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JRS: Race, Games, and African American Literature in the 21st Century cancelled

ENGL 4980.302
Monday 8:30-11:29am
fulfills requirements:
Sector 1: Theory and Poetics of the Standard Major
Sector 2: Difference and Diaspora of the Standard Major
Sector 6: 20th Century Literature of the Standard Major
Junior Research Seminar Requirement of the Standard Major




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.