René Glas (Amsterdam, 1980) is as an assistant professor in New Media and Digital Culture at the Department of Media and Culture Studies at the Utrecht University. His academics career began in Amsterdam, where he studied film and new media at the department of Media and Culture, University of Amsterdam. Here, he first developed a taste for studying games. He graduated in 2003 with an MA thesis investigating the relationship between film and digital games in an effort to (de-)construct the notion of the “interactive film”.

After his graduation he went on to become a junior teacher and, in 2005, started research as a PhD candidate in the same department. His research was supported by the Netherlands Organization for Scientific Research (NWO) and was part of Transformations in Perception and Participation: Digital Games, one of the research projects within NWO’s Transformations in Art and Culture programme.

In 2010, Glas successfully defended his PhD dissertation. In this study, Glas frames online multiplayer games like World of Warcraft as complex socio-cultural phenomena defined by and evolving as a result of negotiation processes between its various stakeholders on ludic, social, technological, and managerial levels. By providing insight into these processes, the World of Warcraft phenomenon is shown to be emblematic of the relationship between consumers and producers in our increasingly collaborative and participatory media landscape. The research is now available in book form as Battlefields of Negotiation: Control, Agency, and Ownership in World of Warcraft, published by Amsterdam University Press. It is available through most online retailers as well as through open access. Currently, he is in the process of co-editing the volume Playful Citizenship: Power, Creativity, Knowledge.

Over the years, Glas has written and presented talks about various game and play related topics, including game history, fan culture, games and learning, participatory culture, media comparison and the political economy of games. Glas is a founding member of the Utrecht University’s Center for the Study of Digital Games and Play.

Right now, he is involved in a research project with the Netherlands Institute for Sound and Vision in Hilversum dedicated to the preservation of Dutch game history as part of the national cultural heritage collection of audiovisual media. The project is a result of a seed money grant from Utrecht University’s Focus Area Game Research and a NWO Museum Grant.

Ongoing research interest are notions of deviant play (including cheating) in serious games, pervasive games, gamified media and playful participatory media and making-of media. Other topics of interest are the relationship between digital games and other media (most notably film), alternative pop culture and participatory culture.

Glas currently acts as Master coordinator of the New Media and Digital Culture MA programme and sits in the Faculty Council of the Faculty of Humanities.

Since 2013, Glas acts as member of the Programme Board of, the Dutch network organisation for media literacy. In the past, he has also been active as a part-time film critic.

Contact Info

Dr. René Glas

Office: Department of Media and Culture Studies

Muntstraat 2a

3512 EV Utrecht


r.glas @ uu .nl


Personal university website