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Aleena Leng An Chia is an Assistant Professor in the School of Communication specializing in the ethnography of gaming cultures. Her research investigates practices at the margins of the digital and analogue, and in the interstices between work and play. Her work examines gaming's boundary work as structuring categories in post-Fordism, as achievement systems in player communities, and as moral calculations in the new economy. In addition to ethnographic and qualitative approaches, she uses media archaeology and critical discourse analysis to study marginal forms of media: artefacts such as neuro-wearables for lucid dreaming and practices such as digital minimalism in social media disconnection. Her goal across these projects is to politicize the emotional and spiritual undercurrents of instrumental rationality in digital media.
Aleena received her PhD in Communication and Culture from Indiana University Bloomington in 2017 and was a postdoctoral researcher at the Academy of Finland's Centre of Excellence in Game Culture Studies in 2018. Her work has been supported by training from the School of Criticism and Theory, funding from the Wenner-Gren Foundation for Anthropological Research, and a Research Internship at Microsoft Research New England's Social Media Collective.
- 2017 Ph.D. Communication and Culture | Minor in Telecommunications., Indiana University Bloomington
- 2009 MA in Communications and New Media., National University of Singapore
- 2002 B.A. Sociology and Cultural Studies (First-class honours), University of Melbourne
Selected Journal Articles
Chia, A. (2020) “Productive Leisure in Post-Fordist Fandom." The Journal of Fandom Studies, 8(1), 47-63.
Chia, A. (2019). "The Moral Calculus of Vocational Passion in Digital Gaming." Television & New Media. Special Issue: Contested Formations of Digital Game Labor. 20(8): 767–777. https://doi.org/10.1177/1527476419851079
Chia, A. (2019). “Virtual Lucidity: A Media Archaeology of Dream Hacking Wearables.” communication+1. 7(2) doi: https://scholarworks.umass.edu/cpo/vol7/iss2/6/
Chia, A. (2017). “Scaling Technoliberalism for Massively Multiplayer Online Games.” Journal of Virtual Worlds Research. 10(3) doi: https://doi.org/10.4101/jvwr.v10i3.7264
Chia, A. (2012). “Welcome to Me-Mart: The Politics of User-Generated Content in Personal Blogs.” American Behavioral Scientist. 56(4): 421-438 https://doi.org/10.1177/0002764211429359
Chia, A (2018). “Data-Driven Dreaming and Biopolitical Immediacy.” Science, Technology and Innovation Studies, University of Edinburgh, UK. October 29.
Chia, A. (2018). “Vocational Passion in the Future of Work.” Meet the Centres of Excellence Seminar Series. University of Tampere, Finland. June 14.
Chia, A. (2016). “EVE Online and World of Darkness.” Berkman Center for Internet and Society, Harvard University, MA, USA. June 16.
Games and play, live-action role-playing, digital labour, creative industries, game production, media ethnography, wearables, sleep and dreams, social media disconnection