Mahshid Mayar

Assistant Professor | wissenschaftliche Mitarbeiterin
Chair of North American Literature and Culture
Faculty of Linguistics and Litrature
Bielefeld University
Postfach 10 01 31
33501 Bielefeld

Office: UHG C4 - 222
Office Hours: Wednesdays 2:00 - 3:00 p.m. and by appointment
E-Mail: mahshid.mayar[at]uni-bielefeld.de

Mahshid Mayar

Since Oct. 2016, I am an assistant professor of American Studies at Bielefeld University, where I teach historical and literary American childhoods, transnational American literature, 19th-century US cultural history, and critical game studies. In my current position, I follow two lines of research: While I engage with the 'blank' in postmodern American literature ('erasure' and 'blackout' literature) for my second-book project, I also conduct research on digital games, where I theorize the study of digital games and examine game titles that open dialogues on US history and culture.

In 2017, I was a post-doctoral fellow at the English Department, Amherst College.

To access my full academic CV, click here.

Research

Since the start of my career in American Studies, I have enjoyed working at the borders between disciplines. My research, and later my teaching, navigate the contact zones between cultural geography and childhood studies, history of empires and critical game studies, post-modern US literature as well as transnational American studies. To get an overview of the various lines of research I have been working on since 2010, please click on the links below.

  • 2019

    Co-Organized Panel

    Video Games and the Politics of Popular Culture” at DGfA, Hamburg

  • 2019

    Conference Talk

    Muslim Massacre and Other Titles: Islam and Muslims in the Video Game Industry” at DGfA, Hamburg

  • 2019

    Conference Talk

    Art, Adventure, and Affect: Deep Time and Spatial Floatability in American Video Games” at Playing the Field II, Duisburg-Essen

  • 2019-ongoing

    Game Studies Newsletter

    Critical Game Studies (CGS) Bielefeld

  • 2018

    Peer-Reviewed Article

    Survival as Species Narrative: (Supra-)Referentiality in Humanitarian Crisis Video Games” in Loading…

  • 2018

    Book Chapter

    Überleben im Anthropozäne. Wege zu einer Definition von. Humanitarian Crisis Games” in Weltmaschine Computerspiel

  • 2018

    Journal Special Issue

    Encounters in the ‘Game-Over Era’: The Americas in Videogames for fiar

  • 2018

    Introduction to Journal Special Issue

    A game (simulation) is a game (interactive technology) is a game (lifestyle) is a game (live archive): An Introduction” for Encounters in the ‘Game-Over Era’: The Americas in Videogames

  • 2018

    Interview for Journal Special Issue

    “The Post-Apocalyptic and the Ludic: An Interview with Dr. Stephen Joyce” for Encounters in the ‘Game-Over Era’: The Americas in Videogames

  • 2017

    Critical Game Studies Research & Teaching

    Game Studies Research and Teaching: Kickoff Meeting (with Tyll Zybura), Bielefeld University

  • 2017

    Peer-Reviewed Article

    A Case for Serious Play: Virtual Pacifism and Historical Digital Games” in Zeitschrift des Arbeitskreises Militär und Gesellschaft in der Frühen Neuzeit

  • 2017

    Organized Panel

    Empires in the ‘Game-Over Era’: Videogames and the Question of Historical Narrative” at 5th ENIUGH, Budapest

  • 2014

    Conference Talk

    At Gamer-Explorer-Cartographer’s Will: Rewriting History and Redoing Cartography in the Strategy Game Age of Empires” at 4th ENIUGH, Paris

  • 2012

    Conference Talk

    Playing Empire: Where does Empire Stand in Age of Empires” at Forces at Play: Bodies, Power, and Spaces, Amherst, MA.

  • 2020

    Peer-Reviewed Journal Article

    The Child in the Archive: Historical Presence, Childhood Studies, and American Studies

  • 2019

    Commentary

    “Chopped-Up Nigger, The Lost Jap, and Get off the Earth: Toys and the Myth of Disappearance” for SHCY Commentaries, The Society for the History of Children and Youth (SHCY)

  • 2018

    Conference Talk

    “‘our work is done and now for some fun and play’: Personal Fictions of the World and (Counter)Publics of Childhood” at DGfA, Berlin

  • 2018

    Book Review

    Reid, Jason. Get out of my room! A History of Teen Bedrooms in America

  • 2017

    Visiting Fellowship

    With Professor Karen Sanchez-Eppler, Amherst College, Amherst, MA.

