Joost Raessens

Chair of Media Theory

Utrecht University

Visiting Scholar

New York University

Prof. dr. Joost Raessens holds the chair of Media Theory at Utrecht University. His research concerns the ‘ludification of culture,’ focusing in particular on persuasive, serious, or applied gaming (in relation to global issues such as climate change, refugees), on the playful construction of identities, and on the notion of play as a conceptual framework for the analysis of media use.

Raessens is member of the Council for the Humanities (The Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences, KNAW) and member of the advisory board of the Centre for the Humanities, Utrecht University. He is on the editorial board of Games and Culture. A Journal of Interactive Media (SAGE) and the Journal of Gaming and Virtual Worlds (Intellect), and on the board of reviewers of Game Studies. The International Journal of Computer Game Research. He has been Visiting Professor at the University of California, Los Angeles (2006) and Visiting Scholar at the University of California, Riverside (2004-2005). He was the conference chair of the first Digital Games Research Association (DiGRA) conference Level Up in Utrecht (2003). 

His inaugural lecture was published in 2012: Homo Ludens 2.0. The Ludic Turn in Media Theory (Utrecht University). He edited Playful Identities. The Ludification of Digital Media Cultures (AUP, 2015), Digital Material. Tracing New Media in Everyday Life and Technology (AUP, 2009), Handbook of Computer Game Studies (The MIT Press, 2005, 2011), and Level Up. Digital Games Research Conference (Utrecht University, 2003). In 2001 he published his PhD thesis Philosophy and Film (Budel: Damon). 

Raessens is project leader of the research project Persuasive Gaming. From Theory-Based Design to Validation and Back (NWO, Creative Industries; 2013-2017) and of the Utrecht University Graduate Programme Game Research (NWO; a collaboration with Computer Science; since 2013). He participated in two research networks funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council (UK; 2013-2015): Creative Territories (led by Patrick Crogan, at the University West of England) and Games and Social Change (led by Scott Gaule, at Manchester Metropolitan University).

He was project coordinator of the Intensive Programme or Summerschool Identity and Interdisciplinarity in Games and Play Research (NUFFIC, Erasmus; 2014), and has been the supervisor of the research programmes Playful Identities (NWO; 2005-2010), Design Rules for Learning Through Simulated Worlds (GATE; 2007-2012) and Mobile Learning-Citizen Science (GATE; 2010-2012). 

Raessens is one of the two directors of the Utrecht University research focus area Game Research (together with Remco Veltkamp, Computer Science); he is also the scientific director of GAP: the Center for the Study of Digital Games and Play.