Call: closed systems / open worlds

Closed Systems / Open Worlds

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
  • a semester of finishing instead of a semester of starting

    personal reality check time… I can’t do everything and get it all done. I need to get this hacking/maker research out the door (granted there is a special issue underway, but…), finish the altmetrics that i started with Abby Goodrum get at least one more paper out on the slow university idea, and i have a book on the history of online learning underway, and there is a new volume of the handbook of internet research in progress. SO i should just admit that until i finish the maker/hacker stuff and get that out the door, i won’t really have time to start a funded grant project that requires extensive travel or the other grant project that requires international collaboration, at best i should try to get one paper each out the door to justify both grant projects. so instead of grant writing, i should be writing up research. If i get the hacker/maker stuff done, the altmetrics stuff done, and the slow university stuff done, i think i will still be batting above average… oh and did i mention the Academic Fraud-o-sphere research i’m doing… yeah… that needs more work too. so yeah, i declare this semester and summer the semester and summer of finishing instead of the semester of starting new things.

    so the todo list is:
    1. finish the hacker/maker stuff
    2. make significant progress on the altmetrics project
    3. work on one paper for slow university
    4. work on one paper for the new digital sensorium
    5. work on online learning book
    6 work on second volume of handbook
    7. work on academic fraud-o-sphere stuff

    and 7 is enough for now…

    My ongoing list of things I'm doing in priority order

    Many people have always ask what I’m doing these days with my time, so i’ve decided to make public my ‘projects’ list so that people might see, that yes… I’m one busy bloke.

    In order of priority:


    A. I have to finish this.


    A. Projects in Digital Archives
    B. Library 2.0

    3)Research and Publishing

    A. Dach Paper (Accepted)
    B. Jensen Paper (in draft)
    C. International Handbook of Internet Research

    I. Contracted
    II. authors in order

    a. need to contact authors with update

    D. Learning Inquiry

    I. first issue in development

    E. Transdisciplinary Studies

    I. first two books contracted

    F. Interpretation in Policy Studies conference panel/proposal
    G. Bowker Review
    H. Museums and the Web proposal
    I. Other

    Human Affairs Paper?
    Aera Proposal (submitted)
    4s Proposal (Accepted)
    Earli Proposal
    MIT proposal
    Political Economy of the Internet (on hold)
    Social Software in the Academy (on hold)
    Information for Social Change Paper (on hold)
    Chandos Press proposal (in draft) (on hold)
    Artefact paper (on hold)

    4)Organizational work

    D. ACRO

    I. work on codebase
    II. Maintain server

    E. Ethics In Second Life group
    F. E-Science (on hold)
    G. Global Learners project (on hold)

    5. Other

    Citing: am I who you say I am?

    Something marvelous from blah-feme:

    To be referred to, to be quoted, sorted, circumscribed by the gesture of the upturned commas, single or double: what does this mean? To be linked to, to be pointed at, made part of a discourse, drawn in, made party to it, beholden to it, responsible, culpable? A with-writer, a conspirator, a friend? To reference, be drawn in, made party to….. this is a dizzying thing, a moment of radical alienation (is it me? Really? Am I really part of this – am I here at all in all this?). To reference, to draw in, to conjure up, to evoke…. oh this of all things, this more than anything is to make neurotics of us all.

    but.. does authenticity, or authorial identity matter beyond the constructs of others? yes.. i want to be me… but i have as much control of other’s constructs of my ideas and opinions as i have in deciding which cars will pass by my window on any given day. to be cited, thus in my mind, is to contribute to someone else’s work and understanding of the world. i do not see that there is anything that needs to be profoundly deeper, or cared for at the identity-level of alienation. in short, i think the assumption that ‘you’ are being cited when someone uses your work is being overextended. I think it is better to think that someone found your writing useful

    multi-user typo

    Le Blog-a-dam:

    As you may not see, this blog is powered by Typo, a cool Ruby on Rails driven blog application. However I missed the functionnality of being able to easily host multiple blog on my server. I could not find much info beside a howto which required virtual hosts and implied editing Typo’s internal.


    typo is the ruby-on-rails blog system that my other blog runs….. no not the educause blog, the other blog.

    Development Gateway Launches Software Tool For International Relief and Development Coordination

    Development Gateway Launches Software Tool For International Relief and Development Coordination:
    January 11, 2005 – The Development Gateway Foundation has launched an open source software tool that organizations can use to coordinate international relief and development efforts. Called the Local Projects Database (LPD), this tool can be downloaded from the web. See


    this could be useful…