JRS: Race, Games, and African American Literature in the 21st Century cancelled
What is the relationship between digital games and African American Literature? Despite the
ubiquity of digital games in our everyday lives and their enshrinement as highest grossing art
commodities of all time, Game Studies is a relatively new discursive field. However, given the
ubiquity of games, how might we start to see their form, value, aesthetics, and worlds come into contact with more established forms of art and the socio historical lines of inquiry that, say, literature has always engendered? Reading video games both in texts and as texts, this course will examine the gestures of social relation brought about by their imbrication and play with—or even just nods to—twenty-first century African American literature. Why do Marlin Jenkins’ Capable Monsters perform worldbuilding for Marquis Bey in a Black Studies text concerning gender? What are the conditions of possibility for Raven Leilani’s protagonists in Luster, Edie, and Akila, to self-soothe an entire relationship on Final Fantasy and Attack on Titan? Why is the Black Mirror episode “Striking Vipers,” where two black men dive into a sexual simulacrum of Street Fighter, so popular? This course will pay special attention to the geographic, racial, sexual, textual and gendered interplay of recent engagements with video games and black life to understand how we might consider emerging forms of social relation.