Talk by Dr Emil Lundedal Hammar: Cultural Memory & Digital Games: Hegemonic Pasts Through Production, Games, and Play

7th May 2022, 19:00 Indian Standard Time

Title: Cultural Memory & Digital Games: Hegemonic Pasts Through Production, Games, and Play.

This presentation investigates the relation between digital games and common understandings of the past, which people experience through popular culture, formally called ‘cultural memory’. The presentation highlights the relation between cultural memory and digital games by on one hand analyzing specific examples of historical digital games, such as the transatlantic slave trade in the 18th century as seen in Assassin’s Creed: Freedom Cry, and the racial injustices in the 1960s U.S.A in Mafia 3, and on the other hand, a quantitative content analysis of 208 different historical digital games to highlight the dominant trends of historical representation, where whiteness, masculinity, and simple violence are most common, the larger the production budget of each historical game. Thus, the presentation identifies the economic, technical, and social processes under-girding the production of historical digital games, which predispose developers to encode dominant representations of the past as the game’s meaning-potentials, which players then activate, negotiate, or oppose the meaning-potentials to express their own personal values via a digital game’s formal devices.

Dr. Emil Lundedal Hammar is a postdoctoral researcher at the Game Research Lab and at the Centre of Excellence in Game Culture Studies at Tampere University. His research expertise intersects between game studies, political economy, critical race theory, and cultural memory studies, where his doctoral thesis addressed how digital games, race, colonialism, and political economy intertwine to reinforce dominant hegemonic understandings of the past. His current research focuses on labor conditions in the Nordic game industries.

Please watch this space, the Zoom link will be shared here, soon.

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