S. Hayley/Harlin Steele (they/she/ze/he) is a PhD candidate in Cultural Studies at UC Davis, with a dual Designated Emphasis in STS (Science and Technology Studies) and Performance and Practice. Their present work explores the emerging practice of using gamemaking as a way of organizing learning in the college classroom (see: Steele 2023). They are a project director at ModLab, the Digital Humanities Laboratory at UC Davis, where they have organized several projects to better incorporate ecological data into a variety of media. In 2021 they served as a NASA intern, and also that year they chaired and organized the Climate Data Relations panel at the annual gathering of the Society for the Social Studies of Science (4S). Their interest in developing stronger relations between the humanities and geoscience began in 2009, when they co-organized the inaugural conference ‘Understanding Sustainability: Perspectives from the Humanities‘ at Portland State University, which was a seminal gathering in what is now often called Sustainability Studies. Steele is an Advanced Research Affiliate with the Humanities and Critical Code Studies (HaCCS) Lab at the University of California (USC), and has participated in the biannual Critical Code Studies Working Group (CCSWG) since 2016. They were a 2019-20 UC Davis Provost’s Fellow, a 2020 Mellon Public Scholar, and were selected as a HASTAC Scholars Fellow for the 2018-20 and 2021-23 cohorts.

Steele has been part of the cooperative movement since 2011, and presently they are an economist with the California Economists Collective (CEC) and are on the steering committee of Cascade Cooperatives. They are a former Development Director for Land Action, a mutual aid network for squatters and guerrilla farmers based in Oakland, CA. From 2013-15 they served as one of three core organizers for Villagecraft, a hands-on learning network in the San Francisco Bay Area that grew to over 1500 learners and 50 facilitators. Their artistic and cultural work has taken a variety of forms including pieces in e-lit, larp, netprov, and transmedia. Their creative work includes Thermophiles in Love (2016), a 5-gender dating game that incorporates biological data about microorganisms in a playful critique of gender bio-essentialism, which served as a proof of concept for their theoretical work on a critical design methodology they call “gender playability.” They received their MFA in Creative Writing from Portland State University in 2014. Their writing has appeared in SlingshotSubversas Magazine, East Bay ExpressThe International Journal of Roleplaying, and [Trigger]: A Journal of Catarealism and Speculative Sexuality. Presently, they are on Planned Leave of Absence (PELP) from UC Davis while serving as a faculty member in the Department of English at Western Washington University (WWU).

profile art by Brandon Graham.


PhD Candidate, Cultural Studies, UC Davis, anticipated 2024. Designated Emphases: Science and Technology Studies (STS); Performance and Practice.
MFA, Creative Writing, nonfiction emphasis, Portland State University, 2014.
BA, English & Interdisciplinary Studies, magna cum laude, Western Washington University, Fairhaven College, 2007.

Other Publications

The Maker Turn in Classroom Games: An Articulation of Gamemaking in Education.” Proceedings of GENeration Analog: The Tabletop Gaming in Education Conference 2021. (ETC Press 2023)

The Reality Code: Interpreting Aggregate Larp Rules as Code that Runs on HumansThe International Journal of Role-Playing 1:7 (Dec 2016).


Humanities and Critical Code Studies (HaCCS) Lab. 2016-present.
Humanities, Arts, Science, and Technology Alliance and Collaboratory
(HASTAC), 2018-present.
ModLab: The Digital Humanities Laboratory at UC Davis, 2019-present.
Cultural Studies Association (CSA), 2018-present.
Center for Tactical Performance, 2019-present.
Society for the Social Studies of Science (4S), 2019-present.
Pacific Ancient and Modern Languages Association (PAMLA), 2019-present.
Imagining America Consortium (IA), 2020-present.
Electronic Literature Organization (ELO), 2021-present.
Popular Culture Association (PCA/ACA), 2022-present.

S. Harlin/Hayley Steele

Profile picture of S. Harlin/Hayley Steele


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