2016, MA English, Loughborough University
2014, BA English, Loughborough University
Doug Stark is a Ph.D. candidate in the English program at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill. His research and teaching concerns twentieth- and twenty-first-century philosophy, cultural theory, literature, film, art and new media – specializing in the history and theory of games. Doug’s dissertation, Gaming as a Way of Life: Towards a Biopolitics of Play, addresses a present phenomenon that confounds traditional theories that define play by its autonomy from everyday life, namely, a preponderance of the game structures that saturate our contemporary world purport to exercise proficiencies pertinent beyond the scene of play — such as the apps on our phones that offer points, dangle badges, and display leaderboards to motivate exercise, language-learning, task-management, and even sleeping. By way of chapters on the British Empire’s implementation of cricket to “civilize” the colonized, the video game’s derivation from military-industrial training tools, the quotidian practice amateur gaming entails, and the professional esport athlete’s regimen, the dissertation demonstrates that the organization of life by games is not novel and that the activity of play recurs in recent history as a central, often tacit, means of adapting players to new technologies, economies, and systems of governance. It argues that the common sense that play is “free” not only belies this operation of power but also precludes harnessing the life organizing propensity of games to inhabit the world differently. Doug’s writing appears in journals Extrapolation, Journal of Gaming & Virtual Worlds, Post-45, Eludamos, Qui Parle and Leonardo, as well as edited collections Playing the Field and Encyclopedia of Video Games.
- Stark, Doug. “Exercises in Humility: Gregory Bateson on Contingency, Croquet, and Revising Habits of Thought Through Play.” Leonardo, special section on “Indeterminacy After AI,” forthcoming 2022.
- Stark, Doug. “Better Problems: Neoliberalism, Strategic Achronicity, and the Experimental Games To-Be-Made.” A review essay concerning Patrick Jagoda’s Experimental Games (2020). Qui Parle, vol. 30, no. 2, December 2021, pp. 399-419, https://doi.org/10.1215/10418385-9395334.
- Stark, Doug. Encyclopedia of Video Games: The Culture, Technology and Art of Gaming, 2nd ed., edited by Mark J. P. Wolf, Greenwood Press, 2021, pp. 1104-1107.
- Stark, Doug. “Training for the Military? Some Historical Considerations Towards a Media Philosophical Computer Game Philosophy.”
Eludamos, vol. 11, no. 1, 2020, pp. 125–144, https://eludamos.org/index.php/eludamos/article/view/vol11no1-8.
Stark, Doug and Teresa O’ Rourke. “The Lost Futures of BoJack and Diane.” Post45, special cluster on Leaving Hollywood: Essays After BoJack Horseman, 2020, https://post45.org/2020/11/the-lost-futures-of-bojack-and-diane/.
- Stark, Doug. “Reimagining Play with Lewis Carroll’s Croquet.” In Media Res, March 2020, http://mediacommons.org/imr/content/reimagining-play-lewis-carroll%E2%80%99s-croquet.
- Stark, Doug. “Unsettling Embodied Literacy in QWOP the Walking Simulator.” Journal of Gaming & Virtual Worlds, vol. 12, no. 1, 2020, pp. 49–67, https://doi.org/10.1386/jgvw_00004_1.
- Stark, Doug. “‘A More Realistic View:’ Reimagining Sympoietic Practice in Octavia Butler’s Parable Series,” Extrapolation, vol. 61, no. 1-2, 2020, pp. 151–171, https://doi.org/10.3828/extr.2020.10.
- Stark, Doug. “Ludic Literature: Ready Player One as Didactic Fiction for the Neoliberal Subject.” Playing the Field: Video Games and American Studies, edited by Sascha Pöhlmann, De Gruyter, 2019, pp. 153-173.
- Hobby Departmental Dissertation Fellowship, UNC Chapel Hill, Fall 2022
- IAH Grant, UNC/KCL “Media Aesthetics” Speaker Series and Working Group, Fall 2022
- Game Studies Research Award, DLC lab, UNC Chapel Hill, Spring 2022, Fall 2022
- Collaborative Online International Learning (COIL) Fellow, UNC Chapel Hill, Spring 2022
- IAH Grant, UNC/KCL “Digital Aesthetics” Speaker Series, Fall 2021
- Games and Cultures Humanities Lab Fellow, Duke University, 2019-2020
- Santander Postgraduate Scholarship, Loughborough University, UK, 2014-2016