Informatics Seminar Series
Winter Quarter 2020

Friday, February 21, 2020

“Worldmaking in the Pudding Court: Acculturation, Collaboration, and Power in Tabletop Roleplaying Games”

Antero Garcia
Assistant Professor, Graduate School of Education
Stanford University

Sharing findings from a 26-month ethnographic study of one tabletop gaming community, this presentation explores how historical and structural components of gaming intersect with at-the-table mediation and talk. Building from a cultural-historical lens, I explore how space, time, and materiality define gaming literacy practices. I intentionally focus on a single day of gaming to present my findings. By focusing on this 2-hour block of time, I explore how one session of play, nested within a larger ethnographic fieldwork, a broader gaming culture, and a socioeconomic system that actively seeks to disempower individuals based on race, gender, and sexuality reveals particular kinds of literacy and learning practices, drawing parallels to the affordances of formal learning environments.

Antero Garcia is an Assistant Professor in the Graduate School of Education at Stanford University where he studies how technology and gaming shape both youth and adult learning, literacy practices, and civic identities. Prior to completing his Ph.D., Antero was an English teacher at a public high school in South Central Los Angeles. His most recent research studies explore learning and literacies in tabletop roleplaying games like Dungeons & Dragons and how participatory culture shifts classroom relationships and instruction. Based on his research focused on equitable teaching and learning opportunities for urban youth through the use of participatory media and gameplay, Antero co-designed the Critical Design and Gaming School--a public high school in South Central Los Angeles. Antero’s research has appeared in numerous journals including American Educational Research Journal, Harvard Educational Review, and Reading Research Quarterly. His most recent books are Good Reception: Teens, Teachers, and Mobile Media in a Los Angeles High School, Doing Youth Participatory Action Research: Transforming Inquiry with Researchers, Educators, and Students (with Nicole Mirra and Ernest Morrell), and Pose, Wobble, Flow: A Culturally Proactive Approach to Literacy Instruction (with Cindy O'Donnell-Allen). Antero received his Ph.D. in the Urban Schooling division of the Graduate School of Education and Information Studies at the University of California, Los Angeles.

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