English 189-2 - Fall, 2021

Seminar in Literary Studies

Topic: Shakespeare in Our Schools: Teaching the Tragedies through Digital Gaming and Theatrical Performance

Class Information

Instructor: Bloom, Gina
CRN: 53641
Time: W 12:10-3:00
Location: 234 Cruess


Shakespeare in our Schools: Teaching the Tragedies through Digital Gaming and Theatrical Performance

In this hands-on, project-based course, we will study the tragedies most frequently assigned in high school classrooms and consider how game-based methods of teaching (involving theatrical performance, creative play, as well as an actual digital game) can help to decolonize Shakespeare globally and in the U.S. In particular, we will think about how high school educators can use Shakespeare to address forms of violence that their students experience and that stem from longer histories of violence in the U.S.

We will engage with the theme of violence in Shakespeare's tragedies using the mixed-reality theater videogame Play the Knave, which was developed at UC Davis (https://playtheknave.org). After ?playtesting? lesson plans and assignments designed to engage high school learners in robust discussion of racial, gendered, and political violence, students in this course will assess the potential of these lessons for California high school learners.

How can plays written by a white man for a predominantly white audience 400 years ago help students of diverse backgrounds grapple with the violent realities of their own time and place? How can Shakespeare, an entrenched part of the core curriculum in high schools, be used to confront inequities in our education system and our society?

The course will be of particular interest to students contemplating careers in education (especially K-12 teaching), theater, and/or digital media and gaming. However, students need not have experience in any of these areas prior to taking the class.


Hamlet, Shakespeare
Macbeth, Shakespeare
Othello, Shakespeare
Romeo and Juliet, Shakespeare
Play the Knave (https://playtheknave.org), ModLab, UC Davis