  • 2016

    Conference Talk

    The Child in the Archive: A Question of Historical Agency” at Bielefeld-York-Lund PhD Conference, Bielefeld

  • 2016

    Encyclopedia Entry

    Children, Impact of War on” for SAGE Encyclopedia of War

  • 2015

    Book Review

    C. Dallett Hemphill, Siblings: Brothers and Sisters in American History

  • 2014/15

    Research Fellowship

    International Youth Library, Munich

  • 2014

    Encyclopedia Entry

    Child Study Association of America” for Social History of the American Family: An Encyclopedia

  • 2014

    Encyclopedia Entry

    Tabula Rasa” for Social History of the American Family: An Encyclopedia

  • 2019

    Monograph

    Citizens and Rulers of the World: American Children and World Geography at the Turn of the 20th Century (under review)

  • 2019

    Peer-Reviewed Article

    Slated Globes as Imperial Palimpsest: School Geography and the US Empire at the Turn of the 20th Century” (under review)

  • 2019

    Book Review

    James L. Nolan, What They Saw in America: Alexis de Tocqueville, Max Weber, G. K. Chesterton, and Sayyid Qutb

  • 2018-ongoing

    Habilitation/Second-Book Project

    Species Narrative: A Transnational Literary Critique of “Americans Abroad” (working title)

  • 2018

    Book Review

    Bonnie J. Smith, Modern Empires: A Reader

  • 2018

    Book Review

    Anthony Pagden, The Burdens of Empire: 1539 to the Present

  • 2017/18

    MA Seminar

    ‘Childhood is a foreign country’: American Literature, Youth, and the World”, Bielefeld

  • 2016

    Dissertation Prize

    westfälisch-lippische Universitätsgesellschaft Dissertation Prize, Bielefeld

  • 2016

    Book Chapter

    From Tools to Toys: American Dissected Maps and Geographic Knowledge at the Turn of the Twentieth Century” in Knowledge Landscapes North America

  • 2014

    Conference Talk

    Our Infant Navy: A Turn-of-the-Century Conversation between American Youths and American Imperialists” at EAAS 60th Anniversary Conference, The Hague

  • 2013

    Book Review

    Hsuan L. Hsu, Geography and the Production of Space in Nineteenth- Century American Literature

  • 2013

    Conference Talk

    Domestication of Play, Globalization of Playthings: Geography Games and World Cartography in Turn-of-the-Century United States” at Joint BAAS/IAAS Conference, Nottingham

  • 2011

    Visiting Fellowship

    History Department, Georgetown University, Washington, D.C.

  • 2010-2016

    Doctoral Dissertation

    Citizens and Rulers of the World: American Children and World Geography at the Turn of the 20th Century, Bielefeld

  • 2010-2014

    DFG Doctoral Scholarship

    DFG-Funded Doctoral Research at Bielefeld Graduate School in History and Sociology (BGHS), Bielefeld

  • 2009

    MA Thesis

    An American Breakfast: A Smaller World in the 1890s, Heidelberg

  • 2008-2009

    MA Scholarship

    HCA-Funded Master of Arts at Heidelberg Center for American Studies (HCA), Heidelberg

Publications

So far, my publications have appeared in three broad fields: childhood studies (including history of education in the United States, juvenile periodicals, war and childhood, children as archival presences and childhood as archival material), cultural geography of the US Empire (including my forthcoming first book on world geography knowledge at the turn of the 20th century, theoretical speculations on terra incognita in slated, blank globes, and production of geographic knowledge through geographical toys), and critical game studies (including the study of pacifism in strategy games, speculations on the intersections of game studies and American studies, a study of historical digital games in the Anthropocene, and genre interventions in the study of Western digital games).

Evolving out of my long-standing interest in absence, silence, and blank as points of contention (see, for instance, the forthcoming articles on blank as imperial and erasure as a quality of children’s toys in the 19th-century US market), my second-book project focuses on postmodern American literature, examining erasure and redaction in literary texts as a matter of inter-textuality and at the service of political ends.

Manuscript

2019
Citizens and Rulers of the World: American Children and World Geography at the Turn of the Twentieth Century (under review).

Edited Volumes

2019
Edited Volume Shhhhh… This is an archive! Silence and Absence in the Historical Archive (working title) (in preparation).
2019
Special Issue “American Video Games and the Politics of Popular Culture,” co-edited with Dr Stefan Schubert, Universität Leipzig (in preparation) (2019).
2018
Special Issue “Encounters in the ‘Game-Over Era’: The Americas in Videogames,” editor, fiar: Forum for Inter-American Research 11.2 (2018).
2018
Special Issue “Done with Eurocentrism? Directions, Diversions, and Debates in History and Sociology,” co-editor with Yaatsil Guevara González, InterDisciplines: Journal of History and Sociology 8.2 (2017).

