"I Can Be Whatever I Want To Be (If The Programmers Will Let Me): Rhetorical Borders of Identity in Video Games"
Grant in Aid of Research
Final Report: "I applied for this grant in order to support my travel to this year’s Rhetoric Society of America conference in San Antonio, Texas. As a first-time recipient of the grant, I can say emphatically that it was very valuable in assisting me on this important endeavor. The grant was used to cover air travel and lodging for the weekend and made it much easier for me to present my research and interact with other scholars in the expanding field of video game rhetoric, particularly in how the stories and environments of video games address and represent salient issues of race, gender, and identity. This opportunity was incredibly important both to my scholarly endeavors as well as my pedagogical ones. I learned some new concepts and approaches to the study of rhetoric that will prove particularly useful in my COMM 102 course as well as the other courses I teach in the Communication department, and I have already addressed many of the issues in the specific field of video game rhetoric in the First Year Seminar course I am currently co-teaching. I had the opportunity to interact with individuals who were using rhetorical approaches to study the representation and consequences of salient social issues such as immigration and transgender identity in interactive media. These perspectives were eye-opening and have informed my future research and teaching. In terms of tangible outcomes, this conference was valuable for publishing opportunities. I networked with potential publishers for my academic work, specifically in terms of turning my dissertation research as presented at the conference into a book. I found one potentially interested publisher at the University of Alabama Press and have been in contact with him ever since. My work is currently in the hands of reviewers and I am waiting to hear back. I also submitted a proposed chapter for the conference proceedings. While it was not ultimately accepted the editor did seem appreciative and enthusiastic about the concepts within. These outcomes suggest there is potential value in this work and I will continue to pursue it."