Call: The Present and Future of History and Games (One day symposium)

Call for Participants

One day symposium: The Present and Future of History and Games
Institute of Advanced Study, University of Warwick, UK
28th February 2020

Submission deadline: 17th November 2019

An interdisciplinary symposium that invites academics, teachers and practitioners at all levels to explore the intersection of history and games, and to discuss methods for future research, teaching, and practice.

While major video game franchises like Battlefield, Assassin’s Creed, and Red Dead Redemption are often in the spotlight, digital and non-digital games have for decades been exploring, interrogating, reinterpreting, and representing the past, and offering gameplay experiences underpinned by deliberately historical and culturally conscious narratives and worlds. Cross-media marketing campaigns that support the release of major titles stake claims for “authenticity” and “realism”, while other kinds of games explore and attempt to represent long-“othered” historical events, periods, processes and people that are not necessarily white or male. While World Wars and the “U.S.” of America take up much space in the video game industry, how are global and regional histories and perspectives beyond this represented? What purpose do counterfactuals or alternate histories serve for designers and/or players?

Meanwhile, there is an ever-growing body of academic research and popular criticism at the intersection of history and games. What directions might this research take in future, and how can we ensure that we are able to continue studying games and game-related ephemera? There is also increasing interest from students across disciplines and programmes wanting to study history and games. How do we approach this pedagogically?

Through panels, roundtable discussions, and networking sessions, participants are invited to explore the current state of research, practice, and teaching in this broadly-defined area, and the future directions that require consideration.

Proposals are invited for either 1) 15-minute research papers or other types of creative presentations, or 2) roundtables and/or topics for discussion. Both types of proposal should address (or subvert) one or more of the following key areas:

  1. CURRENT RESEARCH AND FUTURE DIRECTIONS: How do digital and non-digital games shed light on or complicate the study of cultural, social, and/or political history, heritage, archaeology and more? What areas require further scholarly attention?
  2. PLAYER STUDIES: How do players understand or challenge history through their experience of playing games?
  3. GAME DESIGN: How might game design practices be used to interrogate history and represent the past? What are the challenges of doing so?
  4. TEACHING AND PEDAGOGY: How can games be used to engage and teach students?
  5. FUTURE-PROOFING: What steps need to be taken to ensure that the source material we need to continue studying the history in and of games is accessible and preserved?

Please submit proposals (max. 300 words) and brief bio(s) to esther.wright [at] by 17th November 2019.

Participants will be notified of decisions by early December 2019.

More information:

Dr. Esther Wright
Early Career Fellow
Institute of Advanced Study
University of Warwick

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