Jaroslav Švelch

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  • Faculty of Social Sciences, Charles University in Prague – media studies (Ph.D., September 2013). Dissertation: The 8-bit “craze”: The Origins of Computer Gaming Culture in Czechoslovakia
  • Microsoft Research New England, Cambridge MA, USA – Ph.D. internship (September – December 2012)
  • Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge MA, USA – comparative media studies, visiting researcher on the J.W. Fulbright scholarship (September 2007 – January 2009)
  • Faculty of Arts, Charles University in Prague – linguistics and phonetics/translation and interpretation (Master’s Degree, 2011). Thesis: Amateur Translation of TV Feature Series and Its Social Context.
  • Faculty of Social Sciences, Charles University in Prague – media studies (Master’s degree, 2005). Thesis: Time stucture in narrative news stories.
  • University of Glamorgan, Trefforest, Wales, UK – media & communication, exchange program (September 2003-March 2004)
  • Faculty of Social Sciences, Charles University in Prague – journalism (Bachelor’s degree, 2002). Thesis: The Relationship between the Verbal and Non-Verbal elements in the Čtyřlístek comics.

Research experience

  • research team member in the POLCORE group at Charles University – research on political participation and civic engagement online
  • research project at Microsoft Research New England on the making of physical humor in virtual spaces, supervised by Mary L. Gray and Nancy Baym – results to be submitted to the Television & New Media journal
    methods: open-ended interviews (Skype and face-to-face), qualitative analysis of textual materials
  • leading a team of graduate students at Charles University in Prague focusing on the social history of the gaming community in Czechoslovakia and the Czech Republic (2009-now)
    methods: oral history interviews, qualitative analysis of textual materials
  • two larger-scale studies of online interactions: a study of language management and multilingualism in online discussion forums, a study of amateur subtitling communities
    methods: online ethnography, qualitative interviews, qualitative analysis of textual materials
  • a study of moral identification in video games (methods: focus group)
  • research assistant to Beth Coleman, Assistant Professor of Writing and New Media at MIT: research on the history of virtual worlds for Dr. Coleman’s book Hello Avatar (2008-2009)

Teaching experience

  • lecturer in game studies and new media and society at Charles University in Prague (2009-now) – 5 courses a year, Czech and English
  • lecturer in game studies at Masaryk University in Brno, Czech Republic (2009-now) – 2-4 courses a year, Czech and English
  • supervisor of the Game Studies minor track at Masaryk University in Brno, Czech Republic (2014-onwards), coordinator of five game studies-related courses
  • regular guest lectures at NYU Prague on game industry and game cultures in the class Culture and Social Media Technologies (Jeremy Druker)
  • lecturer in an EU media literacy programme – lecturing and leading workshops with high school teachers

Grants and scholarships

  • J. W. Fulbright Commission scholarship – one year research grant to study Comparative Media Studies at Massachusetts Institute of Technology, extended by another 6 months (2007-2008)
  • Czech Science Foundation – project co-writer, team member on the grant The Role Of Social Media In Transformation Of Political Communication And Citizen Participation, awarded in 2013


  • Švelch, J. (2012e). Všechny hry, po kterých toužíte: Neformální systémy distribuce počítačových her v Československu v 80. a 90. letech 20. století. In B. Suwara & Z. Husárová (Eds.), V sieti strednej Európy: nielen o elektronickej literatúre (pp. 143–156). Bratislava: SAP a Ústav svetovej literatúry SAV.
  • Švelch, J. (2012d). Text, příběh a stroj: Digitální textualita a textové počítačové hry v Československu 80. let 20. století. In B. Suwara & Z. Husárová (Eds.), V sieti strednej Európy: nielen o elektronickej literatúre (pp. 157–173). Bratislava: SAP a Ústav svetovej literatúry SAV.
  • Švelch, J. (2012c). Hra pro více hráčů: Herní studia a interdisciplinarita. In B. Suwara & Z. Husárová (Eds.), V sieti strednej Európy: nielen o elektronickej literatúre (pp. 125–141). Bratislava: SAP a Ústav svetovej literatúry SAV.
  • Švelch, J. (2012b). Co nám říká hra: Teoretické a metodologické přístupy k počítačové hře jako expresivnímu médiu. Iluminace24(2), 33–48.
  • Švelch, J. (2012a). Bílá místa na mapě herního designu: Rozhovor s Jakubem Dvorským a Jaroslavem Kolářem. Iluminace24(2), 89–96.
  • Švelch, J. (2011c). Smyšlené prostory, skutečné technologie: k historii projektů virtuálních světů. In J. Horáková (Ed.), Umění a nová média (Vydání první., pp. 97–112). Brno: Masarykova univerzita.
  • Švelch, J. (2011b). Novináři, kteří nepíšou: reprezentace žurnalistiky v počítačových hrách. Komunikace, média, společnost1(1), 8–18.
  • Švelch, J. (2011a). Amatérský překlad televizních seriálů v sociálním kontextu (Amateur Translation of Scripted Television Series and Its Social Context) (Master’s thesis). Charles University in Prague, Prague, Czech Republic.
  • Švelch, J. (2008a). Počítačové hry jako nová média. Mediální studia3(1), 8–35.
  • Švelch, J. (2007). Počítačové hry a jejich místo v mediálních studiích. Pražské sociálně vědní studie, (MED-009), 1–66.
Conference participation and talks

