Shaun Edmonds

Shaun E. Edmonds

After completing his English Literature BA (with a minor in East Asian Languages and Cultures) in 2002 at The University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, Shaun spent two years as an Assistant Language Teacher in Okinawa, Japan. Upon returning to the United States, he was employed as a Lead Quality Assurance Tester at Volition, working on games such as Saints Row and Red Faction Guerrilla.

Eager to return to academia, Shaun completed an AS in Kinesiology at Parkland College, and earned his NSCA CPT certification. He then moved to San Francisco and attended San Francisco State University to pursue an MA in Sexuality Studies. Shaun is currently a PhD student in the PCS stream of Kinesiology at the University of Maryland. His research interests include physical activity, sexuality, and masculinity, particularly in hyper-masculine spaces. In his spare time, he enjoys being a big nerd and lifting heavy things.One day, he'd like to challenge himself in Utah...

Title: Elements of Play:  Creatively Engaging Naturalized Power

In this paper, I will utilize the work of Mary Flanagan’s Critical Play as the basis for a wholehearted and creative approach to working with and manipulating the powerful hegemonies and internalized naturalizations created through language and socialization. I will also engage works that perform critical play to great effect; whether illuminating the rebar that forms our built world, giving insight into new ways of play, and/or providing alternative modes of categorization and consolidation.  By challenging the way in which we engage the world around us, we can craft new ways of thought. Using Critical Play as a form of approach to academic work and social movements, the playful nature of construction and deconstruction transforms our work from simple critique to an approach that embraces the creativity and wonder of play.

Reexamining the works of Sandoval, Law, Barad, and others through the approach of critical plays induces new patterns and forms of understanding to emerge.  These authors have taken strongly solidified and hardened topics, what Law et al would describe as “pure” (Law et al., 2014), and atomized them. They refuse typical boundary objects and unpack the assumptions that have been black-boxed, often by simply ignoring the way things are “supposed” to be used, and instead refashioning them to fit the imagination of the author. This playful attitude towards their work is shown in how once familiar ideas are redressed in new forms, rewritten in new stories, or unplayed from their typical cultural and epistemic bindings. 

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