Tanner Higgin is a PhD candidate in English at the University of California, Riverside studying race, gender, and power in digital media cultures. He’s also researching and developing play and project-based curriculum at the nonprofit organization GameDesk. Higgin’s dissertation, Race and Videogames, draws from his own gaming experiences and develops a new type of literacy attached to the u
nique ways race functions in videogame culture. He discussed his research with 11 other participants and a handful of mentors this past August at the DML Research Associates Summer Institute. In the video below, Higgin talks about how he grappled with the idea of including personal narratives within his dissertation, and he goes on to explain his reasoning for why society has difficulty fully understanding how race functions within videogames. Here are some highlights, but the video (below) offers a fresh take on digital media and cultural studies from the perspective of a humanities scholar.
I had been a lifelong videogame fan and had been playing videogames my whole life and realized there was this gap in our understanding of videogames. There was a lot of work with race and digital media but just a bit of work with race in videogames, and I wanted to understand how we understand race through videogames and videogame cultures.
I discovered it’s a problem of literacy here. The funding authorities and maybe the public at large don’t quite understand how video games make meaning or where the power of them resides, and I hope my work in a way can teach us about this sort of apparatus of meaning that videogames offer and build literacies within my students and the general public.
Banner image credit: Valentin.Ottone. http://www.flickr.com/photos/saneboy/3605180954/
Video production credit: Marc Bacarro