Book Chapters

2018
“Überleben im Anthropozäne. Wege zu einer Definition von. Humanitarian Crisis Games,” Weltmaschine Computerspiel: Mythen und Techniken der Globalisierung im digitalen Spiel. Eds. Eugen Pfister and Tobias Winnerling. Verein zur Studien interkultureller Geschichte: Mandelbaum Verlag (2018).
2016
“From Tools to Toys: American Dissected Maps and Geographic Knowledge at the Turn of the Twentieth Century.” Knowledge Landscapes North America. Eds. Sabine Sielke, Christian Klöckner, and Simone Knewitz. Heidelberg: Winter (2016).

Journal Articles

2019
“Slated Globes as Imperial Palimpsest: School Geography and the US Empire at the Turn of the 20th Century” (under review).
2018
“Survival as Species Narrative: (Supra-)Referentiality in Humanitarian Crisis Video Games,” Loading…. 11.18 (2018).
2018
“The Child in the Archive: Historical Presence, Childhood Studies, and American Studies” (in preparation to be submitted to Journal of the History of Childhood and Youth).
2018
“A game (simulation) is a game (interactive technology) is a game (lifestyle) is a game (live archive): An Introduction,” introduction to “Encounters in the ‘Game-Over Era’: The Americas in/and Video Games,” fiar: Forum for Inter-American Research 11.2 (2018).
2018
“The Post-Apocalyptic and the Ludic: An Interview with Dr. Stephen Joyce,” in “Encounters in the ‘Game-Over Era’: The Americas in/and Video Games,” fiar: Forum for Inter-American Research 11.2 (2018).
2018
“Done with Eurocentrism? Unpacking a Plural Construct,” introduction to “Done with Eurocentrism? Directions, Diversions, and Debates in History and Sociology,” co-written with Yaatsil Guevara González, InterDisciplines: Journal of History and Sociology 8.2 (2017).
2017
“A Case for Serious Play: Virtual Pacifism and Historical Digital Games,” in “Frühneuzeitlicher Krieg in Digitalen Spielen,” Zeitschrift des Arbeitskreises Militär und Gesellschaft in der Frühen Neuzeit 20 (2016).

Scholarly Essays

2019
“Weirding the Empire in West of Loathing and Other Digital Games,” U.S. Studies Online (USSO) blog series “American Studies and Video Games” (forthcoming).
2019
“Verbs of Violence: 19th-Century Jigsaw Puzzles, Otherness, and American Childhood,” Society for the History of Children and Youth (SHCY) (forthcoming).

Encyclopedia Entries

2016
“Children, Impact of War on.” In SAGE Encyclopedia of War: Social Science Perspectives. London: Sage Reference, 2016.
2014
“Child Study Association of America.” In Social History of the American Family: An Encyclopedia. London: Sage Reference, 2014.
2014
“Tabula Rasa.” In Social History of the American Family: An Encyclopedia. London: Sage Reference, 2014.

Book Reviews

Reviews have appeared in Global Media Journal, Ex Historia, International Journal of Localities, die Historische Zeitschrift, US Studies Online, Nineteenth Century Studies Association, H-Net Empire, and H-Soz- Kult.

2019
Bonnie J. Smith, Modern Empires: A Reader (New York: Oxford University Press, 2018), for H-Net Empire (forthcoming).
2019
James L. Nolan, What They Saw in America: Alexis de Tocqueville, Max Weber, G. K. Chesterton, and Sayyid Qutb (New York: Cambridge University Press, 2016), for US Studies Online (forthcoming).
2018
Jason Reid, Get out of my room! A History of Teen Bedrooms in America (Chicago: The University of Chicago Press, 2016), for H-Soz-Kult.
2018
Steven Cassedy, Connected: How Trains, Genes, Pineapples, Piano Keys, and a Few Disasters Transformed Americans at the Dawn of the Twentieth Century (Stanford: Stanford University Press, 2014), for Nineteenth Century Studies Association.
2018
Anthony Pagden, The Burdens of Empire: 1539 to the Present (New York: Cambridge University Press, 2015), for H-Net Empire.
2015
C. Dallett Hemphill, Siblings: Brothers and Sisters in American History (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2011), for US Studies Online.
2014
Valeska Huber, Channelling Mobilities: Migration and Globalisation in the Suez Canal Region and Beyond 1869-1914 (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2013), for die Historische Zeitschrift, Vol. 298.
2013
Hsuan L. Hsu, Geography and the Production of Space in Nineteenth-Century American Literature (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2010), for Ex Historia, Vol. 5.
2012
Ulrike Freitag and Achin von Oppen, ed.s, Translocality: The Study of Globalizing Processes from a Southern Perspective (Leiden: Koninklijke Brill, 2009), for International Journal of Localities, Vol. 1.
2011
Barry Gills and William R. Thompson, ed.s, Globalization and Global History (London: Routledge, 2006), for Ex Historia, Vol. 3.
2010
McKenzie Wark, Virtual Geography: Living with Global Media Events (Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1994), for Global Media Journal, Vol. 8.

