Focusing on the U.S. nineteenth century, my research interests include games and gaming figures in literature, spatial narratives including utopian works, rhetorics of practice and procedure, and textual studies as it applies to the social machinery (broadly construed) of textual production and reception. My current project traces the use and significance of game figures in the mid-nineteenth century to gain an operational perspective on the limitations and affordances of social agency in that moment. Central to this perspective is a belief that possibility matters as much as outcome; the games of this moment model alternative approaches to associative possibility, creating meaningful archives of the options available to a group as well as their particular ways of engagement. At the same time, it is my hope that this study will help to situate the current development of game-like tools within the university (i.e. digital humanities). As we enter an educational era that seeks to mine games and game-like social media to improve both research and pedagogy, we might do well to re-examine a period where nearly all games, for better or worse, were considered tools of education.
Email: daguerreotype at gmail dot com