Laura Op de Beke
My doctoral thesis looks at what I call "Anthropocene temporalities" in video games in order to understand a new structure of feeling particular to these times, characterized by a sense of protracted crisis, anxiety over the future, apocalypticism as well as techno-futuristic hope. This structure of feeling emerges from the realization that human history is tangled up with earth history, which anthropogenic climate change makes abundantly clear.
My thesis moves through a range of different game genres from god games and civilization simulators to experimental art games. In my analyses I look for the construction of temporal affects, for instance anxiety, petro-melancholia, a preoccupation with death, failure and extinction, as well as techno-futuristic hope. My research then grounds these affects in larger cultural contexts, asking what kind of experiences video games generate that are tapping into the cultural and political insecurities of the Anthropocene. This research is part of a larger interdisciplinary project called Lifetimes: a Natural History of the Present.
At UiO I also run a monthly online environmental humanities reading group called un-earthed, in collaboration with OSEH (the Oslo School for the Environmental Humanities) and two peers. A older record of these meetings can be found on my blog. If you want to attend one of the sessions, sign up for the mailing list here - or send me an email.
I am also the principal investigator of the OSEH collaboratory Playing With Deep Time.
I am also editing an anthology on the topic ecogames that is scheduled for publication by Amsterdam University Press in 2022.
I have a BA degree in English Language and Culture from Leiden University. I also have MA degrees in North American Studies and Literary Studies from the same university. In 2014 I was the recipient of the Harting Scholarship which enabled my exchange with University College London. In 2016 I received the Holland Scholarship to finance my stay at the University of British Columbia in Vancouver.
I am trained as a literary scholar but since my graduation I have been branching out into new media scholarship, specifically video game studies, as well as the environmental humanities.
- Harting Scholarship
- Holland Scholarship
- TRAHA (Theodore Roosevelt American History Award) Nominee
- 2019 NASA fellow (Netherlands American Studies Association)
(with the Lifetimes Research Collective) Fossilization, or the Matter of Historical Future. History & Theory, 1 March 2022. http://doi.org/10.1111/hith.
"Pastoral Videogames: Industry, Entropy, Elegy." Ecocene: Cappadocia Journal of Environmental Humanities, vol. 2, no. 2, 2021. pp. 177–191. https://ecocene.kapadokya.edu.tr/index.php/ecocene/article/view/78
"Pipe Dreams: the lifetimes of petro-infrastructures in science fiction literature" Bøygen 2/21: Framtid. https://boygen.net/2021/2-2021-framtid
"Premediating Climate Change in Videogames: Repetition, mastery, and failure." Nordic Journal of Media Studies vol. 3, 2021. pp. 100-104. https://www.doi.org/10.2478/njms-2021-0010
"Procedural Futurism in Climate Change Videogames." Alluvium vol. 9.no. 3: Futurity in Crisis. 2021. np. https://www.alluvium-journal.org/2021/06/04/procedural-futurism-in-climate-change-videogames/
"Anthropocene Temporality in Gaia Games" Kronoscope, vol. 20, no. 2, 2020, pp. 239–259. https://doi.org/10.1163/15685241-12341470
"The Rise of Green Games" EdgeEffects, April 2019. https://edgeeffects.net/green-games/
“Lockdown, Labour, and Leisure: Gaming in Quarantine” Times of Covid-19, April 2020. http://timesofcovid19.temporalities.no/2020/04/24/lockdown-labour-and-leisure-gaming-in-quarantine-laura-op-de-beke/