  • What’s so funny about glitches: The practice of making glitch based gameplay videos. DiGRA, Lüneburg, Germany, May 2015
  • Protest games in the 1980s Czechoslovakia: Beyond procedural rhetoric. DiGRA, Lüneburg, Germany, May 2015
  • The non-lineary history of hacking games. DiGRA, Lüneburg, Germany, May 2015
  • Regional Diversity vs Globalization in Digital Games / A Historical Perspective from Czechoslovakia, Different Games 2015, New York, USA, April 2015
  • You’re standing in the living room: Homebrew games and everyday life in the 1980s Czechoslovakia, Society for Cinema and Media Studies 2015 conference, Montréal, Canada, March 2015
  • Central and Eastern European Game Studies conference, Brno, 10-11 October, 2014, conference co-founder, program chair and organizing committee member
  • A temporary craze that didn’t go away: The origins of a gaming culture in the 1980s Czechoslovakia, Cyberspace, Brno, Czech Republic, November 2014
  • Campaigning in a Contested Space: Communication on Facebook Party Profiles During the 2013 Czech Parliamentary Elections (with V. Štětka, L. Vochocová), ECREA 2014, Lisbon, Portugal, November 2014
  • Just a temporary craze: Discourses on micro computers and computer games in the 1980s Czechoslovakia, New Media Histories, Lodz, Poland, October 2014
  • Robbing the robbers using simulated computer networks: 1980s Czechoslovak hacking games as a local (sub)genre, Central and Eastern European Game Studies, Brno, Czech Republic, October 2014
  • The coup that flopped: the role of Facebook in a grassroots political action in the Czech Republic (with V. Štětka), Social Media and the Transformation of Public Sphere, Amsterdam, Netherlands, June 2014
  • Making mischief in video games: The player and the engine as co-creators of physical humor in simulated video game spaces, Society for Cinema and Media Studies, Seattle, USA, March 2014
  • This Game is Revenge: Uses of Homebrew Games in the 1980s Czechoslovakia, Future and Reality of Gaming, Vienna, Austria, October 2013
  • Know your monster: How video games demystify monstrosity through control, DiGRA, Atlanta, USA, August 2013
  • The Origins of Digital Gaming behind the Iron Curtain. The Interplay of Grassroots Hobby Computing and State Infrastructure in Establishing a Gaming Culture in 1980s Czechoslovakia, Montreal, Canada, June 2013
  • Computer Games: A Different History – The Hobby Scene in 1980s Czechoslovakia, ECREA Digital Games Pre-conference, Instanbul, Turkey, October 2012
  • The Monster and the System: Representations of Monstrosity in Game Mechanics, Future and Reality of Gaming, Vienna, Austria, October 2011
  • Selling Games By The Kilo: Using Oral History To Reconstruct Informal Economies Of Computer Game Distribution In The Post-Communist Environment, Future and Reality of Gaming, Vienna, Austria, October 2010
  • What It Takes To Be A Gamer: The Construction of the Myth of the Hard Core Gamer in the 1990′s Czech Republic, Under the Mask: Perspectives on the Gamer, Luton, U.K., June 2010
  • Context of Innovation in Metaphorical Game Design: The Case of Automata UK’s Deus Ex Machina, Future and Reality of Gaming, Vienna, Austria, October 2009
  • What you can’t see is what you don’t get: paradigms of game world visualization, Future Play, Toronto, Canada, November 2008

Guest and individual lectures

  • Games as Resistance in the 1980s Czechoslovakia: A Pragmatic Approach to the Study of “Political” Games, Concordia University, Montreal, March 26, 2015
  • What 1980s Czechoslovak digital games can tell us about the medium: Theoretical challenges and contributions of local game histories, ITU Copenhagen, June 6, 2014
  • The Unintended Avant-garde – Two stories from 1980′s European game development, NYU Game Center, NYC, November 16, 2012
  • Comedy of Contingency: Making Physical Humor in Virtual Game Spaces, MIT Game Lab, December 13, 2012
  • individual lectures during Fubright Ph.D. scholarship at MIT:  (1) Forbidden Fandom – Czech Underground Rock before 1989, January 2008, (2) We’re Swimming in Blood and We Feel Fine – Hard Core Gaming Culture in the Czech Repbulic, January 2008
  • co-leading The Dilemma of Gamers workshop at the Future of the Internet conference, Berkman Center for Internet & Society, Harvard Law School, March 2008

Other work experience

  • games journalist – Level magazine, since 2013
  • music journalist  - Spark magazine, since 2001; Rock&Pop magazine, 2006-2008, 2010-2011;, 2008-2010
  • film journalist – IFF Karlovy Vary festival daily, 2005-2012; Cinema monthly, 2004-2006
  • translator (for the Charles University PR Department, magazines, both English->Czech and Czech->English)
  • independent musician and songwriter (with the band Rest In Haste, co-founded in 2006)

Online presence

  • @raguklemenso on Twitter
  • – academic blog since 2011
  • – academic blog about game studies since 2008, now inactive

Language proficiencies

  • Czech – native, Slovak – passive
  • English – near native, with experience in lecturing and leading workshops in English
  • German – advanced
  • Latin, Welsh, Spanish, French – basic

Fields of interest

  • digital games history
  • video game monsters
  • games and morality
  • new media
  • social media
  • ethics in new media and digital games
  • online sociolinguistics and language management
  • media history
  • user generated content and amateur translation