“Medievalism in Video Games: Art, Culture and Theory,” is a 300-level undergraduate seminar course that is taught by Bihter Esener in the Department of the History of Art at the University of Michigan (U-M).
Medievalism – or the use of medieval art, architecture, and cultures – in video games has exploded ever since the launch of Prince of Persia (1989), which was set in the medieval Persian world. Video games play an important role in shaping the perceptions of their audiences about the medieval world. As much as they can serve as learning tools or supplements, they also may convey negative messages as well as spread misunderstanding, misconceptions, and stereotypes about medieval history. Over the last decade, however, game designers have collaborated with historians and art historians to better understand medieval art, architecture, and cultures in order to create more accurate games.
In this course, we will study how real-life medieval monuments and images appear in the imagined spaces of video games. We will learn about medieval Christian and Muslim art and cultures while critically discussing related medieval images in video games through some key concepts and theories, including ludology (the social and cultural study of games), Orientalism, religion, race, identity, and woman and gender studies. We will also visit the Computer and Video Game Archive located in Shapiro Library as well as learn from the experts in the Digital Lab for Islamic Visual Culture and Collections at Edinburgh University about the impact of digital games on learning medieval art history.
You may find more about the Department of the History of Art’s course offerings and course descriptions here. HISTART 393 undergraduate seminar is also added to the Digital Studies Institute’s undergraduate curriculum, and it is officially counted as a Digital Studies minor course.