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Andrei Zanescu, PhD

Assistant Professor, Communication Studies

Andrei Zanescu, PhD
Office: L-CJ 5.212  
Communication Studies and Journalism Building,
7141 Sherbrooke W.
Phone: (514) 848-2424 ext. 4742
Availability: Monday 11:00-12:30
Tuesday 13:00-15:00 (SGW Campus, FB 500-503)
Wednesday 11:00-12:30
ORCID: 0000-0001-7414-2595

My main focus is the intersection of Hollywood film and prestige television, as cultural institutions, and blockbuster game companies operating in the Euro-American context. My current research also discusses resonance in blockbuster games and its uses for(re)producing real-world cultures. This core project has spun off into discussing the blockbuster game genre more broadly, as well as the individual articulations of the AAA style of game-making. Additionally, I look at the processes of legitimizing the perceived successes of this sector of the industry in trade shows (E3, Gamescom, Summer Game Fest)and industry-driven award shows (The Game Awards, BAFTA, SXSW).

Title Slide for Dissertation Case Study Games

Teaching activities

My teaching practice includes a wide range of topics courses and core communications courses (listed below). My teaching centers a decolonial approach that runs through all course readings, recommended media and pedagogical approaches. Most importantly, I try to mix established texts, read in critical ways and with contextual framing, with often marginalized or forgotten work from underrepresented groups of scholars and media makers.

Favoring longer form engagement with media materials, I encourage students to approach media they've been surrounded by their entire lives and to ask critical questions about formal composition, cultural conventions, economic constraints and audience reception. 

Courses Slated:

COMS 333: Games, Media and Culture (Winter 2024)
COMS 369: Visual Communication and Culture (Winter 2024)
COMS 462-532: Communication, Culture and Popular Art (Winter 2024)

Courses Taught:

COMS 333: Games, Media and Culture (Winter 2021)
COMS 360: Mass Media (Fall 2021)
COMS 369: Visual Communication and Culture (Fall 2023)
COMS 426-545: Television Studies
COMS 473-547: International Communication

If you would like more in-depth examples of reading lists, assignment styles or syllabi information, feel free to reach out!

Research activities

My current work continues the project undertaken for my doctoral research, which dealt with the simulation of real world locales and cultures from classical antiquity in blockbuster games, in two case study series: Assassin’s Creed and Magic: The Gathering. I discussed how corporate strategies and game franchises shape each other, and in turn perpetuate (and sometimes challenge) mechanisms of cultural/ethnic/racial stereotyping, in the context of global cultural flows. Moreover, this project drew in the wealth of classical Hollywood cinema that is used to hail idealized audiences. Some ancillary contributions of my research include: deepening critical engagement with simulation as a form of cultural production, recontextualizing games and film as coextensive parts of larger media ecosystems, and refining semiotic tools for new media analysis.

I have also researched videogame livestreaming platforms from 2017 to 2023, primarily Twitch, through the Streaming at the Margins project supervised by Dr. Mia Consalvo. The project is meant to take a focused look at the daily lives and struggles of Twitch streamers with smaller audience numbers., and is soon to be published in Microstreaming on Twitch (MIT Press, Forthcoming).

Lastly, I have also conducted research of responsible gaming and the platformization of game distribution on Steam from 2017 to 2023, and the wider changes in game monetization. This research was undertaken as a member of the HERMES team located at the Research Chair on Gambling. More specifically, I’m part of the Risk Logics research cluster, working with Dr. Martin French on the FRQSC-funded Jeu Responsable (Responsible Gaming) project. This work has led to a series of publications in New Media and Society, and the Journal of Consumer Studies. Additionally, I’ve co-organized and spoken at the project-backed Pleasure Consuming Games workshops, which are open to general audiences as part of public outreach commitments.



Consalvo M., Lajeunesse M.and Zanescu A. (Forthcoming). Microstreaming on Twitch. Cambridge,Massachusetts: MIT Press.

Book Chapters

Zanescu A. (Forthcoming)“Blockbuster Games: Industrial Strategy Meets Genre”, in New Formations ofGame Genre, eds. Gerald Voorhees, Josh Call, Betsy Brey and MatthewWysocki. London, England: Bloomsbury

Zanescu A. (Forthcoming)“Counter-Balkanism in The Witcher”, in Colonial Intersections inVideo Games ed. Andrei Nae. Berlin, Germany: De Gruyter.

