Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Communication Studies

Committee Member

Dr. Jan Rune Holmevik, Committee Chair

Committee Member

Dr. Cynthia Ann Haynes

Committee Member

Dr. Beth Lauritis

Committee Member

Dr. Brian Malloy


This dissertation is about seeing videogames, and videogame design, through the lens of Gregory Ulmer"™s electracy apparatus theory. Videogame modding is emphasized an electrate approach to intervening in existing media. Mods have the potential to make potent rhetorical arguments, but they are little-understood in the field of rhet-comp, and there are numerous obstacles to carving a space for them in academic curricula; nevertheless, they are an increasingly common form of participatory engagement that make use of a broad digital skillset. Modders fit into Gregory Ulmer"™s electracy apparatus as egents"”agents of change in the Internet age"”and their playful appropriation of objects from various archives resembles the electrate genre of MyStory (personal alternative-history). By positioning modding as electrate composition praxis, a new gateway for academic game study and production is opened, one where "play" is integral to the process of knowledge formation. Fallout 4 (2016) serves as an example of a moddable game whose rhetorical affordances can be adapted to craft MyStories and MEmorials.