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Steffi Shook, Ph.D. - Manhattanville College. Purchase, NY, US

Steffi Shook, Ph.D.

Assistant Professor, Communication and Media | Manhattanville College


An expert in video games, film, media, social media, gender and sexuality, and media representation.



Professor Shook is an expert in social media, video games, film, media, gender and sexuality, and media representation.

Areas of Expertise (6)

Fandom during quarantine

Gender and Sexuality


Video Games


Media Representation

Accomplishments (5)

Top Graduate Paper

2017 Ohio Communication Association

Outstanding Graduate Paper Award

2017 Media Arts and Studies, Ohio University

Third Place – 3 Minute Thesis Competition

2017 Ohio University

Outstanding Graduate Student Instructor of Record Award

2016 Media Arts and Studies, Ohio University

Outstanding Graduate Paper Award

2016 Media Arts and Studies, Ohio University

Education (3)

Ph.D.: Ohio University, Mass Communication: Media Arts and Studies 2019

M.A.: Ohio University, Film Studies 2013

Flagler College: B.A., Communication 2011

Affiliations (1)

  • Lambda Pi Eta, National Communication Honor Society, Advisor

Selected Event Appearances (5)

'It all began when I saw this sphere of you': Queer Temporality in Final Fantasy X-2

Popular Culture Association/ American Culture Association National Conference, 2019  Washington, DC

Super-indie Games: A Historical Justification

Different Games, National Conference, 2018  Worcester, MA

Game Space Analysis: A New Text-based, Qualitative Method for the Study of Video Games

Popular Culture Association/ American Culture Association, National Conference, 2018  Indianapolis, IN

Evoking Empathy: Textual Interruptions in Personal Narrative Video Games

Empathic Landscapes: Walking With/In Difference Conference, Regional Conference  Cincinnati, OH

Super-Indie Sustainability: New Media Business Models and Independent Video Game Development

Ohio Communication Association, Regional Conference, 2017  Springfield, OH

Selected Articles (2)

Campy Conclusions: Examining the Subversion of Heteronormative Relationship Sanctions in American Film Musicals

Ohio University

Steffi Shook

2013 The heteronormative endings that conclude American film musicals can be read as camp or ironic in light of the subversion of hegemonic relationship sanctions that proves consistent throughout the genre. In order to understand the reading of camp into these endings one must examine the ways in which American film musicals subvert hegemonic relationship sanctions. This subversion takes place through the allowance of female agency via musical performance, the abundance of gender play, the presentation of alternative family structures specifically through the glorification of communal living, and the possibility for alternative masculinities. While these endings make the films available to camp readings, this thesis focuses on their ironic function in that they constitute a marked reversal of the films' subversive tropes.

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Personal Narrative Video Games: Failure, Empathy, and Marginalized Game Developers

Ohio University

Steffi Shook

This dissertation examines small, independent video games which focus on personal narratives and contain nonnormative characters in order to assess their potentialities and place within an exclusionary gamer culture. I propose the category “super-indie games” to describe this unique form of production as these games are made by one or a few people, in their spare time, with their own money, utilizing free or low-cost software that requires little to no programming knowledge. I historically justify this category of video game production by comparing it to video art of the 1970s and highlighting the sociopolitical conditions surrounding super-indies’ emergence in the 2010s. This work proposes a methodological intervention in the field of game studies: game space analysis. Predicated on the unique nature of game space, this method is able to account for the political, historical, and social conceptual spaces surrounding gameplay, and is well-suited for examining complex texts such as super-indie games. Using game space analysis, I find that super-indie games use failure to communicate the hardships of their marginalized player characters and seek to evoke empathy in players through textual interruptions. Ultimately, super-indie games allow nonnormative developers to carve out their own space within an industry and culture that actively excludes them.

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