CST PhD Candidate
Project Director, ModLab
- Cultural Studies Graduate Group
S. Hayley/Harlin Steele (they/she/ze/he) is a former foster youth and genderfluid genderqueer activist who presently resides on the traditional, ancestral and unceded territory of the Lummi (Lhaq'temish) and Nooksack (Noxwsʼáʔaq) people. They are a PhD candidate in Cultural Studies at UC Davis, and are receiving a dual designated emphasis in Performance and Practice and STS (Science and Technology Studies). They are a project director at ModLab, the Digital Humanities Laboratory at UC Davis, where they have organized several projects to better incorporate ecological data into a variety of media. Presently, they are co-authoring بيان الصعود إلى السماء Flight Manifesto, a social artwork directed by Robert Yerachmiel Sniderman in collaboration with Palestinian sound artist Dirar Kalash that centers sonic decolonization along Lhaq'temish and Noxwsʼáʔaq waterways through a serial walk, durational contemplation, public exhibition-intervention. Presently, they are on Planned Leave of Absence (PELP) from UC Davis while serving on the faculty at the Department of English at Western Washington University.
In 2022, they presented research exploring the roles of structural forms of oppression in accelerating CO2 emissions at the ICONICS Scenarios Forum, a climate data gathering co-sponsored by the IPCC. In 2021 they served as a NASA intern, and also that year they chaired and organized the Climate Data Relations panel at the annual gathering of the Society for the Social Studies of Science (4S). Their interest in developing stronger relations between the humanities and geoscience began in 2009, when they co-organized the inaugural conference 'Understanding Sustainability: Perspectives from the Humanities' at Portland State University, which was a seminal gathering in what is now often called Sustainability Studies. Steele is an Advanced Research Affiliate with the Humanities and Critical Code Studies (HaCCS) Lab at the University of California (USC), and has participated in the biannual Critical Code Studies Working Group (CCSWG) since 2016. They were a 2019-20 UC Davis Provost’s Fellow, a 2020 Mellon Public Scholar, and were selected as a HASTAC Scholars Fellow for the 2018-20 and 2021-23 cohorts.
Steele has been part of the cooperative movement since 2011, and presently they are an economist with the California Economists Collective (CEC) and served on the steering committee of Cascade Cooperatives from 2019-2023. They are a former Development Director for Land Action, a mutual aid network for squatters and guerrilla farmers based in Oakland, CA, and from 2013-15 they served as one of three core organizers for Villagecraft, a hands-on learning network in the San Francisco Bay Area that grew to over 1500 learners and 50 facilitators.
Their artistic and cultural work has taken a variety of forms including pieces in e-lit, larp, netprov, and transmedia. Their creative work includes Thermophiles in Love (2016), a 5-gender dating game that incorporates biological data about microorganisms in a playful critique of gender bio-essentialism, which served as a proof of concept for their theoretical work on a critical design methodology they call "gender playability." They also directed Destination Wedding 2070 (2019), a "cli-fi" dark comedy about wedding planning in the year 2070 that draws upon climate data from the C-MIP6. Their work and ideas have been cited and explored in Rob Wittig’s book, Netprov: Networked Improvised Literature for the Classroom and Beyond (Amherst College Press, 2021) and in Mark Marino’s, Critical Code Studies (The MIT Press, 2020).
They received their MFA in Creative Writing from Portland State University in 2014. Their writing has appeared in Slingshot, Subversas Magazine, East Bay Express, The International Journal of Roleplaying, and [Trigger]: A Journal of Catarealism and Speculative Sexuality.
