Go to content

Prof. Dr. Astrid Ensslin

Prof. Dr. Astrid Ensslin joined the University of Regensburg in December 2022 as Professor of "Dynamiken virtueller Kommunikationsräume" (literal translation: "Dynamics of Virtual Communication Spaces"). She previously held full professorships at the University of Wales (Bangor), the University of Alberta (Canada) and the University of Bergen (Norway).

Her research and teaching sit at the multiple intersections between digital media and game studies, cultural studies, literary studies, and applied linguistics. She has published and led research projects in digital fiction and literary gaming, body image, critical community design and narrative therapy, digital publishing, the language(s) of gaming, virtual worlds, digital humanities and empirical reader research. Her current work focuses on post- and decolonial approaches to literary media, World Games and folk mechanic, and feminist app research/development.

E-mail: astrid[dot]ensslin[at]ur.de

Photo courtesy of Margit Scheid/UR


CV

Academic positions:

Since Dec. 2022 Professor, Dynamics of Virtual Communication Spaces, University of Regensburg
Jan. 2021 - Nov. 2022 (Associate) Professor of Digital Culture, University of Bergen, NO
May - Dec 2020 Director, Media and Technology Studies, University of Alberta, CA
July 2016 - Dec. 2020  Professor of Digital Humanities and Game Studies, University of Alberta, CA
July 2013 - Jan. 2016 Deputy Dean and Director of Research, Faculty of Arts and Humanities, Bangor University, UK
Jan. 2007 - Jan. 2016 Assistant (tenure-track), Associate (tenured) and Full Professor of New Media / Digital Humanities / Digital Communication, University of Wales (Bangor), UK
Mar 2006 - Apr 2007 Postdoctoral Researcher, ESRC GerManC project, University of Manchester, UK
Sept 2002 - Feb 2006 Teaching Fellow and British Academy Research Assistant, University of Leeds, UK

Educational background (selection):

2019-2020 University of Alberta, Gold College of Academic Leadership
2002-2006 Dr. phil., Anglistische Literaturwissenschaft, Universität Heidelberg. Dissertation: "Canonizing Hypertext: Explorations and Constructions" (summa cum laude, shortlisted for Ruprecht Karl's Award)
2002-2003 Postgraduate Certificate of Learning and Teaching in Higher Education / Fellow of the Higher Education Academy
1996-2002 Staatsexamen Anglistik/Germanistik, Universität Tübingen (First Class Honours)
1994-1995 Stuttgart Academy of Music and Performing Arts: BMus (violin performance and pedagogy) - intermediate degree

Research

Select list:

