Samantha Allen is a fourth-year PhD student in the Department of Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies at Emory University. In 2013, she received the John Money Fellowship for Scholars of Sexology from the Kinsey Institute for Research in Sex, Gender, and Reproduction at Indiana University. Her areas of study include feminist theory, queer theory, affect theory and psychoanalysis. Samantha’s dissertation places practices of sexual fetishism in conversation with Silvan Tomkins’ theory of affect as a way to revisit Freudian theories of perversion and fetishism.
My paper, “Video Games as Feminist Pedagogy,” will highlight the use of games as teaching tools in the Women’s, Gender and Sexuality Studies classroom. Using bell hooks’ theories of feminist pedagogy, I argue that game-related teaching activities subvert traditional pedagogical models based on masculine values of hierarchy, authority, neutrality and objectivity. Games can foster a space for learning that requires student engagement without relying solely on the voice of the instructor.
The paper focuses on two experiences using games in my own Women’s, Gender and Sexuality Studies 100 classroom at Emory University. In the first activity, I used Anna Anthropy’s dys4ia, Merritt Kopas’ Lim and Mattie Brice’s Mainichi to begin a unit on transgender issues in my class. In the second activity, I used the “skull system” of elective difficulty modifiers in Halo as a metaphor for feminist theories of intersectionality. In the paper, I will discuss the relative effectiveness of each of these activities. I conclude that video games’ focus on object collision as a central mechanic precludes the potential for games to explore subject matter that might be more pertinent to a Women’s, Gender and Sexuality Studies classroom.