HNRS 353: Videogames in Critical Contexts
In this Honors Seminar we will study the history and cultural impact of videogames from a number of critical perspectives. As products of a complicated network of social, economic, and technological forces, videogames are dense cultural texts, deeply layered with multiple meanings. Whether we consider early arcade games like Pac-Man or the latest blockbusters for next-gen consoles, we find that videogames reveal much about our cultural values, hopes and anxieties, and assumptions about the world. We will examine a range of genres (interaction fiction, first person shooters, simulations, role playing games, and so on) as we strive to understand both the narrative and formal aspects of videogames. At the same time we will map connections between videogames and their broader social contexts — how games are designed, who plays them and where, and in what ways videogames can be more than entertainment.
Required Texts for HNRS 353:
- Alexander Galloway, Gaming: Essays on Algorithmic Culture. University of Minnesota Press, 2007.
- Raph Koster, A Theory of Fun for Game Design. Paraglyph, 2004
ENGL 610: Teaching the Reading of Literature
How do we as teachers read literature? How do our students read literature? What is the difference between the two? And how can we teach our students the process of interpretation — of transforming a naive reading of a literary work into a critical reading? This course addresses these questions by considering theoretical approaches to the teaching of literature as well as practical techniques and tools that teachers and students alike can use. Among these strategies we will emphasize the role of writing as a means to deepen students’ understanding of what they read. ENGL 610 is designed for current teachers, those considering careers in teaching, and anyone drawn to the experience of reading and analyzing literature. Most of our course readings are relevant to high school and college English classrooms, but many ideas we consider may be adapted for the teaching of younger readers.
Required Texts for ENGL 610:
- Kyle Baker. Nat Turner. New York: Abrams, 2008.
- Sheridan Blau, The Literature Workshop: Teaching Texts and Their Readers. Portsmouth, NH: Heinemann, 2003.
- James Paul Gee. What Video Games Have to Teach Us About Learning and Literacy. 2nd Ed. New York: Palgrave-MacMillan, 2007.
- Mariolina Rizzi Salvatori and Patricia Donahue. The Elements (and Pleasures) of Difficulty. New York: Pearson Longman, 2005.
- Robert Scholes, Nancy Comley, and Gregory Ulmer. Text Book: Writing Through Literature. Bedford/St. Martin’s, 2001.