When a university decided to include two video games for history class


2021-02-17 02:57:59

Imagine learning history in class with a video game aiding you to enhance your knowledge base. Sounds cool, right? Considering something like video games and studies are generally perceived to be on the opposite ends of the spectrum with regards to academic excellence. But it has happened.
The University of Tennessee has decided to use Rockstar Studio’s Red Dead Redemption and Red Dead Redemption 2, two popular open world video games, for its class on American History. Tore Olsson, history professor at the university, tweeted about this. The tweet says:
“Who says video games don’t belong in the classroom? I’m a history professor at @UTKnoxville. This fall, I’ll be teaching a new course titled “HIUS 383: Red Dead America,” exploring the historical reality behind @RockstarGames’ series. What kinds of topics will we be exploring?”

Both Red Dead Redemption and its sequel will be used to teach American history to students. The course will commence in Knoxville at the University of Tennessee this coming August.
The professor does think that the games are often “historically inaccurate” but they “skillfully broach a number of crucial historical issues in the 1899-1911 period, such as:
-The frontier mythology and its long afterlife
-The expansion of monopoly capitalism and how railroads extended corporate power”
Historical fiction is usually considered to be much more interesting to read than actual history, which some may find boring, and could be a starting point to interest someone into reading history. For example, reading historical fiction by authors like Bernard Cornwell, Ken Follett and Conn Iggulden may actually enliven the so-called ‘boring’ term when it comes to reading history from textbooks. But here we have a quite popular video game series, something much more lighter than historical fiction, and the move to include them in a history class may prove to be a scholar puller.





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