I am a recent Ph.D. graduate in Comparative Literature from the University of California, Irvine, where I completed a Critical Theory Emphasis and specialized in software and game studies. Since March, I have also been employed as a full-time software engineer with the nonprofit Code.org, where I have been part of a small team creating open-source computer science education curricula for millions of students.
I completed my dissertation, “Ludocapital: The Political Economy of Digital Play,” in September under the direction of Eyal Amiran, James Steintrager and David Theo Goldberg.
In my dissertation, I advance a critical theory of ludocapitalism, the incorporation of play into capitalism in contemporary technoculture. I begin with the premise that play no longer resides comfortably beyond the field of productive capital, but has instead come to assume a central role in productive human activity and social organization, superseding Weber’s Protestant ethic as the source of rationality within capitalism. Mapping this transition across four categories of liberal humanism (play, property, literacy, and money), I develop critical correspondences between the liberal human subject of classical modern capitalism that was the target of Marx’s critique of political economy, and the ``technoliberal,’’ posthuman subject of ludocapitalism underlying contemporary technoculture. My analytical method is a fundamentally comparative form of immanent critique for digital media: I historically contextualize the ideal categories comprising technoliberal subjectivity, and develop tactical responses from within contemporary technological environments oriented toward public policy reform and emancipatory action.