2019-2020 Lab Graduate Fellows


Hannah Rogers is a Ph.D. Candidate in the Duke English Department who specializes in British literature of the nineteenth century. She is interested in the relationship between empire and culture in games. Currently, she is developing a syllabus that explores the popularity of empire-themed games. Some of the questions she hopes to address in this course are: How do these games reflect how our daily lives are still shaped by imperialism? What can we learn from games that, at least on the surface, reinforce the ideals of imperialism? Is it possible to create an anti-colonial game?


Anna YachenkoAnna Yanchenko is a Ph.D. Candidate in Statistical Science at Duke.  Her research focuses on using machine learning models for time series data to generate and compose classical music.  She is working with James Chu to develop an interactive composition game that can be used to explore musical preference, by both musicians and non-musicians.  The broad goal of this work is to quantitatively explore musical preference and how it changes over time, and eventually to integrate the findings into future algorithmic composition models.


Katya Gorecki is a Ph.D. candidate studying digital media and popular culture. Her project adapts the first chapter of her dissertation, Split Reality: Virtual Worlds of America 1692-2017, on the Salem witchcraft trials. Players inhabit roles based on court documents to discover the witches—which may or may not actually be present. Game rules simulate beliefs about legal evidence from the 1690s that continue to inform legal practices in 2019 and the theological principles that shaped them. During her fellowship, she will be developing this game and transitioning it into a digital prototype as part of her dissertation.


James Chu is a composer and clarinetist of electro-acoustic music. He is a Ph.D. Candidate in Music Composition at Duke University. His dissertation concerns the aesthetics of simplicity in music. For the Games & Cultures Humanities Lab, he is working with Anna Yanchenko, a Ph.D. Candidate in Statistical Science at Duke, to distill what can be quantified and understood objectively about musical intuition, spontaneity, and musical effect through custom-built software that extracts details pointing toward the aesthetic and musical preferences of the user.


Doug Stark is a Ph.D. student in the English Department at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill. Doug’s perspective dissertation explores the epistemic pre-conditions for forms of play and game in both the post-war military-industrial complex and the post-war avant-garde: paradigms of thought that shaped the video game and so-called gamification as we know it today. While a Duke Games & Culture Lab Fellow, Doug will work on a project concerning the relationship among historically oriented video games, playful humor, and online white supremacy. He has publications and forthcoming work on videogame literature, neoliberalism, and Afrofuturism.