  • “Center for Digital Narrative”, NFR (Norsk forskningsråd) SFF (Center for Excellence in Research), 2023-2033, (PI, Directors: Profs. Scott Rettberg and Jill Walker Rettberg, University of Bergen, NO): NOK 155m.
  • “The Intimate Technology Shaping Millions of Lives: Exploring the Possibilities of Menstruation and Perimenopause Tracking Apps for People with Diverse Embodied Experiences”, Marsden Fund New Zealand 2022-2024, (Associate Investigator; PI: Prof Sarah Riley): NZ$  870,000
  • “Critical and Inclusive Digital Narratives: Theory and Praxis”, Meltzer Høyskolefond 2022 (PI): NOK 47,500
  • “Audio Games and Music Composition,” SSHRC Insight Grant, 2022-2026 (Co-PI; PI: Prof Scott Smallwood): CDN$ 268,400.
  • “Enabling Equipment for Research Excellence in Human-Computer Interaction (HCI)”: UiBergen Infrastructure Grant, 2022 (Co-PI; PI: Prof Morten Fjeld): NOK 4,783,000
  • “Studying the Language of VR: Understanding Affective Empathy”: UiBergen Smådrift, 2021-2022, PI: NOK 40,120
  • “Understanding the digitalized world structuring women’s embodied experiences”: UMassey MURF Grant (CI; PI: Prof Sarah Riley), 2021: NZ$ 6,000
  • “Writing New Bodies: Critical Co-Design for 21st Century Digital-born Bibliotherapy”: SSHRC (Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada), 2018-21, PI: CDN$ 217,165
  •  “Speech Accents in Games:” 
    • SSHRC  / ReFiG sub-project, 2017-18, PI: $18,530
    • match-funded by KIAS Cluster grant, “Deep Learning for Sound Recognition” (PI: Prof Michael Frishkopf), 2017, CI: $55,000
  • Digital Narratives around the World:” KIAS (Kule Institute of Advanced Study) Dialogue Grant, 2016-17, PI: $1,770.
  • “Reading Digital Fiction,” UK Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC), Research Grant (with Dr Alice Bell, Sheffield Hallam, UK), 2014-17, CI: £243,000.
  • “Computer Gaming Across Cultures,” British Council’s UK-US-India Education and Research Initiative (with University of West Virginia and Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi), 2013-15, Co-PI: £49,500.
  •  Transformative thinking: Using digital fiction as a tool for improving body image,” Welsh Crucible seed grant (with Dr Sarah Riley, Aberystwyth and Dr Joan Haran, Cardiff University), 2013-14, CI: £8,838.
  • What’s Hard in German:” (specialized corpus of advanced British L2 learners of German); AHRC and the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft, , (with Prof. Anke Lüdeling, Humboldt University, Berlin), 2009-12, PI: £247,000.
  • “Digital Fiction International Network:” Leverhulme Trust (with Dr Alice Bell, Sheffield Hallam, UK), 2009-2011, CI: £15,500.

Publications

Monographs and Editions:

  1. Thomas, Bronwen, Julia Round and Astrid Ensslin (eds) (at press) The Routledge Companion to Literary Media. New York: Routledge.
  2. Bell, Alice and Astrid Ensslin (at press) Reading Digital Fiction: Narrative, Cognition, Mediality. New York: Routledge.
  3. Ensslin, Astrid (2022) Pre-Web Digital Publishing and the Lore of Electronic Literature, Cambridge: C.U.P.
  4. Ensslin, Astrid & Alice Bell (2021) Digital Fiction and the Unnatural: Transmedial Narrative Theory, Method, and Analysis. Columbus, OH: Ohio State University Press.
  5. Ensslin, Astrid & Isabel Balteiro (eds) (2019) Approaches to Videogame Discourse: Lexis, Interaction, Textuality. New York: Bloomsbury.
  6. Ensslin, Astrid, Pawel Frelik and Lisa Swanstrom (eds) (2017), Small Screen Fictions, Special Issue of Paradoxa, vol. 29. 334 pp.
  7. Ensslin, Astrid (2014) Literary Gaming. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.
  8. Bell, Alice, Astrid Ensslin & Hans Rustad (eds) (2014) Analysing Digital Fiction. New York: Routledge.
  9. Ensslin, Astrid (2011) The Language of Gaming. Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan.
  10. Ensslin Astrid & Eben Muse (eds) (2011) Creating Second Lives: Community, Identity and Spatiality as Constructions of the Virtual. New York: Routledge.
  11. Ensslin, Astrid (2007) Canonizing Hypertext: Explorations and Constructions. London: Continuum.
  12. Johnson, Sally & Astrid Ensslin (eds) (2007) Language in the Media: Representations, Identities, Ideologies. London: Continuum.

Recent articles and peer-reviewed chapters:

