“Racism, Sexism, and Video Games: Social Justice Campaigns and the Struggle for Gamer Identity”. This was the title of the first Quello Lecture for the new academic year. Professor Lisa Nakamura introduced several extreme examples of sexism and racism, but the real issue of the lecture and of the audience’s comments was not merely the prominence of some very ugly and disgusting phenomena in the gaming world. Rather, it was the interface between the gaming universe and the real world; it was about culture and culture wars, about social justice warriors, about women and men, about feminism and anti-feminism, and about how relationships travel across these different worlds. And yes, it was about avatars as well.
To what extent do our fake images allow some of us (I mean the gamers) to be nasty – and even criminal – in the gaming world? Professor Robby Rattan, after a wonderful rap show about quantitative and qualitative research, raised the idea that if gamers could have a fake image which is far from a human one (not just human bodies without arms, for example), something totally fictional, if I may add, maybe some disgusting human characteristics (such as sexism and racism) would be vanished. You must admit that it is a very attractive idea.
Oh, I almost forgot, there was wonderful light refreshment before the lecture, and there was a drinks reception after the lecture (which I did not attend because I had to hurry for my evening walk with my wife. Sorry). The whole event took place at the very busy Kellogg Conference Center (we could hear the voices and buzz of other events through the walls), contributing to a very promising beginning for the Quello Lectures to follow.
To view more pictures from Dr. Nakamura’s lecture, please visit: https://www.flickr.com/photos/quellocenter/sets/72157648470967778/
Avshalom Ginosar, PhD
Communication Department, The Academic College of Yezreel Valley
Visiting Scholar, The Quello Center, The Department of Media & Information, The College of Communication Art & Science, Michigan State University
If you’re looking for answers to the challenges of racism, sexism, and video games: social justice campaigns and the struggle for gamer identity, you’ll find those answers embodied in the presenters and attendees of Meaningful Play 2014. Lisa Nakamura begins the dialog with her preconference Quello Lecture and discussion Wednesday evening, October 15.
If you’re thinking Nakamura’s lecture is the only time such issues will be addressed at the conference, think again. Opening keynote Mia Consalvo will discuss challenges such as marginalization of our work in game studies and an increasingly loud pushback against greater diversity. She’ll talk about moving forward and making play increasingly meaningful to all of us.
Megan Gaiser, one of the first female CEO’s in the game industry, will share her vision for contagious creativity and leadership.
Drew Davidson, head of the Entertainment Technology Center at Carnegie Mellon will celebrate the creative chaos that emerges with a wide diversity of content experts.
Attendees will be treated to panels, papers, and roundtable discussions about affection games, empathy games, other people simulators, representing culture, community and identity, gender, inclusive game design, & gaming culture. Don’t miss sessions on diversity, games for the blind, crowdsourcing games, online game fraud, and race/ethnicity/diaspora. And of course, games for learning, games for K-12, University games, and games for older adults. And much more.
Talks about meaningful play range from board games to VR to meditation. You’ll play or hear about games for health, astronaut exergames, mental health games, mosquitoes, microbes, mathland, and surviving the zombie apocalypse; music games, calculus games, hero games, museum games, safe sex games, games to prevent violence against women, recycling games, Jewish culture games, saving money games, and making games…
Join us for a meaningful, radical, transformative, playful conference.
October 16-18 at Michigan State University, plus the preconference Quello lecture open to the public Wednesday evening.