SCANDINAVIAN R5B, Section 4: Playing with Literature and the Literature of Play

TuTh 8-9:30 , Dwinelle 211. Instructor: TBA

Units: 4

What is play? That simple definition is innately shared beyond human culture, as any dog with a stick, any dolphin with a wave, or any raven with a pinecone will demonstrate. This course will chart a path through instinct towards mutually understood contract to describe different aspects of play for humans and non-humans. The syllabus includes biological papers, social science findings, literary figurations of games, and some (video) games, all of which serve the purpose to clarify our writing and analytic skills. With new media consumption turning towards the digital and the virtual, we will spend more time at the end of the semester in the still experimental field of video game studies. Though we’ll talk about fun and have fun, the course will expect and train students in “reading” (broadly construed) texts analytically instead of passively.

In this course, we will distinguish primary sources from secondary, scholarly from popular, and define relevant research; these are transferrable skills to any environment, whether academic, corporate, or personal. With the critical writing background from R5A or R1A (the prerequisite for this course), we can focus on making innovative arguments in two main research papers.

Required purchases and/or downloads:

  • Minecraft by Mojang Studios (video game)
  • Ender’s Game by Orson Scott Card
  • Nattfåk or The Darkest Room by Johan Theorin

Provided on bCourses

  • 1001 Arabian Nights
  • The Saga of Gisli Sursson
  • Hyndluljóð in translation
  • Johan Huizinga’s Nature and Significance of Play as a Cultural Phenomenon

This course satisfies the second half or the “B” portion of the Reading and Composition requirement.
Prerequisite: Successful completion of the “A” portion of the Reading & Composition requirement or its equivalent. Students may not enroll in nor attend R1B/R5B courses without completing this prerequisite.

Due to the high demand for R&C courses we monitor attendance very carefully. Attendance is mandatory the first two weeks of classes, this includes all enrolled and wait listed students. If you do not attend all classes the first two weeks you may be dropped. If you are attempting to add into this class during weeks 1 and 2 and did not attend the first day, you will be expected to attend all class meetings thereafter and, if space permits, you may be enrolled from the wait list.