Friday, October 13, 2006

Fall Reference Booknotes

Handbook of Computer Game Studies, edited by Joost Raessens and Jeffrey Goldstein. (MIT Press, 2005). A comprehensive scholarly treatment of digital games that deals with the history, design, reception, and aesthetics of games along with their social and cultural context. Contributors come from cognitive science and artificial intelligence, developmental, social, and clinical psychology, history, film, theater, and literary studies, cultural studies, and philosophy as well as game design and development. Part I considers the "prehistory" of computer games (including slot machines and pinball machines), the development of computer games themselves, and the future of mobile gaming. The chapters in part II describe game development from the designer's point of view, including the design of play elements, an analysis of screenwriting, and game-based learning. Part III reviews empirical research on the psychological effects of computer games, and includes a discussion of the use of computer games in clinical and educational settings. Part IV considers the aesthetics of games in comparison to film and literature, and part V discusses the effect of computer games on cultural identity, including gender and ethnicity. Finally, part VI looks at the relation of computer games to social behavior, considering, among other matters, the inadequacy of laboratory experiments linking games and aggression and the different modes of participation in computer game culture. (ASC Ref)

The Sage Handbook of Gender and Communication, edited by Bonnie J. Dow and Julia T. Wood (Sage, 2006). Focuses on gender in relation to interpersonal, organizational, mediated, and intercultural/global communication. The volume looks back at the past three decades of gender and communication research and forward toward future perspectives and methodologies. The TOC includes: Gender in Political Communication Research: The Problem with Having No Name, by Vanessa B. Beasley; The Intersections of Race and Gender in Rhetorical Theory and Praxis by Jacqueline Bacon; Feminism and/in Mass Media, by Angharad Valdivia & Sarah Projansky; Race, Gender, and Media Representation, by Dwight Brooks & Lisa Hebert; Critical Studies in Gender/Sexuality and Media, by John M. Sloop; Gendered Violence and Mass Media Representation, by Lisa M. Cuklanz; Gender and New Media, by Mia Consalvo. (VP)

The Encyclopedia of the Documentary Film, edited by Ian Aitken (Routledge, 2006). The first comprehensive reference work on documentary film, this 3-volume set explores the history and scope of the genre. Including over 800 articles from scholars from around the world, the work “discusses individual films and filmmakers including little-known filmmakers from countries such as India, Bosnia, China and others; examines the documentary filmmaking traditions within nations and regions, or within historical periods in places such as Iran, Brazil, Portugal, and Japan; explores themes, issues, and representations in documentary film including human rights, modernism, homosexuality, and World War I, as well as types of documentary film such as newsreels and educational films; elaborates on production companies, organizations, festivals, and institutions such as the American Film Institute, Ceylon Tea Propaganda Board, Hot Docs (Toronto), and the World Union of Documentary; describes styles, techniques, and technical issues such as animation, computer imaging, editing techniques, IMAX, music, and spoken commentary ("Voice of God")” (Routledge website). (VP Ref)

Mass Media Effects Research: Advances Through Meta-Analysis, Edited by Raymond W. Priess, Barbara Mae Gayle, Nancy Burrell, Mike Allen, and Jennings Bryant. (Lawrence Erlbaum, 2007). Bringing together 75 years of research findings, the book is organized by theories, outcomes, and mass media campaigns. Topics include the effects of media violence on aggression (including one piece devoted to video games), sexually explicit media, advertising (on children); media gender stereotyping, television on parasocial relationships, music on social actions and beliefs, television on children’s social interaction, media health campaigns (on children, Magic Johnson’s HIV-Positive announcement) and the impact of the media on political involvement. (ASC reference)

Age of the Storytellers: British Popular Fiction Magazines, 1880-1950, by Mike Ashley (British Library, 2006. A comprehensive reference guide that covers 144 titles, charting their contribution to and influence on popular literature. The cover of each magazine discussed is reproduced, with 72 color plates and 72 b&w images. The collection also considers the significance of these magazines. (ASC Ref)

The Sage Handbook of Political Advertising, edited by Lynda Lee Kaid and Christina Holtz-Bacha. (Sage, 2006). What makes this edited collection of research on political advertising unique is its international perspective. Chapters are arranged in six sections: Part I: An International Context for Political Advertising; Part II: Political Advertising in Commercial Broadcasting Systems; Part III: Political Advertising in Public Television Systems, Part IV: Dual Systems of Public and Commercial Political Advertising, Part V: Political Advertising Developments in Evolving Democracies, Part VI: Comparisons and Conclusions: Television Advertising and Democratic systems Around the World. (ASC Reference)

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