Education and Degree(s)
- MFA, Creative Writing, Portland State University
- BA, Double major in English & Interdisciplinary Studies, Fairhaven College, Western Washington University
- AAS, Bellevue Community College
Honors and Awards
- HASTAC Scholars Fellow (2018-20, 2021-23)
- Golden Key Honor Society Inductee, UC Davis (2022)
- Graduate Student Career Development Award, GradPathways Institute for Professional Development, UC Davis (2021)
- Phi Kappa Phi Honor Society Inductee, UC Davis (2020)
- Mellon Public Scholar (2020)
- Cultural Studies Association Travel Award (2019)
- Provost’s Fellowship in the Arts, Humanities, and Social Sciences, UC Davis (2018-19)
- Graduate Assistantship, The Humanities Sustainability Research Project, Portland Center for Public Humanities (PCPH), PSU (2009)
Western Washington University
- Instructor, ENG 313: Seminar: The 20-21st Century "Games as Literature: Exploring Interactive Narrative Media" (Winter 2023)
- Instructor, ENG 238: Society through its Literature "Consent in Society and Literature" (Winter 2023)
- Instructor, ENG 460: MultiGenre Writing: "Place, Media, Futurity" (Fall 2022)
- Instructor, ENG 354: Nonfiction Writing Seminar (Fall 2022)
- Instructor, ENG 455: Living Writers: Situatedness, Department of English (Spring 2022)
- Facilitator, STS 199/299: Team Independent Study, "STS Research: “Climate Data Relat
ions," Science and Technology Studies (Spring 2022)
- Facilitator, STS 199/299: Team Independent Study, "STS Research: “Earth Systems Modeling & Game Design," Science and Technology Studies (Winter 2022)
- Reader, CHI 010: "Introduction to Chicana/o Studies," Department of Chicana/o Studies (Winter 2022)
- Associate Instructor, UWP 1 "Academic Literacies," University Writing Program (Fall 2020, Spring 2021)
- Reader, AAS 16: "African Verbal Arts," African American & African Studies (Fall 2021)
- Teaching Assistant, HU 2: "Studies of Consent," Humanities Program (Winter 2021)
- Teaching Assistant, CDM 1: "Introduction to Film Studies," Cinema & Digital Media (Spring 2020)
- Teaching Assistant, NAS 121: "Corporate Colonialism," Department of Native American Studies (Winter 2020)
- Facilitator, STS 198/298: Group Independent Study, “Design Methodologies for Analog Games as STEM Pedagogy,” Science and Technology Studies (Spring 2020)
- Facilitator, STS 198/298: Group Independent Study “Data Dramatization through Analog Games,” Science and Technology Studies (Winter 2020)
- Facilitator, FRS 4: "Games for Science and Society: LARPs, ARGs, and Citizen Science," First Year Seminar Program (Fall 2019)
- Facilitator, STS 199/299: Team Independent Study, "STS Research: “Climate Data Relat
Research Interests & Expertise
- Climate Data Relations
- Gamemaking in Education (GME)
- Gender Playability
- Cultural Studies and Critical Theory
- Earth Systems Modeling
- Critical Data Studies
- Critical Code Studies
- Analog Game Studies
- Cooperative Development
- Studies of Consent
- English Literature & Creative Writing
- “The Undiscovered Gender: Towards a theory and method of gender playability.” (2023) Invited chapter in F1000’s Diversity, Inclusion and Equity in Game Development and Design Special Collection, Taylor & Francis, 2023. (under review)
- Steele, Samara Hayley. (2023). “The maker turn in classroom games: An articulation of Gamemaking in Education (GME).” In Generation Analog 2021 Proceedings of the Tabletop Games and Education Conference. Ed. Evan Torner, Shelly Jones, Edmond Chang, Megan Condis, & Aaron Trammell. Pittsburgh, PA: ETC Press, 2023.
- “Code Critique: Decolonizing Climate Code / Decolonizing Climate.” (2022) CCS Working Group 2022, February 28, 2022.
- “Destination Wedding 2070.” (2019) Lead author, creative director. Virtual artwork and climate change simulation game ephemera published in “Climates of Change: A Virtual Exhibition,” co-sponsored by the AMC Conference on Social Media and Hypertext 2020 and the Electronic Literature Organization Conference 2020, online.
