By Rob Shimshock
Professors at multiple universities discussed weaving politics into video game courses on Twitter Tuesday and Wednesday.
They based their conversation around a video published by journalist Marijam Didzgalvyte, who has written for video game blog Kotaku, which used to be owned by Gawker Media.
“I was alarmed to discover that the historical, sociological, and political teachings are a rarity to be part of the curriculum,” Didzgalvyte said. “The [game] industry’s historical sexism, ties with the Western military industrial complex, the rise of games as objects of political propaganda, GamerGate, the human cost of hardware production, industry-labor relations, gamification as a reinvention of late-phase capitalism, material labor.”
The journalist referred to #GamerGate, the consumer revolt against censorship of video games and poor ethics in the video game industry, and said that Milo Yiannopoulos and Steve Bannon are only able to use gamers as a “swarm for their political needs because us progressives are investing so little time nurturing critical thought in the field.”
GAMES COURSES IN UNI: WHERE ARE THE POLITICS?
This week's 'Left Left Up' asks why games development courses are shying away from teaching the politics and sociology of gaming? pic.twitter.com/rz4Rim5x1s
— Marijam Didžgalvytė (@marijamdid) June 5, 2018
Marshall University professor Jess Morrissette described a course called “Politics and Video Games,” which he is hoping to introduce to the West Virginia school in spring 2019.
“My approach is to examine: 1) games about politics, 2) political themes (e.g. race, gender, class, etc.) in games that aren’t explicitly “about” politics, and 3) the politics of the video game industry and gaming culture,” Morrissette tweeted.
My approach is to examine: 1) games about politics, 2) political themes (e.g. race, gender, class, etc.) in games that aren’t explicitly “about” politics, and 3) the politics of the video game industry and gaming culture. We’ll see how it goes.
Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute professor Rebecca Rouse also detailed her plans to politicize video games on the Twitter thread.
“A bunch of us … are working on this,” she said. “I’ve collaborated with [RPI student leadership development assistant director Amy Corron] to add intergroup dialogue into the games curriculum as a start for developing students’ capacity for understanding their own identities as social and politically entangled.”
University of Lincoln media studies lecturer Paolo Ruffino also chimed in, saying he also teaches about #GamerGate. Ruffino previously, agreeing with a Reddit commenter, termed academics as “parasites,” but insisted that a parasite is “not a bad thing at all.” He suggested that, when it comes to video games, academics should be “good parasites” by “looking at the sources of authority and legitimation that make the difference between the oppressive and the oppressed.”
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