Moritz Wischert-Zielke

KU Eichstätt-Ingolstadt

Am Marktplatz 2

85072 Eichstätt

Moritz Wischert-Zielke studied English, sociology, and psychology at the Julius-Maximilians-Universität Würzburg, the Catholic University of Eichstätt-Ingolstadt, and the University of Birmingham. He holds an interdisciplinary M.A. in English and sociology, an interdisciplinary B.A. in English and psychology, and a B.Sc. in psychology.

His previous research interests in the humanities span from British theatre of the 20th century and philosophy (particularly Nietzsche, Foucault, Marx, and Deleuze) to (Deleuzian) film studies, disability studies, and conceptions of evil, horror, and the monstrous. In the field of psychology, he is primarily interested in clinical psychology as well as ethical aspects of automated driving.

Moritz is preparing his dissertation on the topic Practicing Virtual Places – Capitalism and Utopia in Animal Crossing: New Horizons.

Playing Place – On Digital Games, Spatiality, and Hegemonic Play

Playing Place develops a relational account of the emergence of spatiality in digital game play. Operating at the intersection of American Cultural Studies and Game Studies, it opposes formalist and static notions of space and place by emphasizing the processual, affect-based, and embodied aspects of practices of play. Through the metaphor playing place the project foregrounds the relational, spatially-productive, and heterogenetic qualities of play ensembles. Its simultaneous critique of the anthropocentric subjectivity of classic theories of play on the one side and the neglect of Game Studies to think beyond docile and instrumental play on the other aims at an affirmative and yet critical perspective on forms of play and games as play partners. The resulting approach to the medialities of digital game play is dedicated to both exploring and questioning dominant spatialities and hegemonic forms of play in three case studies. A diverse range of recent titles are addressed as discursive cultural sites of ant/agonistic, extractivist, and mental spatialities, which are produced and negotiated in digital game play. The project’s three case-based chapters hence examine the racial connotations of the ghoul in the Fallout game series, neoliberal and colonial extractivisms of farming practices together with Animal Crossing: New Horizons and Conan Exiles, as well as counter-hegemonic practices of recent indie games in the context of mental health discourses. While reappreciating play as a vital force of socio-cultural spatialization, Playing Place thus also questions its non-innocent hegemonic forms in the wider play of politics and culture.