- "The Reality Code: Interpreting Aggregate Larp Rules as Code that Runs on Humans." (2016) International Journal of Role-Playing 1(7), pp. 30-35.
- “Reconfiguring Climate Code.” Presentation for the Annual Gathering of the Society for the Social Studies of Science (4S), Cholula, Mexico, 7-10 December 2022.
- “Designing Against Creep: What Can We Learn from Liberatory Larp?” Presentation for the Game Studies track at the annual gathering of the Popular Culture Association (PCA), online. April 13, 2022.
- “Confronting George E. Pickett in Space,” The 24th Annual Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Conference, Whatcom Human Rights Task Force. Online. January 13-15, 2022.
- “Deus ex machina in the climate code? And other questions (or: What we might learn from the humanities?)” Co-author and organizer, Poster Presentation at ICONICS Scenarios Forum 2022, co-sponsored by IIASA, Laxenburg, Austria. Lead author LM Bogad. 20-22 June 2022.
- “Gender diversity in leadership reduces emissions. What does this mean for our models, and for climate communications in general?” Co-author and organizer, Presentation at ICONICS Scenarios Forum 2022, co- sponsored by IIASA, Laxenburg, Austria. Lead author Osprey Lake. 20-22 June 2022.
- “Should future scenarios factor in the impact of racism upon emissions?” Lead author, Presentation at ICONICS Scenarios Forum 2022, co-sponsored by IIASA, Laxenburg, Austria. 20-22 June 2022.
- “The Maker Turn in Classroom Games: How Educational Gamemaking offers a ‘powerful pedagogical paradigm.’” Presentation for GENeration Analog: The Tabletop Games and Education Conference at GenCon 2021, co-sponsored by Analog Game Studies and Game in Lab, online. Aug 4-5, 2021.
- “Consent and Cultural Studies: Hall, Gramsci, Grossberg.” Presentation for the Annual Meeting of the Cultural Studies Association (CSA), online. 10-12 June 2021.
- “Anti-Racist Tactics as Anti-Code at the CHAZ/CHOP.” Presentation for the Annual Meeting of the Cultural Studies Association (CSA), online. 10-12 June 2021. “To Larp, or Not to Larp? Must Embodiment and Code Deployment Reinforce Systemic Injustice across Larp Platforms?” Presentation for the Annual Meeting of the Electronic Literature Association (ELO), online. 26- 27 May 2021.
- “Fork the Commons: Some Notes on the Origins of People’s Park, the Internet, and the Rise of ‘Leftist Fundamentalism’” Presentation for the Annual Meeting of the Cultural Studies Association (CSA), online. 28-30 May 2020.
- “A Question of Diegesis and Agency: Towards a New Materialist Rhetoric for Narrative Studies.” Presenter, Pacific Ancient and Modern Languages Association (PAMLA) conference, 2019. “
- “Whose Autonomy? 50 Years of Emergent Refusals in the Other Utopia.” Presenter, the Union for Democratic Communications (UDC) annual conference, CSU East Bay, 2019.
- “Searching for Zero: Spitballing Hegemonic Modes of “Unknowing” and Conjuring the Big “O” Other.” Presenter, the Society for the Social Studies of Science (4S) annual conference, 2019.
- “Racialized Sousveillance and the Biopolitics of Grievability: Video Footage of Police Brutality as Speculative Realism.” Presenter, Cultural Studies Association (CSA) annual conference, Tulane University, 2019.
- “Tactics for Distributing Power over Diegesis: Comparing Nordic Freeform Larp, Irvine GM-less Larp, and PNW Aggregate Larps” Presentation for the 2018 Living Games Conference. Boston. 18-20 May 2018.
- “Notes Towards Discussing Larp Literacy: Noise Filtering, Direct Diegesis, Extradiegetic Statement Exchange, Intradiegetic Objects, and Others.” Presentation for the Roleplay and Simulation in Education Conference, Northeastern University, Boston, Mass. 17 May 2018.
