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Friday, May 13 • 2:30pm - 3:45pm
Teaching Intersectionality through Critical Game Design

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In teaching a class on feminist praxis, it can be challenging to present the concept of “intersectionality” or the interlocking systems of oppression, which produce and maintain cultures of domination without flattening out the real hierarchies and privileges that exist or, in turn, essentializing identity. In this workshop, we offer an exercise of critical design on diversity that challenges participants to create a game on “intersectionality,” which helps participants understand how systems operate in tandem to oppress (encourage “othering” and discrimination) or, conversely, when disassembled, to liberate (by fostering community and activism). This heuristic exercise is intended as a tool for teachers to bring into the classroom and as a learning experience for students to understand the complexity of systems of power. In setting up the exercise, we briefly discuss its use in a Spring 2016 class on feminist media.

The roadmap for the workshop includes an introduction on how games might provide us with new insights into models of structural oppression as well as the possibilities for imagining counter publics. Participants will be given a tool kit outlining basic elements of game design with attention to building systems of mechanics and shaping player experience goals. In groups, they will be asked to identify two areas or systems of power and to explore how these vectors intersect. Based on their selection and conversation, groups will do a rapid prototype for a game that illuminates how the system reinforces the power dynamics or inverts the system so that alliances rather than hierarchies and inequalities are formed. Extended time will be given to play testing each of the groups’ design as well as well as a closing feedback session.

Crenshaw, Kimberlé. "Demarginalizing the intersection of race and sex: A black feminist critique of antidiscrimination doctrine, feminist theory and antiracist politics." U. Chi. Legal F. (1989): 139.

Flanagan, Mary, and Helen Nissenbaum. Values at Play in Digital Games. 1 edition. Cambridge, Massachusetts: The MIT Press, 2014. Print.


Friday May 13, 2016 2:30pm - 3:45pm
COOR 195 975 S Myrtle Ave Arizona State University Tempe, AZ 85281
  • Session Location COOR 195

Attendees (18)