mercifulserpent: (Default)
how do you talk about human rights in the classroom?

FLEFF offers some really great digital games to use to prompt class discussion. These were collected by Ulysses Meijias, and have been really fantastically useful for me:

Homeless: It’s No Game
You’re homeless and alone. Can you survive on the city streets for 24 hours with your dignity intact?

Karma Tycoon
Learn what it takes to be a social entrepreneur, and maximize karma, not profit, while improving conditions in virtual communities across the United States.

McDonald’s Video Game
A business simulation that aims to demonstrate the social and environmental unsustainability of the fast-food industry.

A video game about the politics of nutrition. Explore the relationships between obesity, nutrition, and socioeconomics in the contemporary United States.

Stop Disasters!
A disaster simulation game from the United Nations and the International Strategy for Disaster Reduction, this game challenges players to create a safer environment for a population.

Food Force
This humanitarian educational video game focuses on the subject of world hunger and the work that goes into feeding people.

Peace Maker
Inspired by real events in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, this games challenges players to bring peace to the region.

World without Oil
This is an alternate reality game (ARG) that involves the collaborative imagining of how a global oil crisis might actually pan out.

Airport Security
The first in a series of news games called Arcade Wire, Airport Security offers a satirical critique of airport security practices circa early fall 2006, when security agencies in the United States and abroad changed their policies to prohibit common items, such as toothpaste and hair gel, on flights. Do knee-jerk reactions that limit our freedom of expression and travel make us safer? In Arcade Wire: Airport Security you inspect each passenger and his luggage and remove the forbidden items before allowing the passenger to go through-but the list of forbidden items changes on a moment-to-moment basis. Prohibited items may include pants, mouthwash, and hummus. It is also downloadable for your mobile phone from

Ayiti: The Cost of Life
What is it like to live in poverty, struggling every day to stay healthy, keep out of debt, and get educated? Find out now in this challenging role-playing game created by high school students. In this innovative video game, the player assumes the roles of various family members living in rural Haiti. Over the course of the game, the player balances goals, such as getting an education, making money, staying healthy, and seeking happiness, while encountering unexpected events. The game was developed in an after-school program where youth leaders from Global Kids, in the Playing 4 Keeps program, worked in partnership with the game developers at Gamelab.

Bacteria Salad
Your goal is simple: harvest mass amounts of cheap produce and sell it for as much profit as possible. But watch out for floods and animal waste, or your greens might turn, uh-brown-and your customers will get E. coli. It doesn't take someone with an M.B.A. to know that killing people is bad for business! Which are safer, small family farms or big industrial ones? Is it possible to run large agribusiness safely? These are the salad days for big agribusiness-play today!

Darfur Is Dying
This online, viral video game puts the player in the shoes of one of the 2.5 million refugees fighting for survival every day in the Darfur region of Sudan. Players learn about some of the challenges refugees and displaced persons face-and they learn how to take action to help stop the crisis. The game was developed for the Darfur Digital Activist Contest that was launched by mtvU in partnership with the Reebok Human Rights Foundation and the International Crisis Group. Directors: Susana Ruiz, Ashley York, and Huy Truong.

A Force More Powerful
A Force More Powerful is the first and only interactive teaching tool in the field of nonviolent conflict. Developed by the International Center on Nonviolent Conflict and the media firm York Zimmerman Inc., with design assistance from some of the Serbian resistance leaders who helped overthrow Slobodan Milosevic in 2000, the game simulates nonviolent struggles to win freedom and secure human rights against dictators, occupiers, colonizers, and corrupt regimes. It features campaigns for political and human rights for minorities and women.

The Gaming Meme

Games constitute a major meme in the contemporary media landscape. Computer games now outsell Hollywood theatrical films. Gaming imagery and design infuse popular culture, from fashion to movies to animation to websites to advertising. Games also generate epidemics of moral panic about uncontrolled violence, the corruption of youth, repetitive stress syndrome, manic obsessions, and social deviance.

Countering these hysterias and projections, radical gaming and social networking algorithms intervene into the panic and the manic by marshalling immersivity and interactivity for goals beyond the self and beyond empire.

