Imagine Otherwise: Amanda Phillips on Critical Digital Humanities & Hashtag Syllabi

Amanda Phillips, Imagine Otherwise blog image

Imagine Otherwise: Amanda Phillips on Critical Digital Humanities & Hashtag Syllabi

November 16, 2016 Podcast


How can digital media transform the way we organize, teach, and relate to our bodies and the world?

In this episode of Imagine Otherwise, host Cathy Hannabach chats with guest Amanda Phillips about the politics of video game realism in an era of increasingly visible police violence, why so many marginalized communities have turned to digital media for organizing, how hashtag syllabi have transformed what it means to teach about current events, and how teachers and students can together use the classroom as a space in which we teach each other how to imagine and create the kind of worlds we want.

We invite you to check out the podcast, as well as our show notes and highlights below.

Guest: Amanda Phillips

  • Amanda is an Assistant Professor in the Department of English at Georgetown University. She writes about gender, race, and social justice in gaming communities and the digital humanities. Her publications can be found in Games and CultureDigital CreativityThe Fembot Collective, and Understanding Minecraft: Essays on Play, Community, and Possibility. Most recently, she has been involved with the #transformDH Collective’s efforts to encourage and highlight critical cultural studies work in digital humanities projects.

We chatted about:

  • What happens when what you love the most and your job are the same thing (05:00)
  • The draw of “the digital” for marginalized communities (10:50)
  • Wearable technologies as an accessible and impactful creative site (17:30)
  • Amanda’s new digital humanities project, Mechropolitics (21:50)
  • How media representations tie into real-world political events (27:00)
  • Imagining otherwise (35:00)


  • On the draw of “the digital” for marginalized communities: “There was still this sense that you had to be able to do something really programmatically or technologically sophisticated to make it interesting, which is not at all the case, at least from our perspective.”
  • On Mechropolitics, the politics of death and dying in video games: “Death is really interesting and prevalent within gaming, particularly in the way that notions of realism get batted around with these animation technologies”
  • On how digital scholarship can interrogate patterns of wider structures of violence: “There’s something about the headshot that’s really salient, that brings out this moment where gaming culture and wider political things come together”
  • On the responsibilities of the academy to affect popular conversation: “My scholarship is going to be next to useless unless I can find a way to tap into and change [public] conversation.”

More from Amanda:

Projects and people discussed:

About Imagine Otherwise:

Imagine Otherwise is a podcast about the people and projects bridging art, activism, and academia to build better worlds. Episodes offer in-depth interviews with creators who use culture for social justice, and explore the nitty-gritty work of imagining and creating more just worlds. Check out full podcast episodes and show notes at Imagine Otherwise is produced by Ideas on Fire, an academic editing and consulting agency helping progressive, interdisciplinary scholars write and publish awesome texts, enliven public conversations, and create more just worlds.

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About the author

Priyanka Kaura: Priyanka is a Marketing Associate at Ideas on Fire, as well as an education reformer in New York City who frequently traverses the private and public sectors to promote educational equity.