Call: (Video)udic history as an alternative mode of knowing the past – AHC Workshop

Call for Papers:

(Video)udic history as an alternative mode of knowing the past
Workshop at XIV Conference of the Contemporary History Association (AHC)
Between September 20th and 22nd, 2018
University of Alicante (Spain)

Abstracts deadline: March 1st, 2018

This workshop, which is part of the XIV Conference of the Contemporary History Association (AHC), addresses the field of historical game studies, a new discipline that approaches the study of ludic cultural artefacts that make sense of the past through narratives built from the interaction between the player and the game’s set of rules. Ludic representations of the past go back to the 19th century – with the Prussian simulation Kriegspiel as one of the first examples – and have been evolving as they have adapted to new formats – first analog, such as card and board games, then digital. The 21st century is paramount in the popularity of playable history, as demonstrated by best-selling franchises such as Assassin’s Creed, Battlefield and the COIN tabletop series. These phenomena, though relatively new, have been addressed by scholars in general and a group of historians in particular, a process that has led to the founding of the historical game studies discipline. !

This innovative approach to historical games goes beyond the mere content analysis and focus on explaining how both the ludic nature of the medium and the active role of the player exert pressures on remediations of the past. As a result, ludic representations are the outcome of tensions between simulation, playability and historical authenticity. Therefore, in order to accomplish its goals, this particular research field has taken an interdisciplinary approach and borrowed both theoretical concepts and sets of analytical tools from different academic fields such as game studies, literary studies, and philosophy of history.

The goal of this workshop is twofold. First, to establish a forum in which scholars of any field can share their research on historical games, discuss their methods, approaches and conclusions with their colleagues, and generate shared knowledge. Second, to make historical game studies known to the rest of the academic community, especially between historians. Finally, in order to have a consistent workshop, we propose the following research lines:

  • The history of historical games: evolution of representations, historical games and game genres, evolution of particular franchises.
  • Design and production: Triple A industry tendencies, indie historical games, marketing and advertisement.
  • Content analysis: historical master narratives in games (nationalist, imperialist, liberal, marxist), tensions between historical authenticity and ludic environments, audiovisual politics of representation, historical myths in games.
  • Reception: online communities, forums, ABR (after battle reports), ludic historical reenactment, let’s’play/gameplay/streaming, subversive gameplay, modding…
  • Influence of historiography and collective memory/public history in the design of fantastical, sci-fi, and ucronic game worlds.
  • Historians, designers/developers, and games: game developers as historians, historians as advisors for historical games, historians as critics, use of historical games in learning and educational environments…
  • Transfers between digital and analog ludic history: the adaptation of historical videogames to analog formats and vice versa, similarities and differences.

Therefore, we invite you to send proposals that fit the aforementioned topics or any others that deal with games and historical representations in a broad way. The deadline for the reception of proposals (the title and an abstract up to 100 words) will be March 1st, 2018. The abstracts will be sent to the workshop’s coordinators, who will proceed to the evaluation and selection of the proposals.

After that, titles of the selected proposals and the names of the speakers will be formally announced in the Third Circular of the XIII Congress. The deadline for the submission of originals will close on June 1st, 2018. The originals will not exceed 8.000 words and will follow the publication guidelines of the journal Ayer (

The Conference will be held between September 20th and 22nd, 2018 at the University of Alicante (Spain).

The workshop coordinators:

Juan Luis Gonzalo Iglesia (Universitat Rovira y Virgili)

Federico Peñate Domínguez (Universidad Complutense de Madrid)


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