  1. Ensslin, Astrid (2022) “Video Games as Complex Narratives and Embodied Metalepsis”, in Paul Dawson and Maria Mäkelä (ed) The Routledge Companion to Narrative Theory. New York: Routledge.
  2. Perram, Megan and Astrid Ensslin (2022) “The Possibilities of Illness Narratives in Virtual Reality for Bodies at the Margins,” Digital Creativity, online first, 22/05/2022.
  3. Wilks, C., A. Ensslin, C. Rice, S. Riley, M. Perram, K. A. Bailey, L. Munro and H. Fowlie (2022) “Developing a Choice-Based Digital Fiction for Body Image Bibliotherapy,” Frontiers in Communication, 6, 10.3389/fcomm.2021.786465
  4. Ensslin, Astrid (2022) “Transmedial Unnatural Spatiality and Postdigital Dystopicalization in The Pickle Index,” in Dan Punday (ed) Digital Narrative Spaces: An Interdisciplinary Examination. New York: Routledge.
  5. Villanueva, Emily and Astrid Ensslin (2021) “Divine intervention: Multimodal pragmatics and unconventional opposition in performed character speech in Dragon Age: Inquisition“, in Gaëlle Planchenault and Livia Poljak (ed) Pragmatics of Accents. Amsterdam: John Benjamins, pp. 205–228.
  6. Ensslin, Astrid, Carla Rice, Sarah Riley, Christine Wilks, Megan Perram, Hannah Fowlie, Lauren Munro, and Aly Bailey (2021), “Bodies in E-lit,” in J. O’Sullivan and D. Grigar (eds) Electronic Literature as Digital Humanities. New York: Bloomsbury, pp. 91-102.
  7. Van der Bom, Isabelle, Lyle Skains, Alice Bell, and Astrid Ensslin (2021), “Reading Hyperlinks in Digital Fiction: an Empirical Approach,” in Alice Bell, Sam Browse, Alison Gibbons, and Dave Peplow (eds) Style and Reader Response: Minds, Media, Methods. Amsterdam: John Benjamins.

See here for a full and up-to-date list of research outputs.


Credentials

Awards:

  • University of Alberta GSA Graduate Student Supervisor Award 2023
  • Great Supervisor Award, Faculty of Graduate Studies and Research, University of Alberta, 2020
  • N. Katherine Hayles Award for Criticism of Electronic Literature, 2019, second prize, for Small Screen Fictions
  • Associate Researcher of the Electronic Literature Lab at Washington State University Vancouver, 2019-2020
  • Research Excellence Award (Full Professor), University of Alberta, Faculty of Arts (2019)
  • MeCCSA (Media, Communication and Cultural Studies Association, UK) Poster Prize (2009)
  • First Prize, Teaching Excellence Awards, Faculty of Arts and Humanities, University of Leeds (UK) (2004)

Externally funded projects (selection):

  • “Center for Digital Narrative”, NFR (Norsk forskningsråd) SFF (Center for Excellence in Research), 2023-2033, (PI, Directors: Profs. Scott Rettberg and Jill Walker Rettberg, University of Bergen, NO): NOK 155m.
  • “The Intimate Technology Shaping Millions of Lives: Exploring the Possibilities of Menstruation and Perimenopause Tracking Apps for People with Diverse Embodied Experiences”, Marsden Fund New Zealand 2022-2024, (Associate Investigator; PI: Prof Sarah Riley): NZ$  870,000
  • “Critical and Inclusive Digital Narratives: Theory and Praxis”, Meltzer Høyskolefond 2022 (PI): NOK 47,500
  • “Writing New Bodies: Critical Co-Design for 21st Century Digital-born Bibliotherapy”: SSHRC (Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada), 2018-21, PI: CDN$ 217,165
  • “Speech Accents in Games:” SSHRC  / ReFiG sub-project, 2017-18, PI: $18,530
    match-funded by KIAS Cluster grant, “Deep Learning for Sound Recognition” (PI: Prof Michael Frishkopf), 2017, CI: $55,000)
  • “Reading Digital Fiction,” UK Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC), Research Grant (with Dr Alice Bell, Sheffield Hallam, UK), 2014-17, CI: £243,000.
  • “Computer Gaming Across Cultures,” British Council’s UK-US-India Education and Research Initiative (with University of West Virginia and Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi), 2013-15, Co-PI: £49,500.
  •  “Transformative thinking: Using digital fiction as a tool for improving body image,” Welsh Crucible seed grant (with Dr Sarah Riley, Aberystwyth and Dr Joan Haran, Cardiff University), 2013-14, CI: £8,838.
  • “What’s Hard in German:” (specialized corpus of advanced British L2 learners of German); AHRC and the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft, , (with Prof. Anke Lüdeling, Humboldt University, Berlin), 2009-12, PI: £247,000.
  • “Digital Fiction International Network:” Leverhulme Trust (with Dr Alice Bell, Sheffield Hallam, UK), 2009-2011, CI: £15,500.

