tech University. Her book, Gaming Masculinity: Trolls, Fake Geeks, and the Gendered Battle for Online Culture, was published in 2018 by the University of Iowa Press.

Research

My research, broadly speaking, investigates the ways that technologies come to be read as signifiers of specific racialized, gendered, and sexualized identities. I intend both to help scholars think through the ways that technologies are used to discipline our identities and to help engineers and developers imagine how they might create technologies that are read and deployed in new and liberating ways. For example, my book, Gaming Masculinity: Trolls, Fake Geeks, and the Gendered Battle for Online Culture (University of Iowa Press, 2018), argues that the proliferation of gendered narratives in and around video game culture has produced a meta-game of masculine performance that one must play to be considered a hardcore gamer. And yet, in spite of all this, women and queer gamers, who have recently begun entering into the subculture in huge numbers, find ways to bend the rules of this game of masculinity, creating ruptures that allow for alternative modes of play. My current research project also investigates how technologies become gendered and how gender is technologized. Designing Women: Sex Bots, Virtual Secretaries and Other Gendered Constructions will be partly a historical study and partly a work of cultural critique. The first half of the book will chart the gendered dynamics of the workplaces in which computing technologies were born and where software is developed today. For example, I chronicle the lives of female phone and radio operators who inspired the feminine voices of personal assistants like Apple's Siri, Microsoft's Cortana, and Amazon's Alexa, as well as the stories of the black female human “computers” at NASA who helped put John Glenn into space. The second half will look at famous depictions of artificial intelligences in popular culture, from the friendly, helpful AIs seen in movies like Weird Science, to the romantic robots in the Japanese manga Chobits, to the rouge systems that run amok in the PC games System Shock and Portal. Finally, I will look at meta-narratives about the reasons why we choose to give gender to our machines like the 2013 film Her and the PC game Hate Plus, each of which deals with the possibility of forming romantic connections with a piece of software.

Methodologies

I use qualitative methods to examine interactive media through the lens of feminist and queer theory. I also design original games, available for free at

https://megancondis.itch.io/

Research Areas

  • Game Studies
  • New Media
  • Gender and Sexuality
  • Popular Culture



Selected Publications

  • Gaming Masculinity: Trolls, Fake Geeks, and the Gendered Battle for Online Culture. University of Iowa Press: 2018.
  • “Fantasizing about the Apocalypse: A Review of Fallout 4.” Resilience: A Journal of the Environmental Humanities, vol. 4, no. 2-3, 2017, pp. 185-190.
  • “Playing the Game of Literature: Ready Player One, the Game of Masculinity, and the Geeky Canon.” The Journal of Modern Literature, vol. 39, no. 2, 2016, pp. 1-19.
  • “No Homosexuals in Star Wars?: BioWare, Gamer Identity, and the Politics of Privilege in a Convergence Culture.” Convergence: The International Journal of Research into New Media Technologies, vol. 21, no. 1, 2015, pp. 198-212.

Teaching Focus

  • Rhetoric
  • Game Studies
  • Film Studies
  • Popular Culture

Leadership & Awards

Named an Exemplary Diversity Scholar by the National Center for Institutional at the University of Michigan.