欢迎您！(Welcome) to my blog! I’ll be updating this site with posts whenever I have something new to report. In the meantime, check out my other pages to learn more about my research, publications and teaching!
A bit about me: I am Marcella Szablewicz, an Assistant Professor of Communication Studies at Pace University in NYC. I received my PhD in 2012 from the Department of Communication & Media at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, and I was a Mellon Postdoctoral Fellow in the MIT Department of Comparative Media Studies from 2012-2014. I first became interested in Chinese digital culture in 2002, when studying abroad in Harbin, China. My formal study of Internet gaming began with a summer of fieldwork in Shanghai in 2004, while completing an MA in China Studies at Duke University. From 2009 to 2010 I conducted a year of ethnographic research in Shanghai as a U.S. Fulbright Fellow and a Foreign Visiting Scholar at the Shanghai Academy of Social Sciences.
The name of my website, fei yao wan (非要玩), is a Chinese phrase that popped up in one of my interviews with a professional Warcraft III player. In discussing his path to fame, I asked him how his parents had reacted to his gaming habit when he was younger. He told me that initially his parents had tried to forbid him from playing, worrying that gaming would have a negative effect on his studies but that, despite their warnings and protests, he “still wanted to play” (“fei yao wan”). This story is familiar to many young Chinese Internet gamers who find their online leisure activities criticized by disapproving family members, government officials and the mainstream media.
My research focuses on the discourses that surround digital leisure practices in China and the ways in which these discourses affect/are affected by the subjectivities of the young gamers who, despite the negative attention, “fei yao wan”.