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Friday, October 4 • 3:30pm - 4:00pm
Critical Roleplay: Transforming Dominant Narratives Through Dungeons and Dragons

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While digital media such as videogames are often the focus of many conversations about the changing nature of life, learning, and play in today’s society, both the popular press and academic scholarship alike have highlighted the established and still-growing influence of analog role-playing games (RPGs) like Dungeons and Dragons, or D&D (Ewalt, 2014; Jahromi, 2017). The purpose of this well-played session is to invite participants to experience a more critically-conscious approach to tabletop roleplay that aims to resist, subvert, and ultimately transform dominant narratives to create more inclusive and meaningful experiences for diverse groups of players (Flanagan, 2009; Freire, 1970). While many praise D&D and similar role-playing game systems as powerful possibility spaces for encouraging creativity, fostering camaraderie, and promoting deep learning, a growing body of scholarship has begun to identify issues of privilege, power, and oppression that are perpetuated by the design features of such game systems, supporting materials, and even player communities (Garcia, 2017; Trammel, 2014; 2016). In particular, we draw on theories of social identity, positionality, and cultural production to frame our own experiences developing and playing through an East Asian-themed D&D campaign, in which we actively sought to resist stereotypical, Orientalist, & colonizing perspectives (Gygax, 1985). Drawing on our own funds of knowledge and cultural assets, we seek to engage participants in critical conversations about issues of identity, culture, and power within D&D, and explore avenues for creating more representative, responsive, and sustaining experiences for an increasingly diverse population of players.

avatar for Dr. Kelly M Tran

Dr. Kelly M Tran

Assistant Professor, High Point University
PhD Student at Arizona State University.

Jeffrey Holmes

Tempe, Arizona, USA, Arizona State University

Earl Aguilera

Assistant Professor, California State University, Fresno

Friday October 4, 2019 3:30pm - 4:00pm PDT
Pacific Ballroom A 311 Peltason Dr., Irvine, CA, 92697