AMCULT 334 - Race, Gender, Sexuality and U.S. Culture in Video Games
Winter 2023, Section 001
Instruction Mode: Section 001 is  In Person (see other Sections below)
Subject: American Culture (AMCULT)
Department: LSA American Culture
See additional student enrollment and course instructor information to guide you in your decision making.


May not be repeated for credit.
Primary Instructor:
Start/End Date:
Full Term 1/4/23 - 4/18/23 (see other Sections below)
NOTE: Drop/Add deadlines are dependent on the class meeting dates and will differ for full term versus partial term offerings.
For information on drop/add deadlines, see the Office of the Registrar and search Registration Deadlines.


Video games are one of the most widespread, profitable, and influential cultural forms in the U.S. Their rise to cultural dominance comes about at the same time as changing notions of race and gender in the U.S., such as liberal multiculturalism, the feminist movement, post-racialism, post-feminism, and a growing multiracial population. This course will avoid categorizing games as having positive or negative social effects, instead focusing on how race and racism have been expressed in a variety of types and styles of video games; how video games function as a window into U.S. race relations. We will look at the history, theory, and practice of video games in the U.S. with particular attention to racial stereotyping, user demographics, racial conflict in shared world and social games. The class will end with an examination of “serious” games and the potential of game texts, environments, and communities to help remediate social inequality.

Students will find new ways to understand video games and what they imagined to be true about “Digital Culture.” They will become critical of the notion that video games can be dismissed as trivial or as quaint pop culture artifacts that need not be taken seriously. Students, instead, will consider the emerging scholarly literature on virtual environments as they grapple with the ways that racial and gender ideologies inform game play. This class has an innovative of notion of “critical game play” that requires students to actively engage the very video games under scholarly critique. Students will exit this class, in other words, with “real world” applications for humanities scholarship. They will become informed participants in gaming culture. A few, we also hope, will become involved in the production side of the industry.

Course Requirements:

Three short papers, participation in on-line forums, a take-home midterm and final exam, as well as active class participation. Students may also be required to log gameplay time on assigned digital games.

Intended Audience:

American Culture majors, Ethnic Studies majors (APIA, DAAS, Latina/o, Native American), Screen Arts & Cultures majors, Womens Studies majors, digital environments students, as well as a general audience.

Class Format:



AMCULT 334 - Race, Gender, Sexuality and U.S. Culture in Video Games
Schedule Listing
001 (LEC)
 In Person
TuTh 10:00AM - 11:30AM
1/4/23 - 4/18/23
002 (DIS)
 In Person
F 10:00AM - 11:00AM
1/4/23 - 4/18/23
003 (DIS)
 In Person
F 11:00AM - 12:00PM
1/4/23 - 4/18/23
004 (DIS)
 In Person
F 12:00PM - 1:00PM
1/4/23 - 4/18/23
005 (DIS)
 In Person
F 1:00PM - 2:00PM
1/4/23 - 4/18/23

Textbooks/Other Materials

The partner U-M / Barnes & Noble Education textbook website is the official way for U-M students to view their upcoming textbook or course material needs, whether they choose to buy from Barnes & Noble Education or not. Students also can view a customized list of their specific textbook needs by clicking a "View/Buy Textbooks" link in their course schedule in Wolverine Access.

Click the button below to view and buy textbooks for AMCULT 334.001

View/Buy Textbooks


Syllabi are available to current LSA students. IMPORTANT: These syllabi are provided to give students a general idea about the courses, as offered by LSA departments and programs in prior academic terms. The syllabi do not necessarily reflect the assignments, sequence of course materials, and/or course expectations that the faculty and departments/programs have for these same courses in the current and/or future terms.

Click the button below to view historical syllabi for AMCULT 334 (UM login required)

View Historical Syllabi

CourseProfile (Atlas)

The Atlas system, developed by the Center for Academic Innovation, provides additional information about: course enrollments; academic terms and instructors; student academic profiles (school/college, majors), and previous, concurrent, and subsequent course enrollments.

CourseProfile (Atlas)