the rhetoric of play


spring 2007

ryan moeller, ph.d.

w 4:30-7:00

rwst 308


rwst 312b

Jan 10

Read: J. Cohen's "The Ideas of Work and Play."
For discussion: syllabus, policies, assignments, article.

Unit 1: The Anthropology of Play

Jan 17

Read: J. Huizinga's Homo ludens: A study of the play element in culture.
For discussion: position papers.

Recommended readings: Beatty & Torbet's "The false duality of work and leisure" and Gruneau's "Freedom and constraint."

Jan 24

Read: R. Caillois' Man, play, and games
For discussion: position papers. We will meet briefly at 4:30 and continue our discussion of position papers on Syllabase. In lieu of the remainder of class, please attend as many of the following as you can: Keith Gibson's job talk at 1:00 in the Eccles Conference Center, Alan Lightman's talk at 3:00, and the reception for Gibson at the Caine House right after we meet.

Recommended readings: Landry's "Playing at learning" and Rockwell's "Serious play at hand."

Jan 31

Read: J. Ehrmann et al's "Homo ludens revisited" and C. Rojek's "Baudrillard and leisure."
For discussion: position papers, applications of anthropology and sociology of play.

Recommended reading: Rieber's "Seriously considering play."

Unit 2: The Rhetoric of Play

Feb 7

Read: B. Sutton-Smith's The ambiguity of play
For discussion: position papers, establishing a rhetoric of play.

Recommended reading: Salen & Zimmerman's "Unit 3: Play."

Feb 14

Class canceled for SW/Texas PCA/ACA conference.

Feb 21

Read: K. McAllister's Game work: Language, power, and computer game culture
For discussion: position papers, game work.

Recommended readings: Myers' "Signs, symbols, games, and play" and Squire's "Cultural framing of computer/video games."

Feb 28

Rhetorical methodology presentations: discourse analysis, ethnography, institutional critique, organizational analysis, quantitative (statistical) methods, rhetorical analysis, usability and user-centered design. This week, position papers will be in the form of presentation handouts on a particular methodology.

Unit 3: Marketing Play

Mar 7

Research proposals due.
Read: S. Johnson's Everthing Bad is Good for You: How Today's Popular Culture is Actually Making us Smarter
For discussion: position papers, complexity in play and entertainment.

Recommended readings: Barrett's "White thumbs, black bodies" and Ondrejka's "Finding common ground."

Mar 14

Spring Break, no class

Mar 21

Class canceled for CCCC and ATTW conferences.

Mar 28

Read: Parts 1-2 of S. Kline et al's Digital Play: The Interaction of Technology, Culture, and Marketing
For discussion: position papers, marketing play.

Recommended readings: Consalvo's "Console video games and global corporations" and Yang, et al's "The effectiveness of 'in-game.'"

Apr 4

Read: Part 3 of S. Kline et al's Digital Play: The Interaction of Technology, Culture, and Marketing
For discussion: position papers, marketing play; course wrap-up and summary.

Recommended readings: Kozinets, et al's "Ludic agency and retail spectacle" and Leonard's "Live in your world, play in ours"

Unit 4: Professional Development

Apr 11

For discussion: academic conferences and symposia, publication, peer review.
For class: bring in 2 copies of 250 word abstract (with title) of your final paper/presentation.

Apr 18

For discussion: workshop seminar papers.
For class: post drafts of final presentation/paper to your group site in syllabase by 8:00am Tuesday (17 April).

Apr 25

Rhetoric of Play Symposium, Part I: Faculty Seminar Room, Merrill-Cazier library, 2nd floor, across from 202.

Interdisciplinary Perspectives on Play Theory
David Christensen (chair), Skip Taft, and Robert Watkins.

Visual and Spatial Representations of Identity through Play
Amanda Bemer (chair), Troy Stoddard, and Laura Vernon.

May 2

Seminar papers due.

Rhetoric of Play Symposium, Part II: Celebration Centre, 1903 S 800 W, Logan.

Educational Aspects of Games and Game Discourse
Jason Cootey (chair), Matt Andersen, and Curtis Newbold.

545-630 and beyond
Playdium research