the rhetoric of play


spring 2007

ryan moeller, ph.d.

w 4:30-7:00

rwst 308


rwst 312b

course texts

The required texts for this course are:

Caillois, R. (2001). Man, Play, and Games. University of Illinois Press. ISBN: 025207033X.

Huizinga, J. (1971). Homo Ludens: A Study of the Play-Element in Culture. Boston, MA: Beacon. ISBN: 0-8070-4681-7.

Johnson, S. (2005). Everything Bad is Good for You: How Today's Popular Culture is Actually Making us Smarter. Riverhead. ISBN: 1573223077.

Kline, S., Dyer-Witheford, N., and De Peuter, G. (2003). Digital Play: The Interaction of Technology, Culture, and Marketing. Ithaca, NY: McGill-Queen's UP.

McAllister, K. S. (2004). Game Work: Language, Power, and Computer Game Culture. Tuscaloosa, AL: University of Alabama Press.

Sutton-Smith, B. (2001). The Ambiguity of Play. Harvard UP. ISBN: 0674005813.

I will also be assigning additional readings in class as needed. These will be made available to you in electronic format from our syllabase course site. In order to read electronic documents, you will need Adobe Acrobat Reader, available free here.

course bibliography

Agger, B. (1979). Work and authority in Marcuse and Habermas. Human Studies, 2, 191-208.

Agosto, D. E. (2004, February). Girls and gaming: A summary of the research with implications for practice. TeacherLibrarian, 13(3): 8-14.

Anchor, R. (1978). History and play: Johan Huizinga and his critics. History and Theory, 17(1): 63-93.

Arnold, P. (1989, May). On the relationship between education, work, and leisure: Past, present, and future. British Journal of Educational Studies, 37(2), 136-146.

Barrett, P. (2006). White thumbs, black bodies: Race, violence, and neoliberal fantasies in Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas. The Review of Education, Pedagogy, and Cultural Studies, 28, 95119.

Beatty, J. E. and Torbet, W. R. (2003). The false duality of work and leisure. Journal of Management Inquiry 12 (3), 239-252.

Beavis, C. and Charles, C. (2005, September). Challenging notions of gendered game play: Teenagers playing The Sims. Discourse, 26(3): 355-367.

Beato, G. (1997, April). Girl games: Computer games for girls is no longer an oxymoron. Wired news 5(4). Retrieved 9 January 2007 from

Boggis, J. J., (2001). The eradication of leisure. New Technology, Work, and Employment, 16(2), 118-129.

Bramhamm, P. (2002, July-October). Rojek, the sociological imagination and leisure. Leisure Studies, 21(3-4), 221-234.

Brooks, L. J. and Bowker, G. (2002, January). Playing at work: Understanding the future of work practices at the Institute for the Future. Information, Communication, & Society, 5(1), 109-136.

Butsch, R. (1984, September). The commodification of leisure: The case of the model airplane hobby and industry. Qualitative Sociology, 7(3), 217-235.

Carlson, L. (1993). Dialogue games: An approach to discourse analysis. Boston, MA: D. Reidel.

Cassell, J. and Jenkins, H. (1998). From Barbie to Mortal Kombat: Gender and computer games. Cambridge, MA: MIT.

Coalter, F. (2000, July). Public and commercial leisure provision: active citizens and passive consumers? Leisure Studies, 19(3), 163-181.

Cohen, J. (1953, December). The ideas of work and play. The British Journal of Sociology, 4(4), 312-322.

Consalvo, M. (2006). Console video games and global corporations: Creating a hybrid culture. New Media & Society, 8(1), 117-137.

Cornish, E. (1983, September 15). Do we need a department of play? Vital Speeches of the Day, 49(23): 724-726.

de Aguilera, M. and Méndiz, A. (2003, October). Video games and education (Education in the face of a "parallel school). ACM Computers in Entertainment, 1(1), 10 pp.

Dovey, J. (2006). How do you play? Identity, technology, and ludic culture. Digital Creativity, 17(3), 135-139.

Gee, J. (2003). What Video Games have to Teach us about Learning and Literacy. New York: Palgrave Macmillan.

Gleason, W. A. (1999). The leisure ethic: Work and play in American literature, 1840-1940. Stanford, CA: Stanford UP.

Goldman, R., (1983-1984, Winter). "We make weekends": Leisure and the commodity form." Social Text(8), 84-103.

Graner Ray, S. (2003). Gender inclusive game design: Expanding the market. [Advances in Computer Graphics and Game Development Series]. Charles River Media.

Gruneau, R. S. (1980, Winter). Freedom and constraint: The paradoxes of play, games, and sports. Journal of Sport History, 7(3), 68-86.

Harper, W. (1997, July). The future of leisure; Making leisure work. Leisure Studies. 16(3): 189-198.

Hartmann, T. and Klimmt, C. (2006, July). Gender and computer games: Exploring females' dislikes. Journal of Computer-Mediated Communication, 11(4): 910-931.

Haworth, L. (1984). Leisure, work, and profession. Leisure Studies, 3(3), 319-334.

Kando, T. M. and Summers, W. C. (1971, July). The impact of work on leisure: Toward a paradigm and research strategy. The Pacific Sociological Review, 14(3), 310-327.

Katz-Gerro, T. (1999, Winter). Cultural consumption and social stratification: Leisure activities, musical tastes, and social location. Sociological Perspectives, 42(4), 627-646.

Kelly, J. R. (1981, December). Leisure interaction and the social dialectic. Social Forces, 60(2), 304-322.

