Mike Sell

Mike Sell is Professor of English and member of the Graduate Program in Literature & Criticism at Indiana University of Pennsylvania. He is co-author with Michael Chemers of Systemic Dramaturgy: From Zeami to the Legend of Zelda (Southern Illinois University, forthcoming); author of Avant-Garde Performance and the Limits of Criticism (University of Michigan, 2005) and The Avant-Garde: Race Religion War (Seagull Books, 2011); and editor of the 1960s volume of Decades of Modern American Drama (Methuen, 2018), Avant-Garde Performance and Material Exchange (Methuen, 2011), and Ed Bullins: Twelve Plays and Selected Writings (University of Michigan, 2006). His essays on performance and politics have appeared in African American Review, New Literary History, Rethinking Marxism, TDR, Theatre Journal, and Theatre Survey. He is project leader for the IUP Digital Storytelling Project, which brings IUP faculty and students to Pennsylvania public middle and high schools to teach interactive digital storygame design. He blogs on the interface of literature, theater, and videogames at http://iblog.iup.edu/thisprofessorplays/.


Modernist Afterlives In Performance—Playing the Avant-Garde: The Aesthetics, Narratives, and Communities of Video Game Vanguards

My son sits at the desk, knee propped on its edge, keyboard in lap. Nearby, a television bolted to the wall displays a high-definition humanoid, clad in luminous armor inscribed with obscure heraldry, dancing with ecstatic abandon. Were it not odd enough that they are dancing in the lugubrious depths of a biomorphic dreadnaught inhabited by a terrible and hostile alien race intent on destroying the earth and everything upon it, the dance they dance is the “Carlton,” made famous by actor Alfonso Ribeiro on the 1990s sit-com The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air.