Course Description: Game designer Eric Zimmerman recently proclaimed the 21st century to be the "Ludic Century." Jane McGonigal writes that "reality is broken" and games may be the solution for social problems. In this course, we will use tabletop, card, and computer games to explore themes in social, behavioral, and cultural theory such as play, cooperation, evolution and change, symbols, and power. The course presents an introduction to cultural anthropology using games as a focus and medium for learning. We will learn to analyze texts and games anthropologically. As a creative, experiential learning component, we will learn about the basic elements of game design, and as a final culminating project, student teams will develop games based on an anthropological social theory. Students' game concepts will be presented at a workshop at the American Anthropological Association meetings in Washington DC and which we will invite students and designers to playtest at a UMass Libraries Game Night in December.
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