Skip to main content


2016, MA English, University of Virginia

2013, BA English, University of California Berkeley


Stephanie Kinzinger is a Ph.D. Candidate in the Department of English and the Game Studies Initiative Project Manager in the Digital Literacy and Communications (DLC) Lab Gaming Initiative. She focuses on American literature, science, technology, and critical game studies and teaches courses in literature, video games, and multimodal composition and rhetoric. Broadly conceived, her research investigates experiments in the gamification of reality avant la lettre by considering select authors and game designers from the mid nineteenth century to the present who not only depict otherworldly fictions but also insist that such endeavors have the potential to make the world otherwise. Her dissertation –“Playing Reality: The Promise and Peril of Compositional Realities”– uses literary theory, play studies, and critical game studies to explore how the formal and political possibilities of video games are anticipated—and sometimes preemptively challenged—by American literature from the mid-nineteenth century to the present, and to interrogate how the limits and possibilities of contemporary experiments in Virtual Reality offer new vistas for potentially recodifying current social structures.


  • “Embodied Cognition in Edgar Allan Poe: Eureka’s Cosmology, Dupin’s Intuition.” Nineteenth-Century Literature. 1 December 2022; 77 (2-3): 124–144.

Teaching Awards

  • 2022 Professional Development Award, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill


  • 2023 The James W. Gargano Award, for the outstanding article on Poe written in 2022, The Poe Studies Association
  • 2023 John R. Bittner Award for Outstanding Work on a Dissertation in Literature, Popular Media, and Journalism, UNC Chapel Hill
  • 2023 Digital Dissertation Fellowship, Carolina Digital Humanities, Digital Innovation Lab (DIL), UNC Chapel Hill
  • 2023 Excellence in Critical Game Studies Award, Digital Literacy and Communications (DLC) Lab, UNC Chapel Hill
  • 2023 Thompson-Lumiansky Departmental Dissertation Fellowship, UNC Chapel Hill
  • 2022 Humanities Initiative Grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH)

Curriculum Vitae / Resume