Curriculum Vitae

Last updated 10/4/2012

Zach Whalen
Department of English, Linguistics and Communication
University of Mary Washington
1301 College Avenue
Fredericksburg, VA 22401
(540) 654-2355

zwhalen at umw dot edu
zach.whalen at gmail dot com

Professional Experience

University of Mary Washington
Assistant Professor, Department of English, Linguistics and Communication. 2008 - present.
University of Florida
Teaching Assistant, Department of English. 2002 - 2008
Alumni Doctoral Fellow. 2004 - 2008
IMAGE Lab Assistant, CLAS Computing. 2003 - 2008
Research Assistant, Comics Studies. 2004


Ph.D. in English; University of Florida; 2008
Focus: Digital Media/Visual Rhetoric, Video Game Studies
Dissertation: "The Videogame Text: Typography and Textuality."
Directors: Dr. Donald Ault and Dr. Terry Harpold.
M.A. in English; University of Florida; May 2004
Focus: Digital Media Studies
Thesis: "Play Along: Video Game Music as Metaphor and Metonymy."
Directors: Dr. J. Yellowlees Douglas, Dr. Donald Ault.
B.A. in Philosophy, English, minor in Music; Carson-Newman College; May 2002
Honors Thesis: "TheorySpace v2.03 : Applications of Critical Theory in Hypertext Literature."
Directors: Dr. Ernest Lee and Dr. D. Brian Austin.

Honors, Grants and Awards

UMW Faculty Supplemental Development Grants (travel funding), 5 total between 2009 and 2012
Faculty Research Grant, Summer 2009 (UMW)
Designated Travel Grant, 2009 (TeachUMW )
Alumni Fellowship, 2004 - 2008 (University of Florida)
Grinter Fellowship, 2002 - 2004 (University of Florida)
Departmental Travel Awards, 3 awards from 2002 - 2007 (University of Florida)


Edited Collection

Playing the Past: History and Nostalgia in Video Games
Eds. Zach Whalen and Laurie N. Taylor. Nashville, TN: Vanderbilt University Press, 2008.

Journal Articles

"Deviant Materialities: Reflective Surfaces and Hollow Bodies in CSI"
Refractory: a Journal of Entertainment Media. 13 (2008).
"Game/Genre: A critique of Generic Formulas in Video Games in the Context of 'The Real'"
Works and Days. 22:43/44 (2004): 289 - 303.
"Play Along: An Approach to Video Game Music"
Game Studies: The International Journal of Computer Game Research
"Ludology -- Who Gets to Play?"
M/C: A Journal of Media and Culture 7:2. (March 2004).

Book Chapters

"Channel F for Forgotten: The Fairchild Video Entertainment System"
Before the Crash: Early Video Game History. Ed. Mark J.P. Wolf. Detroit, MI: Wayne State University Press, 2012.
(with Laurie N. Taylor) "Introduction to Playing the Past."
Playing the Past: Video Games, History, and Memory. Eds. Zach Whalen and Laurie N. Taylor. Nashville, TN: Vanderbilt UP, forthcoming 2008.
"Film Music vs. Game Music: The Case of Silent Hill."
Music, Sound and Multimedia: From the Live to the Virtual. Ed. Jamie Sexton. Edinburgh: Edinburgh U P., 2007.
"Cruising in San Andreas: Ludic Space and Urban Aesthetics in Grand Theft Auto"
The Meaning and Culture of Grand Theft Auto. Ed. Nathan Garrelts. Jefferson, NC: McFarland Press, 2006.

Other Scholarly Writing (Selected)

"Mainframe Games"
Encyclopedia of Video Games: The Culture, Technology, and Art of Gaming. Ed. Mark J.P. Wolf. Greenwood Press, 2012. (Forthcoming)
"It Moves" (Video and commentary)
Curated contribution to In Media Res theme week, "Digital Comics" <>
"Game Studies and Web 2.0: Finding an Audience Online"
Flow. Department of Radio-TV-Film at UT Austin. Special Video Games Issue (2007).
"Futures of Video Gaming's Past, parts 1 and 2" 19 January 2007 and 17 February 2007. <>
"Product Placement and Virtual Branding in Video Games." 1 January 2006. <>.
"Quest for Bush / Quest for Saddam: Content vs. Context." 26 September 2006. <>.
"Review of Bogost, Ian. Unit Operations: An Approach to Videogame Criticism" 5 June 2006. <>.
"Review of Alexander Galloway's Gaming: Essays on Algorithmic Culture" 13 November 2006. <>.
"James Agee's A Death in the Family"
The Facts On File Companion to the American Novel, 3-Volume Set. Ed. Abby H. Werlock. New York: Facts on File, 2006.
"Mark Z. Danielewski's House of Leaves"
The Facts On File Companion to the American Novel, 3-Volume Set. Ed. Abby H. Werlock. New York: Facts on File, 2006.