New for 2007, this year's festival pairs emerging scholars from the humanities and social sciences with games with a conscience. The scholar will take you on a tour of the game-and ease your entry into the intoxicating and influential world of interventionist games that remap our political imaginaries.

Oil God
You are an oil god! Wreak havoc on the world's oil supplies by unleashing war and disaster. Bend governments and economies to your will to alter trade practices. Your goal? Double consumer gasoline prices in five years using whatever means necessary. Oil God is the second in an ongoing series of news games. The game explores the relationship between gas prices, geopolitics, and oil profits. Gasoline prices are affected most by possible or actual disruptions in oil producing regions, which might reduce supply without altering demand, thus driving prices up. One feature that characterizes the current fluctuations in gasoline prices, unlike previous ones in 1973 and 1981, are a multitude of simultaneous world events and geopolitical uncertainties: the Iraq war, missiles in North Korea, Hurricane Katrina, pipeline problems, the Iran/Korea nuclear, war between Israel and Lebanon war, and so forth.

PeaceMaker is a video game simulation of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict: a tool that can be used to promote dialog and understanding among Israelis, Palestinians, and interested people around the world.

September 12, a Toy World
The game analyzes the current situation of the United States' war on terror. The game uses traditional videogame aesthetics to model a political paradox: current U.S. tactics on the war on terror affect the civilian population and generate more terrorism.

Tropical America
Tropical America fuses the new world of video games to a compelling past through a journey to unravel the mysteries of the Americas. Developed in collaboration with Los Angeles artists, teachers, writers, and high school students, the game features a bilingual, thematic game play, accompanied by an online database of educational resource materials, source texts, and imagery. Tropical America has been archived on the Rhizome ArtBase, though it no longer accepts new logins.

Vectors re-jiggers the academic journal through a productive encounter with varied forms of interactivity and intermediality. It maps the multiple contours of daily life in an unevenly digital era, highlighting the social, political, and cultural stakes of our increasingly technologically mediated existence and addresses issues such as globalization, mobility, power, and access. Vectors only publishes works that need to exist online, fusing old and new media, and melding form and content to enact a second-order examination of the role of technology in culture. The journal features peer-reviewed submissions and specially commissioned works composed of moving- and still-images; voice, music, and sound; computational and interactive structures; social software; and much more.
mercifulserpent: (Default)

The closest I ever came to saying what I wanted was in an American literature class last year. Gay rights came up again – I think I may have even steered the conversation in that direction. And a student finally said to me, “But what about teachers? We can't have homosexuals teaching students!” I resisted leaping up on the podium and flashing the big L emblazoned on a leotard beneath my blouse. Instead, I took a deep breath and began slowly. “Well, in my opinion, you don’t learn sexual preference in the classroom. I mean, that’s not what we are doing here. If you had a gay or lesbian teacher, he or she would not teach you about sexual preference.” I paused to catch my breath. They were all listening. “What he or she would say, if you had a gay teacher, is this…” (by now I was lightly beating on the podium) “…‘don’t let them make you afraid to be who you are. To know who you are.’ She would tell you, ‘Don’t let them get you. Don’t let them make you afraid.’” I stopped abruptly and in the silence turned to think of something to write on the board.

If they ever do have a lesbian teacher, that is exactly what she will say. (76, 77 –“Confessions of a Closet Baptist”)

the bicycle

Oct. 3rd, 2002 01:04 pm
mercifulserpent: (Default)
The Zen master met with three students who rode bicycles to the Zendo.

He asked the first student, "Why do you ride your bicycle?"

The student replied, "Master, I ride my bicycle to save energy and use less gasoline."

"Very commendable, young Student, very thrifty."

The Master turned to the second student and asked, "Why do you ride your bicycle?"

The student replied, "Master, I ride my bicycle for the fresh air and exercise."

"You are blessed," replied the Master, " you will live a long and healthy life."

Finally, the Master turned to the third student and asked, "Why do you ride your bicycle?"

The third student replied, "Master, I ride my bicycle to ride my bicycle."

The Zen master knelt and said, "I am your student."


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