I want to play “Desperate Fishwives”!
“While we have been anguishing over the fate of the humanities, the humanities have been busily moving into, and even colonizing, the fields that were supposedly displacing them,” wrote Stanley Fish, the outspoken professor of humanities and law at Florida International University, on his New York Times blog in June.
Some were oriented to teaching history via role-playing games. Heidi Rae Cooley, an assistant professor of new media studies at the University of South Carolina, presented one such project, called “Desperate Fishwives.” The game “intends to introduce students to the kinds of social and cultural practices that would have been in play in a 17th Century British village,” Cooley explained. Students will be tasked with accumulating resources, completing social rituals, and solving some societal ill “before church or state intervene,” she continued. Afterward, students would render a prose account of their experiences — “and thereby learn of the nature and complexities of historiography.”
Lisa Rosner, a professor of history at Richard Stockton College of New Jersey, presented her concept for a role-playing game called “Pox in the City.” The game has similar educational goals to “Desperate Fishwives,” although Rosner’s has to do with public health in 19th-century Edinburgh. Players can assume the roles of doctor, patient, or smallpox virus.