“Gaming is social, participatory and has learning at its core. These are powerful things for social impact, and it makes sense for us to take full advantage of it.”
–Asi Burak, president and founder of Games for Change
In August of 2014, Anita Sarkeesan, Zoe Quinn, and Brianna Wu came under attack for their feminist critiques of video games, gaming culture, and representations of women in video games. In the culture war that would become #GamerGate, conversations swelled about the ethics of gaming and representation, videogame journalism, and cultural critique, culminating in threats of violence against these critics (and others who shared their viewpoints). What followed was massive transnational debate that swarmed public, private, and digital spheres, in a swirling kaleidoscope of activist and advocacy response. Though scholars, activists, and gamers alike have gleaned many lessons from the events of #GamerGate, one truth rings across ideological, political, and technological differences: if #GamerGate has taught us anything, it’s that videogames, videogame culture, and gaming technologies have real cultural implications for a variety of stakeholders.
Moving beyond the polarized public debate of #GamerGate and toward a more complex understanding of of the relationships between videogames and culture, the DRC is hosting a blog carnival focused on gaming and social justice. Scholarship in rhetoric, composition, linguistics, and media studies investigates the ways in which videogames and digital gaming platforms operate as powerful sites of learning, community and identity building, and collaborative writing, and we wish to push this work on step further to consider the ways games and gaming culture make positive contributions to social justice and activist agendas inside and outside of gaming communities, the academy, and the digital world.
Topics and questions discussed in your blog posts may include (but are not limited to) the following:
- How can (or do) video games challenge dominant cultural attitudes?
- How can (or do) games incorporate a social justice agenda?
- What games are already modeling or contemplating issues of social justice?
- What developments are necessary, technologically or otherwise, to forward social justice agendas in gaming or gaming communities?
- What games make an effort to include diverse characters or players, considering race, class, gender, sexuality, (dis)ability, size, or religion? What about these games’ treatments of diverse characters/players offers a valuable intervention in the gaming world?
- What games make an effort to include diverse players?
- How can teachers and instructors capitalize on games as a means for teaching for social justice?
- How can gaming communities, both online and offline, affect change?
- What kinds of social justice games have you developed or incorporated into your classroom and how have they worked?
Posts may relate to the work and pedagogies of rhetoric and composition, specifically, but we are also interested in multidisciplinary approaches to exploring social justice through gaming as well.
For some ideas on what blog carnival posts have entailed in the past, click here.
If you are interested in contributing to this blog carnival, please send a 150-200 word description of your idea to Heather Lang (firstname.lastname@example.org) and Paula Miller (email@example.com) by March 27. You may also send questions or request more information. The blog posts will be published throughout April and May.