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Aims & Scope


Special Issue: "Teaching About (and With) Video Games."

Digital games have become an increasingly ubiquitous form of activity and entertainment since their emergence in the mid-twentieth century. Today, interactive games constitute a multi-million dollar industry. The role of digital games culturally and socially continues to be a topic of debate, with positions proliferating as more and more people play. For example, the gaming community recently exploded in a 'controversy' known as GamerGate, in which some gamers spoke out against the ways in which video game representations can perpetuate misogyny and racism. Other gamers reacted aggressively to such criticism, threatening and harassing those expressing such views. Meanwhile, popular discourse has long imagined gaming as a kind of drug, addicting and destructive, capable of making individuals unproductive, anti-social, even violent.

At the same time, however, the format and function of digital games have been embraced by sectors beyond arts and entertainment. Games-based learning, for example, is a pedagogical practice aimed at enhancing student engagement by making the classroom more ‘game-like’ in order to encourage risk-taking, experimentation, collaboration and/or competition. In higher education and beyond, “gamification” - that is, the adoption of games and game-design principles in real world contexts - has put games to work.

For this upcoming issue, the editors of Teaching Media Quarterly seek lesson plans that explore how media and communication instructors might approach the study of digital games as an increasingly important element of the global media landscape.

Some possible areas of exploration might include, but are not limited to:

  • Digital games and transmedia storytelling
  • Gender, race, sexuality and the production and/or consumption of digital games
  • The work of representations within digital games
  • Popular discourse and academic debate on the relationship between violence and video games
  • "Gamergate," cyber-bullying, and harassment
  • Digital games and the military-industrial complex
  • Digital games as forms of art and/or activism
  • "Gamification" of education, marketing, healthcare, etc.
  • "Advergames," or the use of games in advertising
  • Disabilities and gaming
  • Digital games and participatory culture (e.g., fandoms, modding, etc.)
  • How playing digital games can shape experiences of sociality, community and public space
  • Virtual economies and their relationships to real-world economic practices (e.g., entrepreneurship and consumerism in multi-player games, 'gold-farming,' etc.)
  • Exploitation and overwork in the digital games industry

Please upload your submission as a Microsoft Word or RTF document to Teaching Media Quarterly at http://pubs.lib.umn.edu/tmq/ using the "Submit a Lesson Plan" link in the sidebar. Please ensure that your submission conforms to TMQ Submission Template.

Allyson Shaffer, our guest Editor for this issue, studies digital media, labor, temporality, and affect. She is writing a dissertation on how the video game industry has participated in changes in work and the economy over the past several decades.

General Aims & Scope

Teaching Media Quarterly is dedicated to circulating practical and timely approaches to media concepts and topics from a variety of disciplinary and methodological perspectives. We are committed to publishing activities that help students bring critical questions to bear on the world around them. Our goal is to promote a collaborative exchange of undergraduate teaching resources between media educators at higher education institutions.

Teaching Media Quarterly encourages the use of critical perspectives. Our aim is to publish lesson plans that deal with important social, cultural, and economic issues. We have covered topic areas that address, but are not limited to, the following:

Gender: Lesson plans in this section are useful for teaching raced and classed masculinities and femininities in the media. They engage with, teach, and critique masculinities, femininities, feminisms, post-feminism, intersectionality, as well as post-feminist ideologies expressed in the U.S. and global media.

Race: Drawing from Critical Race Theory, intersectionality, and Critical Whiteness Studies, these lesson plans push students to critically engage with the ways in which the media participate in construction of the material realities of post-racial ideologies and racialized bodies in the U.S. and globally.

Sexuality: Lesson plans in this section are concerned with teaching about LGBTTIQQ2S experiences, representation, intersectionality and the media.

Justice: Lesson plans in this section are specifically concerned with social, economic, political, environmental, media, racial, and gender justice. They ask students to recognize how media participate in creating inequality and how it may have the potential to work towards equitable futures.

Environment: Lesson plans in this area specifically engage the environment on a local and global scale. Topics include global climate change, ecomedia, food, place, framing, food, and other environmental topics.

Media Literacy: Lesson plans in this section teach media literacy concepts such as framing, spiral of silence, media convergence, surveillance, how to teach/lead difficult conversations in the classroom, and more.

Media Production: These lesson plans ask students to engage in some form of media making. Some of the lesson plans require little previous skills and minimal technology, such as mobile phones, others require use of advanced media production equipment.

Media Technologies: Lesson plans in this section are concerned with various media technologies including new media technologies, surveillance practices, social media, and data gathering.

Class and Work: Lesson plans in this section engage with mediated life and labor in capitalism and neoliberalism. They interrogate immaterial labor practices; engage students in understanding their interpellation as consumers and producers of content; reflect on the representation of class in society; and examine life and work in capitalism.

Media Industries: Lesson plans in this section bring a critical lens to the history, politics, and economics of media industries. Topics include the political economy of media, the military-media-entertainment-industrial complex, media policy, media consolidation and conglomeration, studies of post-production, and media ownership.