Bo Ruberg

Picture of Bo Ruberg
Professor, Film & Media Studies
School of Humanities
Ph.D., University of California, Berkeley, 2015, Comparative Literature; New Media; Women, Gender, & Sexuality Studies
B.A., Bard College, 2007, Creative Writing; Gender & Sexuality Studies; Literature
University of California, Irvine
2118 Humanities Gateway
University of California, Irvine
Mail Code: 3440
Irvine, CA 92697
Research Interests
video games, game studies, digital media, technology, queer studies, LGBTQ studies, gender studies, feminism, digital humanities
Assistant Professor, Department of Informatics, UC Irvine (2017 - 2019)

Provost's Postdoctoral Scholar -- Interactive Media & Games Division, School of Cinematic Arts, University of Southern California (2015 - 2017)
Research Abstract
Prof. Bo Ruberg's research explores gender and sexuality in digital media and digital cultures with a focus on queer topics in video games.
Awards and Honors
2023: NEH "Dangers & Opportunities of Technology" fellowship, awarded to support 2023-2025 research on LGBTQ live streaming

2023: Anne Friedberg Innovative Scholarship Award. Awarded by the Society of Cinema and Media Studies for Sex Dolls at Sea: Imagined Histories of Sexual Technologies (MIT Press, 2023)

2021: Stonewall Book Award: Israel Fishman Award for Non-Fiction. Awarded by the American Library Association for The Queer Games Avant-Garde: How LGBTQ Game Makers Are Reimagining the Medium of Video Games (Duke University Press, 2020).

2020: Honorable Mention, Best Paper Competition, 2020 Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems (CHI). Awarded for “Challenges of Designing Consent: Consent Mechanics in Video Games as Models for Interactive User Agency”; honorable mentions go to top 5% of CHI submissions

2019: Top Speaker, 2019 Game Developers Conference. One of 52 speakers out of 1,220 (4%) recognized for achievement and featured on promotional material. Selection determined by audience feedback on 2019 talks. My 2019 talk, “What to Do When ‘Toxic Gamer Culture’ Enters the Classroom” was rated #1 in the Educator Summit track.

2019: Active Learning Certification, UCI Division of Teaching Excellence and Innovation. Awarded for demonstrated commitment and success in the use of interactive pedagogy.

2018: Chancellor’s Award for Excellence in Fostering Undergraduate Research, UC Irvine. Awarded annually to one faculty member from School of Information and Computer Sciences

2016: University of Southern California Society of Fellows, USC. Inducted into academic society for faculty and postdoctoral scholars working in the humanities.

2015: Digital Humanities Fellow, Digital Humanities @ Berkeley, UC Berkeley. Inducted into interdisciplinary cohort of researchers sponsored by Mellon Foundation Grant

2014, 2015: Pedagogy Award, Center for American Cultures, UC Berkeley. Two-time recipient of award recognizing development of outstanding undergraduate course materials

2014: Outstanding Graduate Student Instructor Award, Graduate Division, UC Berkeley. Campus-wide recognition of top graduate student instructors as judged through faculty observations
Short Biography
Bo Ruberg, Ph.D. is a Professor in the Department of Film & Media Studies and an affiliate faculty member in the Department of Informatics at the University of California, Irvine. They are the author of Sex Dolls at Sea: Imagined Histories of Sexual Technologies (MIT Press, 2022), The Queer Games Avant-Garde: How LGBTQ Game Makers Are Reimagining the Medium of Video Games (Duke University Press 2020), and Video Games Have Always Been Queer (New York University Press, 2019). Dr. Ruberg is also the co-editor-in-chief of the Journal of Cinema and Media Studies, the premier peer-reviewed journal in the field of media studies. They are also the co-editor of two edited volumes, Real Life in Real Time: Live Streaming Culture (MIT Press, 2023) and Queer Game Studies (University of Minnesota Press, 2017), as well as numerous journal special issues. Dr. Ruberg is the co-founder of the annual Queerness and Games Conference and served as the lead organizer of the event from 2013 to 2013. They received their Ph.D. with certification in New Media and Gender and Sexuality Studies from the University of California, Berkeley and served as a Provost's Postdoctoral Fellow in the Interactive Media and Games Division at the University of Southern California.
Real Life in Real Time: Live Streaming Culture (2023), co-edited volume, MIT Press
Sex Dolls at Sea: Imagined Histories of Sexual Technologies (2022), single-authored monograph, MIT Press
The Queer Games Avant-Garde: How LGBTQ Game Makers Are Reimagining the Medium of Video Games (2020), single-authored monograph, Duke University Press
Video Games Have Always Been Queer (2019), single-authored monograph, New York University Press
Queer Game Studies (2017), edited volume, University of Minnesota Press
“Nothing but a ‘Titty Streamer’: Legitimacy, Labor, and the Debate over Women’s Breasts in Video Game Live Streaming" (2019), co-authored with Amanda Cullen & Kat Brewster, Critical Studies in Media Communication
"The Precarious Labor of Queer Indie Game Making: Who Benefits from Making Video Games ‘Better’?” (2019), Television & New Media
“Straight Paths through Queer Walking Simulators: Wandering on Rails and Speedrunning in Gone Home" (2019), Games and Culture.
"Queerness and Video Games: Queer Game Studies and New Perspectives through Play" (2018), GLQ: Lesbian and Gay Studies
"Queer Indie Video Games as an Alternative Digital Humanities: Counterstrategies for Cultural Critique through Interactive Media" (2018), American Quarterly
"Not Gay as in Happy: Queer Resistance and Video Games" (2018) co-authored with Amanda Phillips, introduction to "Queerness and Video Games" special issue of Game Studies
Graduate Programs
Visual Studies
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