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The Horn of Rohan

Paper Call:Medievalism and Digital Gaming (Book)

Posted on April 03, 2011 by Edith L. Crowe

Dan Kline of the University of Alaska is “soliciting 500-word proposals for a volume dealing with the Middle Ages, medievalism, and contemporary digital gaming, broadly defined.” An interesting coincidence, given the Mythcon theme this year. Slightly outside the bull’s-eye of our core interests, but I know some of you out there will be interested. May 1, 2011 deadline.

All Your History are Belong to Us: Medievalism and Digital Gaming

The Middle Ages remains a vibrant presence in contemporary culture, and while cinematic medievalism has been intensively investigated in the last decade, digital gaming has received relatively little attention despite its widespread cultural impact. For example, the video game market now grosses more domestically than Hollywood, and World of Warcraft boasts more than 12 million monthly paying subscribers (25 million total units). Gaming theory too has seen its share of innovation, and digital technologies are now a regular feature of higher education and cultural studies. Medievalism, in its various guises, has also been the subject of intense scrutiny in anthologies by Anke Bernau and Bettina Bildhauer, Medieval Film (2009); Karl Fugelso, Memory and Medievalism (2007); and David Marshall, Mass Market Medieval: Essays on the Middle Ages in Popular Culture (2007). Further, the turn toward speculative medievalisms, object-oriented philosophy, and Actor-Network Theory has initiated new methodologies, raised new questions, and offered new possibilities for understanding actor-actant networks and overcoming the subject-object distinction, all of which enrich our understanding of digital and historical realities and problematize traditional understandings of subjectivity, temporality, and textuality.

A few of the more popular medievally-inflected gaming titles (and series) include:

• Age of Empires: Age of Kings • Diablo • MediEvil
• Arthur: Quest for Excalibur • Dragon Age • Medieval Total War
• Assassin’s Creed • Dungeon Siege • Morrowind
• Baldur’s Gate • Dynasty Warriors • Oblivion
• Beowulf • Elder Scrolls • Sims Medieval
• Civilization • Fable • Shogun Total War
• Dante’s Inferno • Jeanne d’Arc • Stronghold
• Dark Age of Camelot • Lionheart: Legacy of the Crusader • Warcraft & World of Warcraft

 Some possibilities for topics include:

• Gaming, medieval texts, and digital textualities; digital communities, and electronic subjectivities
• Gaming genres (sword and sorcery/fantasy games, etc.), game types (MMORPG, FPS, RPG, RTS, stealth, survival/horror, etc.), single-player/cooperative/multiplayer games
• Gaming, speculative medievalisms, and counterfactual history
• Gaming, secret societies, arcane religions, and the ‘templarization’ of history (Dead Space, Mass Effect, others)
• Gaming, digital sociologies, and electronic epistemologies
• Gaming, object-oriented philosophy, complexity, and Actor-Network Theory
• Gaming, gender, sexuality, class, age; trans-developmental and trans-temporal subjectivities
• Gaming and race and nation; digital orientalism and postcolonialism; space-based societies
• Gaming and cross-platform media (games and/as film tie-ins)
• Gaming and pedagogy
• Gaming, discursive/symbolic violence, and ethics
• Gaming, social simulations, LARPing and LARPers (Live-Action Role Playing & Players)
• Gaming and cheats, glitches, hacks, mods
• Gaming, the academy, digital humanities, and generational divides.

Please send your proposals (and any questions) to Dan Kline, University of Alaska, Department of English, 3211 Providence Drive, ADM 101-H, Anchorage, AK 99508 at afdtk@uaa.alaska.edu by May 1, 2011.