Kennedy, H. W. (2002, December). Lara Croft: Feminist icon or cyberbimbo? On the limits of textual analysis. Game studies, 2(2). Retrieved 9 January 2007 from

Kozinets, R. V., et al. (2004, December). Ludic agency and retail spectacle. Journal of Consumer Research, 31, 658672.

Kuic, V. (1981, July). Work, leisure, and culture. The Review of Politics, 43(3), 436-465.

Landry, J. R. (2000). Playing at learning: Why knowledge creation needs fun. Proceedings of the 33rd Hawaii International Conference on System Sciences, 7 pp.

Leonard, D. (2003). "Live in your world, play in ours": Race, video games, and consuming the other. Studies in Media & Information Literacy Education, 3(4). Retrieved 6 January 2007 from

McGillivray, D. (2005). Governing working bodies through leisure. Leisure Sciences 27(4), 315-330.

Moulthrop, S. (2005, December). After the last generation: Rethinking theory, writing, and scholarship in the days of serious play. DAC 2005. Retrieved 6 January 2007 from

Myers, D. (2006, January). Signs, symbols, games, and play. Games and Culture 1(1), 47-51.

Nzegwu, U. (n.d.). Gender and computer/video games. Africa Resource. Retrieved 9 January 2007 from

Ondrejka, C. (2006, January). Finding common ground in new worlds. Games and Culture 1(1), 111-115.

Oriard, M. (1991). Sporting with the gods: The rhetoric of play and game in American culture. New York: Cambridge UP.

Pagulayan, R. J., Keeker, K., Wixon, D., Romero, R., & Fuller, T. (in press). User-centered design in games. In J. Jacko and A. Sears (Eds.), Handbook for Human-Computer Interaction in Interactive Systems. Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates, Inc.

Plass, P. (1967). "Play" and philosophical detachment in Plato. Transactions and Proceedings of the American Philological Association, 98, 343-364.

Podilchak, W. (1991). Distinctions of fun, enjoyment, and leisure. Leisure Studies 10(2), 133-148.

Prensky, M. (2000). Digital game-based learning. McGraw-Hill.

Rapoport, R. and Rapoport, R. N. (1974, June). Four themes in the sociology of leisure. The British Journal of Sociology, 25(2), 215-229.

Rieber, L. P. (1996). Seriously considering play: Designing interactive learning environments based on the blending of microworlds, simulations, and games. ETR&D 44(2), 43-58.

Rockwell, G. (2003). Serious Play at Hand: Is Gaming Serious Research in the Humanities? Text Technology 12(2), 89-99.

Rodriguez, H. (2006, Dec). The playful and the serious: An approximation to Huizinga's Homo Ludens. Game Studies, 6(1). Retrieved 4 January 2007 from

Rojek, C. (2005, January). An outline of the action approach to leisure studies. Leisure Studies, 24(1), 13-25.

Rojek, C. (2001, April). Leisure and life politics. Leisure Studies, 23(2), 115-125.

Rojek, C. (1990, January). Baudrillard and leisure. Leisure Studies, 9(1), 7-20.

Rojek, C.. (1984). Did Marx have a theory of leisure? Leisure Studies, 3(2), 163-174.

Rouzie, A. (2005). At play in the fields of writing: A serio-ludic rhetoric. Creskill, NJ: Hampton.

Rouzie, A. (2001, December). Conversation and carrying-on: Play, conflict, and serio-ludic discourse in synchronous computer conferencing. CCC 53(2): 251-299.

Schott, G. R. and Horrell, K. R. (2000). Girl gamers and their relationship with the gaming culture. Convergence, 6(4): 36-53.

Schroeder, R. (1996, Winter). Playspace invaders: Huizinga, Baudrillard and video game violence. Journal of Popular Culture. 30(3): 143-153.

Sefton-Green, J. (2005, September). Changing the rules? Computer games, theory, learning, and play [Review Essay]. Discourse: Studies in the cultural politics of education, 26(3), 411-419.

Snir, R. and Harpaz, I. (2002). Work-leisure relations: Leisure orientation and the meaning of work. Journal of Leisure Research, 34(2), 178-203.

Squire, K. (2002, July). Cultural framing of computer/video games. Game Studies, 2(1). Retrieved 5 December 2006 from

Tsikalas, K. E. (2001). When the SIMS get real: an analysis of how digital play spaces promote learning in low-income, diverse communities. Center for Youth and Technology, NYC and CILT Playspace project. Retrieved 5 December 2006 from

Vattimo, G. (2003). Knowledge society or leisure society? Diogenes, 50(1), 9-14.

Wang, J. (2001). Culture as leisure and culture as capital. positions, 9(1), 69-104.

Webster, J. and Martocchio, J. (1993). Turning work into play: Implications for Microcomputer Software Training. Journal of Management, 19(1), 127-146.

Welsh, A. (2005, Summer). Business is busyness, or the work ethic. Social Research. 72(2): 471-500.

Wright, T., Boria, E., and Breidenback, P. (2002, Dec). Creative player actions in FPS online video games. Game Studies, 2(2). Retrieved 4 January 2007 from

Yang, M.; Roskos-Ewoldsen, D. R.; Dinu, L.; and Arpan, L. M. (2006). The effectiveness of "in-game." Journal of Advertising, 35(4), 143-152.

Yee, N. (2006). The labor of fun: How video games blur the boundaries of work and play. Games and Culture, 1(1), 68-71.

Yli-Jokipii, H. M. (1998). The representation of leisure in corporate publicity material: The case of a Finnish pine construction company. TCQ, 7(3), 259-270.

Zarnowski, C. F. (2004). Working at play: The phenomenon of 19th century worker-competitions. Journal of Leisure Research, 36(2), 257-281.