Platform Studies
a book series from The MIT Press
Ian Bogost & Nick Montfort, series editors

New media studies — focused on artifacts, games, and works of digital art and literature — have been undertaken on many different levels, but the foundation of new media is still relatively neglected.

Reception/operation is the level that includes reception aesthetics, reader response theory, psychoanalysis, desensitization to violence studies, and empirical studies of interaction and play. Only interactive media are explicitly operated, but all sorts of media are received and understood, so insights from other fields can often be usefully adapted to digital media at this level.

Interface studies include the whole discipline of human-computer interface, comparative studies of user interface done by humanists and literary critics, and approaches from visual studies, film theory, and art history. Remediation concerns itself with interface, although reception and operation are concerns of that approach, too. Many studies span multiple levels, but there is usually an emphasis on one.

Form/function is the main concern of cybertext studies and of much of the work in game studies and ludology. Narratology, previously used to understand literature and cinema, is an approach that deals with form and function and which has been applied to new media as well.

Code is a level that has only recently been explored by those investigating new media. Writing in the areas of code studies, software studies, and code aesthetics is not yet widespread, but a handful of books and panels on the topic signal an increasing interest in the way creative work is programmed and understood by programmers. The discipline of software engineering is a related field that concerns itself with the code level as well as with organizational and individual capabilities for software development.

Platform is the abstraction level beneath code, a level which has not yet been systematically studied. If code studies are new media's analogue to software engineering and computer programming, platform studies are the humanistic parallel of computing systems and computer architecture, connecting the fundamentals of new media work to the cultures in which they were produced and the cultures in which coding, forms, interfaces, and eventual use are layered upon them.

For more information or
to submit a book proposal...

Contact one of the series editors,
Ian Bogost or Nick Montfort:

In preparing a book proposal, prospective authors should consult the MIT Press submission guidelines.