Invited Lectures

“game(text): videogames and textual aesthetics”
Invited Guest Lecture. Center for Digital Discourse and Culture, Virginia Tech, Blacksburg, VA, February 12, 2010.
“The Videogame Text”
Invited Guest Lecture. Maryland Institute for Technology in the Humanities' Digital Dialogues series. University of Maryland. October 14, 2009.

Conference Presentations

"A Counterfactual Historiography of Three Game Platforms"
2012 Society for Literature, Science, and the Arts Conference, Milwaukee, WI, September 29, 2012
"Close Enough"
2012 Modern Language Association Convention, Seattle, WA, January 8, 2012.
“Alternate Reality Games, Transmedia Textuality, and the Immaterial Archive”
2011 Modern Language Association Convention, Los Angeles, CA, January 8, 2011.
“Zork and the Videogame Canon, or, a Program for Videogame Pedagogy”
2010 Society for Cinema and Media Studies Annual Conference, Los Angeles, CA, March 20, 2010.
“Alternate Reality Games and Futures of Textuality”
5th Annual Florida Digital Assembly Conference: Futures of Digital Studies, University of Florida, Gainesville, FL. February 25, 2010.
"Ideology and Discourse in Videogame Co[ntext]de"
Southern American Studies Association Biennial Meeting. George Mason University. Fairfax, VA. February 12, 2009.
"An Archaeology of the Videogame Image"
2008 Society for Cinema and Media Studies Conference. Philadelphia, PA. March 7, 2008.
"Quest for Saddam / Quest for Bush: Fantastic Abstractions in Videogame Rhetoric"
UF English Graduate Organization 7th Annual Conference. Gainesville, FL. October 18, 2007.
"Heads-Up Display: Text in the Videogame Interface"
2007 Society for Cinema and Media Studies Conference. Chicago, IL. March 9, 2007.
"Lost in Emulation: World of Difference in Videogame Typography"
3rd Annual UF Game Studies Conference, "World Building: Space and Community." Gainesville, FL. March 1, 2007.
"Bodies and/as/of Evidence: CSI: Dark Motives and Uncanny Doubles"
PCAS/ACAS 2005 Conference. Jacksonville, FL. October 4, 2005.
"Reading as Cryptography: The Role of Encoding and Decoding in Digital Print Culture"
Elective Affinities IAWIS/AIERTI 7th International Conference on Word & Image Studies, Philadelphia, PA. September 26, 2005.
"House of Leaves and Digital Ontology"
Visual Culture: Image, Icon, and Ideology. 14th Annual KSU Cultural Studies Conference. Manhattan, KS. March 11, 2005.
"Playing with the Past: Structural Pastiche and Visual Nostalgia XIII and Viewtiful Joe"
Comics & Animation: Simultaneity & Sequentiality. 2004 UF Conference on Comics. Gainesville, FL. October 29, 2004.
"Survival Horror Stories: Musical and Aural Landscapes"
Narr@tive: Digital Storytelling, 2004. UCLA. Los Angeles, CA. April 23, 2004.

Other Conference Participation

Critical Code Studies Working Group 2012
Humanities and Critical Code Studies Lab (USC). Online. January 30 - Febrary 20, 2012. <>
THATCamp Games Participant
THATCamp Games 2012. University of Maryland, January 20 - 22, 2012. <>
THATCamp Participant
THATCamp 2011. Center for History and New Media, George Mason University, June 3 - 5, 2011. <>
Workshop Participant, “Doing Digital in the Classroom: Planning for a Course with Academic Technologies,”
2011 Faculty Academy. University of Mary Washington, Stafford, VA, May 11, 2011.
Workshop participant, “Teaching Media Studies with Video Games”
2011 Society for Cinema and Media Studies Conference. New Orleans, LA. March 10, 2011.
Session organizer, "ARGs, Archives, and Digital Scholarship.”
THATCamp 2010. Center for History and New Media, George Mason University, May 23, 2010. <>
“Is Digital Scholarship Really Scholarship?”
2010 Faculty Academy. University of Mary Washington. May 12, 2010.
Session organizer (Drupal as LMS)
THATCamp 2009. Center for History and New Media, George Mason University, June 27, 2009. <>
“How I use Drupal to roll my own”
2009 Faculty Academy. University of Mary Washington. May 14, 2009.
“Altering Reality: Teaching with and about ARGs”
2009 Faculty Academy. University of Mary Washington. May 14, 2009.