Invited Lectures

Furthermore, I have given talks at various national, European, and international conferences and workshops (complete list of my conference activities since 2010 can be found in my CV). Listed here are the talks I have been invited to deliver at various venues, including the keynote lecture scheduled for the Future and Reality of Gaming (FROG), Vienna, Austria.

Keynote Lecture

Oct. 2019
“Banal, Boring, Banned: Unplayability in Digital Games,” Future and Reality of Gaming (FROG), Vienna (forthcoming).

Invited Talks

Nov. 2019
“The Authentic Ruin: Reproduction of Urban Landscape in Digital Games,” 10th Annual Conference of Clash of Realities, Cologne Game Lab (forthcoming).
July 2019
“Erasure and Arrival in Postmodern American Literature,” Institut für Anglistik und Amerikanistik, Universität Potsdam, Potsdam.
June 2019
“The 2eX Game: Ambivalence and Affect toward Muslims in Digital Games,” DGfA 2019, Universität Hamburg, Hamburg.
Nov. 2019
“The Ultimate Metaphor: Game Studies in/and American Studies,” Austrian American Studies Association, Salzburg.
WS 2016-17
“‘Home Geography’ and the World: Mapping the US Empire in School Primers 1875-1900,” Institut für Anglistik und Amerikanistik, Friedrich-Alexander Universität Erlangen-Nuremberg, Erlangen.

Teaching

At the teaching end, the seminars I design and teach are writing-intensive (essay writing phases) and offer frequent possibilities to the students to lead small-group discussions (in ‘discussion islands’ about a given, supplementary topic). Depending on the topic, I help the students develop presentations which are either completely research-based or depend on performance and exhibition (‘thematic museums’).

Courses Designed and Taught

SS 2019
“Words and Verbs of Empire: Language and Power in US Litrature, Culture and Politics,” Department of British and American Studies, Bielefeld University (BA).
WS 2018/19
“Playing in the Backstreet: Children and Childhood in North America (Civil War to Present),” Department of British and American Studies, Bielefeld University (BA).
SS 2018
“Playing in the Garden: Children and Childhood in North America (Colonial Times to Civil War),” Department of British and American Studies, Bielefeld University (BA).
WS 2017/18
“‘Childhood is a foreign country’: American Childhood, American Literature, and the World,” Department of British and American Studies, Bielefeld University (MA)
SS 2017
“Childhood Narratives in the United States: Civil War to Present,” Department of British and American Studies, Bielefeld University (BA).
WS 2016/17
“Growing up in America: Children and Childhood in the United States,” Department of British and American Studies, Bielefeld University (BA).
SS 2016
“Theories of Play: From Games in Literature to Literary Gaming,” Department of British and American Studies, Bielefeld University (MA).
SS 2015
“Spaces of Empire: Cultural Geography of the US at the Turn of the 20th Century,” Department of History, Bielefeld University (MA).
SS 2011
BGHS Interdisciplinary Colloquium, with Dr. Annika Wellmann, Bielefeld University (PhD).

Co-Teaching

SS 2018
“Playing with Horror: Analyzing Horror in Video Games” Co-supervised student seminar (with Tyll Zybura) (Anglistik, Bielefeld University) (Media, Arts, and Communication, Anglistik, BA).
SS 2016
“History and Theory: A Wesleyan-Bielefeld Dialogue” Co-taught with Prof. Gary Shaw (Wesleyan University, USA) and Prof. Dr. Angelika Epple (Bielefeld University), Department of History, Bielefeld University (MA/PhD).
WS 2012-2013
“Where the Global Meets the Local: United Nations in the 21st Century” Co-taught with Alexandra Nitz (Bielefeld University), Internationale Studium, Bielefeld University (General Studies, BA/MA).