Rice English Dept Offering Skyrim Class
Those of us who went to one of America’s many fine State universities often wonder what it’s like at those schools that routinely produce presidents, diplomats, dictators and the like. Fine, yes, they have superior resources and serve as a fast track to the halls of highest temporal power. But surely it can’t be that much better than State U, especially since state universities have significantly jacked up the cost of a college education to the point that attending Cal State is starting to approach Ivy league levels of expensive. Everyone knows that expensive = quality, right?
But you’d be wrong. Apparently, if you go to Rice university, you get to play Skyrim for college credit. The Rice University English Department recently emailed Bethesda about a class they’re offering called Scandinavian Fantasy Worlds: Old Norse Sagas and Skyrim, and it sounds like the easiest A ever. Here’s the official course description:
This course has two goals. First, it introduces students to fantasy as both psychological concept and driving force in gamer culture; and second, using these paradigms, it considers how and why medieval Scandinavia serves as a locus of modern Anglo-American fantasy. To these ends, students will read selections from Old Norse and Old Icelandic sagas (in translation) as they play different quests within Skyrim. While the course begins by identifying moments of intersection between the worlds of the sagas and of Skyrim (inclement environments, supernatural figures, mythologies), the course is not in any means meant to map the former onto the latter. The purpose of establishing these connections is to then consider how elements of medieval Scandinavian culture have been taken out of historical milieu and literary context, morphed into unfamiliar shape, and appropriated towards other fantastic pursuits. We’ll consider the political saga of Skyrim, with its emphasis on Empire and rebellion, as pursuits made possible by way of Scandinavia in order to think through what Scandinavian fantasy worlds are really about and why they resonate with contemporary Anglo-American culture.
Yes, I’m officially jealous of these damn kids and their college experience today. Via the Bethblog.