JK26001 Research 1~3-Seminar (SEG/VMC)(Colloquium)

Numbering Code U-LET36 3JK26 SE36 Year/Term 2021 ・ Second semester
Number of Credits 2 Course Type Seminar
Target Year Target Student
Language English Day/Period Mon.3
Instructor name Bjorn-Ole Kamm (Graduate School of Letters Senior Lecturer)
Outline and Purpose of the Course *************
IMPORTANT: At least during October, this class will be offered in an online or hybrid format. Please check “Class support” or PandA for detailed information.

Research into (sub-) cultures, for example fan studies, often focuses either on content or on the communities of fandom, at times essentialising involved persons or drawing borders around things that are highly interconnected and dynamic. Cultural practices, however, are performative, meaning that they exist through “doing,” through recreating, tracing the network of involved human and also non-human elements.
With a focus on doing, transforming, and ordering, this course borrows from Wittgenstein, Foucault, Butler, Schatzki and Reckwitz but favours the heuristic device of the network: Practices are drawn as networks that have gained a certain durability that makes them recognisable for others with the consequence that they can be spoken about and be treated as a resource when doing the practice. A practice-as-network consists of interdependent material and non-material elements that encompass bodies, body parts, bodily movements, materials or things, practical knowledge or know-how/competences, and concepts/theoretical knowledge of the practice. Practices-as-networks are recursive: With each performance, the network is slightly reconfigured.
With the example practice-as-network often abridged as role-playing games, this course introduces students to a (trans-) cultural studies approach of practices, actors and processes.
Course Goals Building on a Wittgensteinian approach to cultural practices, students will acquire knowledge and skills in how developing a matching research design for studies sensitive to the role of actors and materials alike. They will be introduced to theories of agency, networks, and practices on a general level, and learn about their concrete application with the example of non-digital role-playing games, focusing on games in and from Japan but in a global context.
Schedule and Contents Course sessions will be held in accordance with the following general structure. A detailed plan for each class will be determined depending on the number of and the feedback from the participants, and will be announced in class. Student presentations may be organized as block sessions or as videos on demand followed by discussion.

The first sessions introduce students to actor, network, and practice theories as well as the case subject, role-playing games. Students will further be provided with guidelines for class preparation and exercises. Subsequent sessions look at the transcultural history of role-playing game practices, at game design theories, such as the Big Model, discussions about inclusion and exclusion among player groups, and detail tools for practice-oriented studies at home in the qualitative social sciences and engaging online as well as offline spheres of interaction.
Evaluation Methods and Policy Students will have much flexibility in gaining points through various tasks they need to fulfill during the semester, such as actively guiding the discussion, translating course material into their own understanding, or presenting a topic in class. Evaluation depends on the number of fulfilled quests.
Course Requirements 3rd year or above (3回生以降).
Study outside of Class (preparation and review) Regular homework as well as exercises will play an important role in this course. Participants need to prepare one reading before each class session and are asked to write short comprehension essays afterwards, both of which will require at least one hour. Participants present at least one topic in class, which also necessitates preparation out of class.
Textbooks Textbooks/References Shared Fantasy: Role-Playing Games as Social Worlds., Fine, Gary Alan. 1983. , (Chicago: University of Chicago Press.)
The Foucault Effect, Foucault, Michel. 1991., (Chicago: University of Chicago Press.)
Role-Playing Games of Japan: Transcultural Dynamics and Orderings, Kamm, Bjorn-Ole. 2020. , (New York: Palgrave Macmillan)
Reassembling the Social. An Introduction to Actor-Network-Theory, Latour, Bruno. 2005., (Oxford: Oxford University Press)
Complexities: Social Studies of Knowledge Practices, Law, John, and Annemarie Mol, eds. 2002., (Durham: Duke University Press)
Social Practices: A Wittgensteinian Approach to Human Activity and the Social, Schatzki, Theodore R. 1996., (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press)
Role-Playing Game Studies: Transmedia Foundations, Zagal, Jose Pablo, and Sebastian Deterding, eds. 2018, (New York: Routledge)
References, etc. The course materials as well as lecture slides will be made available via the course PandA webpage.