First Person Scholar: Re-Imagining the Borderlands

By Evelyn Deshane
First Person Scholar

Queer Game Studies (Bonnie Ruberg and Adrienne Shaw, editors)There’s a scene that Bonnie Ruberg describes in the final chapter of Queer Games Studies (University of Minnesota Press, 2017), which still resonates long after I finished the work. It’s a scene of the inevitable social banter after a panel discussion at an academic conference where, as Ruberg states, she feels “pressured to either tone down my queerness […] or to perform it” (271). For Ruberg, her queerness is not evident in people’s assumptions of her while also simultaneously too evident in her research in queer gaming. She reminds herself to not mention her ex-girlfriend and to silence her kinkiness; she dresses the professional part to blend in and answers questions about her research with a smile on her face—and yet, she still deals with feelings of being “the weird grad student” and with people’s seemingly never-ending questions of “Queerness? And games?” with a twinge of disgust (272). No matter where she went, it never felt as if queer game studies could ever become valid or important–which meant that she herself could not be valid or important, either.

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