Closed Systems / Open Worlds (August 2014)

Deadline for précis: 1 August 2014

Edited by: Jeremy Hunsinger (Wilfrid Laurier University), Jason Nolan (Ryerson University) & Melanie McBride (York University)

This book will consist of explorations at the boundaries of virtual worlds as enclosed but encouraging spaces for exploration, learning, and enculturation. Game/worlds like Second Life, OpenSim, Minecraft, and Cloud Party are providing spaces for the construction of alternatives and reimaginings, though frequently they end up more as reproductions. We seek to challenge those spaces and their creativities and imaginings.

These worlds exist as both code and conduct. Code is a modulating multiple signifier, in that the interpreters of the code vary from human to machine and that our understanding of the signifier changes the worldliness in itself. The conduct of both participants and administrators of these spaces influences how they flourish and then fade. As such the worlds and their anima/animus are socially constructed fictions where authors/creators/users, both above and below the actions are sometimes in concert, yet often in conflict with the space and intentions of the originators.

This book seeks critically engaged scholars who want to risk the possibility of change in the face of closed systems. We are looking for critical or speculative essays that must be theoretically, empirically and/or contextually grounded chapters of 5000-6500 words plus apparatus. Doctoral students and non-tenure faculty members will be afforded blind peer review upon request.

We are aiming for 12 -14 chapters that define the boundaries and thus likely futures of research on virtual worlds.

Aug 1, 2014 – 250 word précis with 5-10 key references
Aug. 30, 2014 –  accept/reject proposals
Feb 1, 2015 – final draft due
July 1, 2015 – feedback from reviewers
September 1, 2015 – final version
December 1, 2015 – in press

Queries and submissions:

Topics may include:
• alternative and minor game/virtual/etc. worlds
• archeologies/genealogies of virtuality
• augmented and mixed-reality worlds
• distributed cognitions
• early explorations in virtual learning environments
• the freedom of limitations
• identity construction and/or identity tourism
• the limits of simulation and emulation
• memories and forgetting in virtual worlds
• multisensory virtual environments
• multisensory exclusions in virtual worlds
• narratival and post-narratival andragogies, ‘learning worlds’
• negative spaces as learning spaces (bullying, trolling, flaming, etc.) in virtual worlds
• non-social virtual worlds (dwarf fortress, some forms of minecraft, etc.)
• real world virtual worlds and boundaries (Lego, Hello Kitty, WebKinz, etc.)
• replication of real world environments/problems
• surrealism, unrealism and constructable alterities of/within virtual worlds
• transformative virtual classroom
• vapourware and virtuality
• the virtuality of learning


About Fil Salustri
I'm a design methodologist and Professor of Mechanical Engineering at Ryerson University, Toronto, Canada. Adjectives that describe me include: secular humanist, meritocrat, and long-winded. Some people call me a positivist too, as if that were a bad thing. Go figure. My real home page is

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