HISTORY 195 - The Writing of History
Section: 002 Simulation, Sex(ism), and Violence: What's the Matter with Video Games?
Term: FA 2017
Subject: History (HISTORY)
Department: LSA History
Credits:
4
Requirements & Distribution:
FYWR
Waitlist Capacity:
unlimited
Consent:
With permission of instructor.
Other Course Info:
This course may not be included in a History major. F.
Repeatability:
May not be repeated for credit.
Primary Instructor:

This course will develop student writing and thinking about the ways that video games represent the world. It is not a history of video games, but rather a writing course that will stimulate critical analysis of how historical and present-day social identities (race, gender, sexuality, etc) are brought out in certain video games, and how these representations may have effects beyond the game. For instance, video games about historical wars rely on a conception of history for the setting of the game, typically placing the player on one side of the conflict, fighting against another group of people labeled as the enemy. In this example, this course would ask students to develop thoughtful, written analyses of the presentation of historical and ethnographic elements as well as those that might have been omitted: how are the belligerents depicted? How is the motivation of the conflict presented, and is this historically accurate? Are racial or ethnic caricatures present, and do these drive the action (or moral choices) of the game in any way?

While video games are more mainstream than ever (a nearly 100 billion dollar industry in 2016), they are infrequently taken seriously as a medium for expression and social engagement. Common and unquestioned stereotypes about gaming persist: video games are often understood as “youth” media even though 50% of players are between ages 18-49; gamers are seen as primarily male-dominated although nearly 45% of regular players are women; and caricatures of gamers often depict them as white, whereas Hispanic, Black, and White constituencies play video games with the same frequency.

Video games offer good opportunities for thinking and writing about historical and ethnographic issues because they are both flexible (they allow players to make certain choices) as well as limiting (because players are given predetermined sets of events to follow). Video games are also particularly apt choices for critical analysis because, all too often, they are presumed to be mind numbing, overly violent, hyper-sexualized, and anti-social. Certainly, there are games that fit these criteria. But instead of simply throwing around all-encompassing labels, we will dissect how videogames present narratives and practice expressing nuanced analysis in written form.

HISTORY 195 - The Writing of History
Schedule Listing
001 (REC)
P
11501
Closed
0
 
6Enrollment Management
-
MW 8:30AM - 10:00AM
Note: ALL SECTIONS OF HISTORY 195 ARE RESTRICTED TO FIRST-YEAR STUDENTS.
002 (REC)
P
11502
Closed
0
2Y1
6Enrollment Management
-
TuTh 10:00AM - 11:30AM
003 (REC)
P
19918
Open
1
2Y1
6Enrollment Management
-
WF 8:30AM - 10:00AM
004 (REC)
P
26309
Closed
0
2Y1
6Enrollment Management
-
TuTh 2:30PM - 4:00PM
NOTE: Data maintained by department in Wolverine Access. If no textbooks are listed below, check with the department.


ISBN: 9781609806392
The state of play : creators and critics on video game culture, Author: Daniel Goldberg & Linus Larsson, Publisher: Seven Stories Press ANY 2015
Required
Other Textbook Editions OK.
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