Journal Publications

Zanescu, A. French, M. andLajeunesse, M. (2021) ‘Betting on DOTA 2’s Battle Pass: Gamblification andproductivity in play’, New Media & Society, 23(10), pp. 2882–2901.doi: 10.1177/1461444820941381.

Zanescu A., Lajeunesse M.and French, M. (2021) ‘Speculating on Steam: Consumption in the gamblifiedplatform ecosystem’, Journal of Consumer Culture, 21(1), pp. 34–51. doi:10.1177/1469540521993928.

Non-Refereed Publications

Zanescu A. (2023). BlockbusterResonance in Games: How Assassin’s Creed and Magic: the Gathering SimulateClassical Antiquity. Doctoral Dissertation, Concordia University, Montreal,Canada.

Zanescu A. (2018) Counter-Balkanism in The Witcher & Gwent: A Historical ReinventionPast the Balkan Paradigm. MastersThesis, Concordia University, Montreal, Canada.

Participation activities

Conference Presentations

Zanescu A. (2023). MakingAntiquity Resonate in Assassin’s Creed: Origins, Odyssey and ArticulatedResonance. DiGRA 2023 (Digital Games Research Association), Sevilla,Spain, June 19-23, 2023.

Ganzon S. C. and Zanescu A.(2023) Making the Revolution Resonate: From la Conquista to El Generalissimo. DiGRA2023 (Digital Games Research Association), Sevilla, Spain, June 19-23,2023.

Zanescu A. (2023) ThematicCardboard: A Card Game Thematic Analysis Toolkit. CGSA 2023: Canadian GameStudies Association, June 6-9, 2023.

Zanescu A. (2023)Blockbuster Logics & Cultural Resonance in Games. ICA 2023: 73rdAnnual ICA Conference. Toronto, Canada, May 25-29, 2023.

Zanescu A. (2023) Magic: TheGathering in Theros: Cultural Simulation, Resonant Greekness & MediaFranchising. SCMS 2023: Society for Cinema and Media Studies. Denver,USA, April 12-15, 2023.

Zanescu A. (2022) DesigningMagic: The Gathering’s Amonkhet: Egyptianness and the Limitations of CulturalResonance. In: FDG’ 22: The 17th International Conference on the Foundationsof Digital Games, Athens, Greece, 5-8 September, 2022.

Zanescu A. (2022) Magic: The Gathering, Blockbuster Logics &Resonance. In GENeration Analog,27-28 July, 2022.

Zanescu A., Consalvo M., andLajeunesse M. (2022) Living on Twitch: an Ethnography of Fatigue. In: DiGRA2022 (Digital Games Research Association), Krakow, Poland, July 7-11, 2022.

Zanescu A., Consalvo M., andLajeunesse M. (2022) Twitch as Metaplatform: Conglomeration & PlatformPower. In: Global Perspectives on Platforms & Cultural Production,1-2 June, 2022.

Zanescu A., Iantorno M., andLajeunesse M. (2022) 3 Contests in a Trenchcoat: Video & Arcade Top 10,Games Broadcasting & 90s Canadian Gamer Capital. In: Canadian GameStudies Association, May 31-June 3, 2022.

Lajeunesse M., Zanescu A.,and French M. (2022) The Social Value of Cosmetic Items in DOTA 2. In: CanadianGame Studies Association, May 31-June 3, 2022.

Zanescu, A. (2021)Counter-Balkanism in the Witcher: A Simulation of Cultural Identity, ColonialDiscourse in Videogames, Center for American Studies, University ofBucharest, September 19, 2021.

Zanescu A., Lajeunesse M.and French M. (2019) Gaming DOTA Players: Iterative Platform Design andCapture. In: DiGRA 2019 (Digital Games Research Association),Kyoto, Japan, 6-10 August 2019.

Consalvo M., Lajeunesse M.and Zanescu A. (2018) Why did we think we wanted to become Twitch affiliates?Researching play by self-streaming on Twitch. In: AoIR 2018(Association of Internet Researchers), Montreal, Canada, 10-13 October2018.

Zanescu A., French M.,Lajeunesse M. (2018) Betting on the Battle Pass: An Ethnography of DOTA 2 &The International 2017. In: Canadian Game Studies Association, Regina,Canada, May 30-June 1, 2018.

Zanescu A. (2017) YasumiMatsuno’s Balkanism. In: Replaying Japan, Strong Museum of Play,Rochester, NY, August 23, 2017.

Zanescu A., Lajeunesse M.(2017). Encoding Through Streaming. In: Canadian Game Studies Association,Toronto, Canada, May 31, 2017.

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