Keynotes:

  • "Electronic Literature in Europe and India", Valedictory speech, "E-literature: Explorations in Literary Creativity" conference, Jamia Millia Islamia University, New Delhi, 16-17 Jan 2023.
  • “Videogames, Digital Fiction, and the Unnatural,” 1st International Conference on Games and Narrative, University of Waterloo (CA), June 14th, 2021.
  • (with Christine Wilks), “Posthuman Healing and Critical Digital Fiction Co-Design”, 15th SLSAeu Conference, “Literary and Aesthetic Posthumanism”, Bergen, March 4th, 2021.
  • “‘These Waves …:” Writing New Bodies for Applied E-literature Studies.” Electronic Literature Organization conference, Cork, Ireland, July 17th, 2019.
  • “VR Story-gaming: Between Immersion, Flow, and Engagement.” VR/AR in Education conference, Swansea University (UK), September 12th, 2018.
  • “Embodiment in Digital Fictions: Towards Post-Digital Écriture Féminine,” 16th Annual St Jerome’s Day Conference, “Translation and the Body,” University of Alberta, Sept 30th, 2018.
  • “Transmediating Bildung: Videogames as Life Formation Narratives,” Transmediating Culture(s) conference, Szczecin University (PL), Nov 17-19, 2016. 
  • “Metaludicity in Jason Nelson’s Poetry Games,” Digital Poetry conference, University of Gothenburg (SE), Sept 20, 2016.
  • “The Language of Gaming: Affective Discourse Patterns in Two Videogame Paratext Genres,” LEXESP 2016: Videogames and Language, May 5-6, 2016, University of Alicante (E). 
  • “Videogames as Unnatural Narratives,” DiGRA 2015 (Digital Games Research Association) conference, 14-17 May 2015, Leuphana (Lüneburg, D).
  • “Studying the Meanings of Digital Fiction: Ludostylistics and Psychonarratology,” IALS 2014 (International Association of Literary Semantics) conference, 4 July 2014, Kent (UK).
  • (with Cedric Krummes), “Lernersprache zu DaF-Materialien: die Korpora WHiG und Falko,” DAAD Conference 2012, Cumberland Lodge, Windsor Great Park (UK), June 2012.
  • “Literary Gaming: Between Ludic Digital Literature and Literary Computer Games,” CoDE 2012 conference, Anglia Ruskin University, Cambridge (UK), 28 March 2012.
  • “’Staging Illusion:’ Metalepsis as a Transmedia Phenomenon,” “Staging Illusion” conference, University of Sussex (UK), 8-9 December 2011.
  • “New Media Writing: Towards Second Generation Criticism,” MeCCSA PGN Conference, Bangor, 9 July 2009. 

Leadership (recent):

  • Director of the Electronic Literature Organization (since 2017)
  • Graduate of UAlberta’s Gold College Academic Leadership program, 2019-2020
  • Director of Media and Technology Studies at UAlberta (2020)
  • Director of UAlberta, Faculty of Arts “Digital Synergies” signature area of research and creative collaboration (2019-2020)
  • Deputy Dean (Research), College of Arts and Humanities, Bangor University (2013-2016)


Editorial roles:

  • Principal Editor, Bloomsbury “Electronic Literature” book series
  • Editorial Board member, Discourse, Context and Media (Elsevier)
  • Editorial Board member, Digital Culture & Society (transcript / de Gruyter)
  • Board of Reviewers, Game Studies 


Research consultancy (selection):

