Caucus Race 8.3

The Monitor
News, Announcements and Paper Calls

Call for Papers:

Playing with Mother Nature: Video Games, Space, and Ecology

Editors Sidney I. Dobrin, Cathlena Martin, and Laurie Taylor seek proposals for a new collection of original articles that address the use and place of space and ecology in video games. This collection will examine video games in terms of the spaces they create and use, the metaphors of space on which they rely, and the ecologies that they create within those spaces. This collection will address the significant intersections in terms of how and why video games construct space and ecology as they do, and in terms of how those constructions shape conceptions of both space and ecology.

The editors seek proposals for innovative papers that explore the intersections between ecocriticism, theories of spatiality, and video games. Ecocriticism of video games straddles studying ecology as the Earth (or alternate world setting), nature, and land, while adding physical representation and experimentation through video game spaces and other technological spaces. These video games spaces create their own spatial practice through their representation and through the players' lived interaction with the gaming environments as constructed worlds. Video game spatial analysis comprises the created representation of space in the games, the players' experiences with those spaces, and the nuances by which those spaces are constructed and conveyed, including their portrayal of cultural norms for space and spatiality. In addition, the editors are looking for several papers that specifically address children's culture and education in terms of video games, space, and ecology.

Editors seek contributions which explore and initiate conversations using the triple lens of ecology, space, and video games about areas that may, but will not necessarily, pertain to:

  • Role of imaginary space in video games
  • Implications of Soja's Thirdspace and other spatial theories on video games
  • Artificial intelligence (AI) and artificial life (AL) and the creation of artificial ecologies
  • Games specifically designed for education about ecological concerns, places, or uses (Oregon Trail, free online games)
  • Over-all ecological educational/conceptual effect of video games
  • Environment in video games and how it is constructed spatially and rhetorically
  • Relationship of the players to the game worlds arenas, landscapes, cities, and worlds
  • Rhetorical effect of nostalgic and romantic representations of nature
  • How video games effect eco literacies
  • Rhetorical effect of architecture and the creation of game spaces
  • Function of utopian and dystopian World Constructions
  • Creation of communities within artificial lands (often in MMORPGs, like Everquest homes and communities)
  • Ecologies of play: evolutionary change and progression (powerups and enemy progression in relation to evolutionary models); cycle of life and death and the disruption of that cycle with re-play
  • Game creatures / anthropomorphism; cyborgs / cloning
  • Relationship of science and nature (control in games like Zoo Tycoon, science as a perversion of nature sci-fi games)
  • Analysis of ecolological tropes: mastery or control of nature (SIMCITY and the natural disasters as the opponent; land as something to be controlled and colonized in Civilization)
  • Cultural construction of nature (prevalence of post apocalyptic worlds in Japanese games like Final Fantasy)
  • Virtual zoos viewing and capturing 'nature' (photographs of alien creatures in Beyond Good and Evil, capturing creatures in Pokemon)
  • Intersections of eco-theories and visual rhetoric as portrayed in video games
  • Historical representations of physical spaces and its relationship to the cultural definitions of those spaces (Battlefield 1942, Medal of Honor)

All articles should pertain specifically to game studies scholarship and/or pedagogy. Articles that lend to the theoretical and critical scholarship of video game studies will be favored. The editors are less interested in submissions that simply offer readings of particular games in order to identify that a game might be "read" as ecological.

Please send a proposal of 500-750 words and a contributor's bio by November 1, 2004 to (preferably) e-mail or snail mail address below. (Early inquiries and submissions are highly encouraged). Authors will be notified of acceptance by December 1, 2004. Final drafts of articles will be due: April 1, 2004. For more information, please email the editors at,, or or see the longer CFP online:

The Looking Glass

The Looking Glass invites submissions to all columns and sections for the following special issues:

Displaced Children
Deadline for submissions: 1 October 2004
Publication date: April 2005
Critical, theoretical, and inter-disciplinary articles are welcome on any aspect of displaced children in children's books, children's media, and our world. Some topics might include immigration and emigration, the position of refugee due to war or other conditions, child trafficking and slavery, homeless children, child migrant workers, and fostered and adopted children. Please see Contribute! for submission guidelines and editorial policies.

Japanese Children's Literature and Culture
Deadline for submissions: 1 October 2005
Publication date: April 2006
Critical, theoretical, and informative articles are welcome on any aspect of Japanese children's literature and culture. Some topics might include the history of children's literature and writing for children in Japan, genre surveys, analyses of modern and contemporary Japanese children's literature, technology and Japanese children's literature, manga and anime, World War II in Japanese children's literature, Japanese children's literature in translation into English and other languages, imported children's literature translated into Japanese, teaching children's literature in Japan, children's literature publishing in Japan, and various aspects of Japanese children's culture. Please see Contribute! for submission guidelines and editorial policies.

The Looking Glass also invites scholarly submissions for the following special topic to be highlighted in Alice's Academy, its scholarly refereed section:

Magic Realism in Children's Literature
Submission deadline: 1 September 2005
Publication date: January 2006
Articles are welcome on any critical or theoretical aspect of magic realism in children's literature. Please see Contribute! for submission guidelines and editorial policies.

The Looking Glass: new perspectives on children's literature

ISBN 1551-5680