Tomas Karlsson


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Verksam vid:

Idé- och samhällsstudier




Umeå universitet
SE-901 87 Umeå


A, Humanisthuset, HF120


tomas.karlsson@umu.seE-post 2

tomas.karlsson@historia.umu.seE-post 1


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Computer Games, History and Masculinity

Prevalent in many of the narratives of computer games dealing with the past are narratives of the historically situated (idealized) warrior and “war” as such. In that way history becomes stereotyped and gendered. But history is also being presented as an event in which the gamer participates, i.e. it is being simulated with various degrees of notions of “authenticity”. The gamer sees the game through the lens of a character, be it a person or a concept (i.e. “nation” or “army”). When history is presented through the eyes of the idealized masculinity it becomes gendered in a way that raises a number of important questions of idealized performativity in a gaming context.

My research

My research examines various aspects of how historical narratives are being reproduced in the world of computer gaming. I am, as stated above, interested in how myths of masculinity, predominantly the warrior myth is being reproduced by selecting popularized fragments of the past and making them representative as “authentic” gaming experiences. Of particular interest to me are theoretical concepts such as performativity, identity and collective memory.

Research topics:

* Simulating projected past identities. What does it mean to participate in a “simulation” of a past event?
* The significance of interactivity for the everyday experience of the past. How is “history” being used and how are notions of it transformed and/or reproduced?
* The question of “gendered” identity and performativity in a gaming context. How do gamers´ transcend their perceived identities and preconceived notions of “history” in a gaming context?
* Didactical challenges this poses for learning "history". Who´s history is deemed to be representative and what are the consequences of this?

About me

I have a background as an upper secondary school teacher in history, philosophy and religious studies. Since spring 2011 I am a PhD-Student at Umeå University.

Sidansvarig: Sandra Olsson