  • Board member, Austrian Science Fund, PEEK (Program for Arts-Based Research)
  • Member of the ESF (European Science Foundation) College of Expert Reviewers
  • Advisor to Innovate UK and RCUK (Research Councils UK) on their Creative Content Industries Delivery Plan for 2015/16, Oct 2014
  • Advisor to the European Science Foundation on its Forward Look on ‘Media Studies: new media and new literacies’, May 2012.
  • Peer reviewer and/or adjudication committee member, e.g. for the European Commission’s Research Executive Agency on its Horizon 2020 program; Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft; Studienstiftung des Deutschen Volkes; Arts and Humanities Research Council UK; Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada; Leverhulme Trust (UK); Irish Research Council; Council for the Humanities of the Netherlands Organisation for Scientific Research; Austrian Science Fund; Fond National de la Recherche Luxembourg.
     

For more information, visit my personal homepage.


Teaching

Teaching at UR:

Summer Semester 2023

Winter Semester 2022/23 

  • Blockseminar, "Digitale Literatur in/als digitale Geisteswissenschaften" | 36250 

Courses taught at the University of Bergen (2021-2022):

  • DIKULT 207 Digital Humanities in Practice (fall 2021 and 2022)
  • DIKULT251 Critical Perspectives on Technology and Society with Bachelor Thesis: Participatory Culture (spring 2021 and 2022)
  • DIKULT 301 Research Methods and Project Development in Digital Culture (spring 2022)
  • DIKULT 303 Digital Media Aesthetics (fall 2021 and 2022)


Courses taught at the University of Alberta (2016-2020):

  • MLCS 210 Language(s) of Culture (winter 2019 and 2020)
  • MLCS 499 Advanced Critical Game Design and Theory (winter 2019)
  • MLCS 345 / DH 530 Videogames Across Cultures (fall 2018 and 2020)
  • C LIT 210 Cyberliterature (winter 2018)
  • HUCO 617 Digital Fiction (fall 2016 and 2017; winter 2020)
  • HUCO 530 Project Design and Management in Humanities Computing (winter 2017)
  • MLCS 795 Grant Writing (fall 2017, 2018, 2020)

PhDs supervised to completion:

  • Dr James Barrett, ‘Reading Freedom: Techniques for the Control of Reading in Four Works of Digital Literature’ (2015, University of Umeå)
  • Dr Sonia Fizek, ‘A Methodological Toolkit for Player Character Research in Offline Role-Playing Games’ (2012, Bangor University)
  • Dr Xavier Laurent, ‘Memory of Intelligent Virtual Agents in a 3D Environment: a Behavioural and Computational Approach’ (2014, Bangor University)
  • Dr Lyle Skains, ‘Practice-led creative writing research into multimodal digital narratives’ (2013, Bangor University)

Current PhD students:

  • Jordan Ashworth (PhD MLCS), “On the Nature of Doing Glitches in Speedrunning: A Case Study of The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past” (candidacy passed, 2022)
  • Max Dickeson (PhD EFS), “Social Rolls: Narrative Play and Social Interaction in Tabletop Role-laying Games” (candidacy passed, 2021)
  • McKenzie Gordon (PhD MLCS / Interdisciplinary Studies), “Press ‘X’ to Crush the Patriarchy: Video Games as Sites for Sexual Violence Prevention” (candidacy passed, 2021)
  • Liljana Gulcev (PhD MLCS), “Beasts to Bed, Wed, and Dread: Imagining Masculinities in Folk and Popular Media” (candidacy passed, 2018)
  • Melanie Oberg (PhD English and Film Studies), “Games Without Language: Reading the Story of Silence” (candidacy passed, 2022)
  • Megan Perram (PhD MLCS), “Click Me: Literary Hypertext as Illness Narrative for Women with Hyperandrogenism” (candidacy passed, 2020)

See here for further information about my past and present teaching and graduate supervision.



  1. HOMEPAGE UR

Prof. Dr. Astrid Ensslin

Professor for Dynamics of Virtual Communication Spaces

Mail: astrid.ensslin@ur.de

Secretary:Helena Artinger

Mail: dimas@ur.de
Tel. +49 941 943 5964