Whitney Pow

I write about queer games and queer and transgender histories of software and computing.

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Hello, I'm Whitney Pow

I’m a Chicago-based Ph.D. candidate at Northwestern University. I’m also a graphic designer and game designer. I write about queer games and queer and transgender histories of software and computing.

My research has been generously supported by Northwestern University’s Presidential Fellowship, The Sexualities Project at Northwestern’s Dissertation Fellowship, The Strong National Museum of Play’s Research Fellowship, and the University of Chicago’s Game Changer Chicago Design Lab Research Fellowship. I am also currently a Device Lab Fellow at The Knight Lab, Northwestern University’s emerging technologies and virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR) lab.

My areas of interest and teaching expertise include:

  • Video game studies, game design, and queer game studies

  • Queer media, inclusive of queer TV, film, new media, and interactive media

  • Trans (transgender) history and theory, and trans of color critique

  • Queer theory and queer of color critique

  • Critical race theory and decolonial theory

  • Digital media, software, and histories of technology

  • Film history, theory and analysis

  • Television history, theory and analysis

Game Design

I was commissioned to design a video game titled Digital TV Breakfast in response to foundational transgender game designer and programmer Jamie Fenton’s glitch art piece, Digital TV Dinner. My game is tied in with the Chicago art exhibition, Chicago New Media 1972-1992, curated by Jon Cates, a professor at the School of the Art Institute of chicago, and organized by the Video Game Art Gallery and the University of Illinois at Chicago’s Gallery 400.

I am the Lead Artist and Graphic Designer at ARRiBot Game Design, an educational board game company that makes STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) games for students from kindergarten through 12th grade. I designed the game company website, and cards, boards, print and promotional materials for games including Scrap Titans, a game about the US scrap recycling industry made in partnership with the Institute for Scrap Recycling Industries, Inc. (ISRI), Project Stormfury, a game about hurricane disaster preparation, Destructive Interference, a game about the physics of sound waves, and Quest for Mars, a game about Mars and the Mars Rover.

With the support of the University of Chicago's Game Changer Research Fellowship, I designed and developed a video game titled The Doctor Will See You Nowwhich was showcased at the Different Games Conference at New York University and at a panel titled Chicago Made Video Games as New Media Art at the Adler Planetarium’s Adler After Dark series.

Presentations & Publications

My published scholarly work has appeared in The Velvet Light Trap, published by the University of Texas Press, and In Media Res. My work is also forthcoming in the Oxford University Press reader, Women’s Lives, Multicultural Perspectives, Seventh Edition and the academic journal IEEE Annals of the History of Computing.

I have presented my research at conferences including the Society for Cinema and Media Studies annual conference, the Special Interest Group for Computing, Information, and Society (SIGCIS) at the Society for the History of Technology (SHOT), Console-ing Passions, the Queerness in Games Conference, at the Ordinary Media Workshop, the Queer Places, Practices and Lives Conference, and the Queer Temporalities and Media Aesthetics Workshop. I have also been invited to speak on panels about race, queerness, gender, video games and social media at the University of Chicago, the University of Wisconsin-Madison, Columbia College Chicago and Northwestern University.

Non-Academic Work & Outreach

I’m a former Contributing Editor and writer at Autostraddle, and I’m the in-house graphic designer for Literary Death Match. I have worked as a writer, editor and graphic designer for organizations including The Feminist PressPublishers Weekly and the Asian American Writers Workshop. I’ve served as a speaker, organizer and staff member at Autostraddle’s annual conference, A-CampI also appear in the Badass Feminist Coloring Book by Ijeoma Oluo.

Find and follow me on Twitter @whitneypow.