CFP: Celebrities of Gaming: The 5th Jyväskylä Autumn Seminar

Ce­le­bri­ties of Ga­ming
The 5th Jyväskylä Autumn Seminar
University of Jyväskylä, Finland
November 21–22, 2019

Over the past decades, a variety of celebrities have emerged from gaming cultures (Aarseth 2004, Chee 2006; Jin 2010, Newman 2016). These celebrities range from veteran developers (Roberta Williams, Sid Meier, IceFrog), cherished characters (Super Mario, Lara Croft, Pikachu), and influential critics (Anita Sarkeesian, Emily Short, Thorin Shields) to the more recent content creators (SSSniperWolf, Pewdiepie, iHasCupquake), live-streamers (Ninja, Pokimane, Shroud), and esport stars (Scarlett, Boxer, Faker), among others (see Lamerichs 2018, Abidin 2018, Baym 2018, Taylor 2018). We invite you to join a two-day seminar organised by the Department of Music and Culture Studies at the University of Jyväskylä, in collaboration with the Centre of Excellence in Game Culture Studies. The seminar will address questions such as what does celebrity mean in game cultures? What are the politics of visibility and celebrity afforded by gaming platforms and their wider ecologies of digital connection? What are the differences between fictional celebrities and the fiction of celebrity as they relate to shifting notions of authenticity in online cultures? How does controversy circulate and how are celebrity and notoriety monetized in gaming’s infrastructures and discourses? What are the life cycles of gaming celebrities and how do they relate to legacy media and popular culture more generally? Topics may include but are not limited to:

• Fan practices and platform affordances in relation to gaming celebrities
• Parasocial relationships and mediated intimacies with gaming celebrities
• Esports stars as celebrity athletes
• LGBTQI+ celebrities of gaming
• Intersectional approaches to celebrity in gaming cultures
• Celebrity in non-western gaming cultures
• Philosophical issues related to celebrities and celebrity
• Political economy of gaming celebrity
• Aspirational and relational labour of gaming celebrities

We welcome submissions using a variety of approaches, including but not limited to:

• game studies
• celebrity studies
• internet research
• fan studies
• sports sociology
• production studies
• cultural and creative industries
• media and cultural studies

We are proud to have Katrin Tiidenberg (Associate Professor, Tallinn University) and Florence Chee (Assistant Professor, Loyola University Chicago) as keynote speakers.

Katrin Tiidenberg, PhD is an Associate Professor of Social Media and Visual Culture at the Baltic Film, Media, Arts and Communication School of Tallinn University, Estonia. She is the author of ”Selfies, why we love (and hate) them”, as well as ”Body and Soul on the Internet – making sense of social media” (in Estonian). Tiidenberg is on the Executive Board of the Association of Internet Researcher and the Estonian Young Academy of Sciences. She is currently writing and publishing on sex, social media, visual social media practices and digital research ethics.  More info at

Florence Chee, PhD is an Assistant Professor of Digital Communication and Director of the Social & Interactive Media Lab (SIMLab) at Loyola University Chicago. Her research examines the social and ethical dimensions of emergent digital lifestyles with a particular focus on games, social media, mobile platforms, and translating those insights across industrial, governmental, and academic sectors. She is a faculty affiliate of the Center for Digital Ethics and Policy. Her most recent publication in Digital Studies questions how we as researchers of online communities can establish best practices through an ethics of care so that we might better understand the power dynamics we must negotiate when studying toxic environments and individuals targeted for harassment. She is currently working on The Social at Play, a book-length examination of Korean gaming culture.

Please send an abstract of 500 words through our online submission form by August 31, 2019 (new deadline).  Notifications of acceptance will be sent to the authors by September 15. After the conference, selected abstracts will be invited for special issue journal publication as full articles. For questions, please contact Raine Koskimaa () or Veli-Matti Karhulahti ().


Aarseth, Espen. (2004). The game and its name: What is a game auteur? In Torben Grodal et al. (Eds.) Visual authorship: Creativity and intentionality in media, 261-269.

Abidin, Crystal. (2018). Internet celebrity: Understanding fame online. Emerald Publishing Limited.

Baym, Nancy (2018). Playing to the crowd: Musicians, audiences, and the intimate work of connection. NYU Press.

Chee, Florence. (2006). “The games we play online and offline: making Wang-tta in Korea.” Popular Communication: The International Journal of Media and Culture. Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates Inc. Vol. 4(3), pp. 225-239.

Jin, Dal Yong (2010). Korea’s online gaming empire. The MIT Press, 2010.

Lamerichs, Nicolle (2018). Productive fandom: intermediality and affective reception in fan cultures. Amsterdam University Press.

Newman, James. (2016). Stampylongnose and the rise of the celebrity videogame player. Celebrity Studies, 7(2), 285-288.

Taylor, T.L. (2018). Watch me play: Twitch and the rise of game live streaming. Princeton University Press.