Peter McDonald

Assistant Professor

McDonald, Peter

Download CV  

Peter McDonald is an Assistant Professor of Design, Creative, and Informal Education in the Department of Curriculum and Instruction at UW-Madison and holds a Ph.D. from the University of Chicago. His research explores the ways people interpret play and playful behavior as meaning-making activities, the design practices that can support critical engagement through play, and the historical contexts of playfulness. McDonald uses practice-based design research to build and study experimental forms of play, including alternate reality games, augmented reality games, and roleplaying games. His interests include play theory, media theory, feminist and queer methodologies, design research, and hermeneutics.


  • PhD English Literature, University of Chicago, 2018
  • MA English Literature, Simon Fraser University, 2010
  • BA English Literature, University of British Columbia, 2009

Select Publications

  • McDonald, P. (2019). Homo Ludens: A Renewed Reading. American Journal of Play, 11(2), 247-267. Online Publication/Abstract.
  • McDonald, P. (2019). The Principle of Division in Roger Caillois’s Man, Play and Games. Games and Culture, 1-19. Online Publication/Abstract.
  • McDonald, P., & Jagoda, P. (2018). Game Mechanics, Experience Design, and Affective Play. In Jentery Sayers (Ed.), Routledge Companion to Media Studies and the Digital Humanities (pp. 174-182). New York: Routledge Online Publication/Abstract.
  • McDonald, P. (2017). The Impossible Reversal: George Brecht’s Playfulness in Deck: A Fluxgame. Analog Game Studies, 4(4)
  • McDonald, P. (2017). The Parasite. Chicago, IL: University of Chicago.
  • McDonald, P. (2015). The Sandbox | The Portal. Hyperrhiz, 11 Chicago, IL: University of Chicago Online Publication/Abstract.