- “Game Design Methodologies for Gender Playability: A Case Study of Thermophiles in Love.” Invited presenter, the Social Studies of Live Action Role-Playing Games Conference, the European University of St. Petersburg, 2016.
- “Code as Diegetic Language in LARP.” Invited presenter for the “Critical Code Studies and Creativity” panel, Society for Literature, Science, and the Arts (SLSA) annual conference, 2016.
- “Lessons in Netprov: Collaborative Writing in the Digital Age.” Presenter with Rob Wittig and Mark Marino, The Berkeley Center for New Media, UC Berkeley, 2016.
- “Power Made Visible: Interpreting LARP Rules as Code that Runs on Humans.” Living Games Conference. Austin, Texas. 19-22 May 2016.
- “Teaching Political Economy through LARP: Some Game Mechanics of Feudalism and Capitalism.” Presentation for the Role-Playing and Simulation in Education Conference. Texas State University. Round Rock, Texas. May 19, 2016.
- “Gender Playability in Larp: The Roles of Performativity and Interpolation.” Presenter, the Annual Gender Studies Symposium, Lewis & Clark College, 2016.
- “Teaching Political Economy through Larp: Some Game Mechanics of Feudalism and Capitalism.” Presenter, the Role-Playing and Simulation in Education Conference. Texas State University, 2016.
- “Larp and Leisure Labor: Situating Live Action Role-Play within the New Economic Ecology.” Presenter, the Living Games Conference, the Game Center, Tisch School of the Arts, New York University, 2014.
- “Beyond Lords and Ladies: Factors that Support (or Inhibit) Player Experimentation with Gender.” Presenter, the Living Games Conference, the Game Center, Tisch School of the Arts, New York University, 2014.
Membership and Service
- Advanced Research Affiliate, Humanities and Critical Code Studies (HaCCS) Lab, USC. 2016-present.
- Member, Humanities, Arts, Science, and Technology Alliance and Collaboratory (HASTAC), 2018-present.
- Member, Cultural Studies Association (CSA), 2018-present.
- Member, Society for the Social Studies of Science (4S), 2019-present.
- Imagining America Consortium (IA), 2020-present.
- Member, Electronic Literature Organization (ELO), 2021-present.
- Panel Organizer and Chair, “Climate Data Relations,” Society for the Social Studies of Science (4S) Conference. Toronto, Ont. 6-9 October 2021.
- Peer reviewer for the conference, “Digital Humanities 2020: Intersections/Carrefours.” Alliance of Digital Humanities Organizations (ADHO).
- Panel Organizer and Presiding Officer for “So Happy Together: Sympoiesis as Tentacular Resistance in Troubled Times” at the annual meeting of the Pacific Ancient and Modern Languages Association (PAMLA), San Diego, 14-17 November, 2019.
- Peer reviewer for the 2018 CHI PLAY Conference Proceedings Publication. CHI PLAY, Special Interest Group on Computer–Human Interaction (SIGCHI). 2018.
- Panel chair for “Academic Panel: Bleed and Transformation.” The Living Games Conference. Boston, Mass. 17-20 May 2018.
- Logistical Support for Organizers of Decolonize Reading Group. University Press Books. Berkeley, CA. 2016-2017.
- Co-Facilitator, Training Workshop: “Crisis Management: Bleed, Harassment, Trauma.” The Living Games Conference. Austin, Tx. 19-22 May 2016.
- Skillshare Director, “Offerings: A Feminist Festival of Transformative Arts.” The Siren Project. Women’s Cancer Resource Center. Oakland, Calif. 14 Sept 2014.
- Organizer for inaugural conference, “Understanding Sustainability: Perspectives from the Humanities.” The Portland Center for Public Humanities, Portland State University, Portland, Ore. 14-16 May 2009.
- Organizer for “FOOD | CLOTHING | SHELTER” lecture series. The Portland Center for Public Humanities, Portland State University, Portland, Ore. March 3-April 28, 2009.