A Rice University class is using Skyrim to teach students about Norse mythology

Posted on October 20, 2012 - 8:20pm by Ryan Conway

A fascinating new junior level English Literature course has appeared on the Rice University schedule for next semester and its a class mythology buffs and gamers alike who are attending the private Texan university may be interested in signing up for. 

The new class is designed to teach students Scandinavian Norse mythology, while at the same time teaching them about the influence of fantasy within the gamer culture, and it does so by integrating a complete playthrough of Skyrim (or at least a semester’s worth) into their studies.
 
Don’t believe me? Here’s the full course description of Scandinavian Fantasy Worlds: Old Norse Sagas and Skyrim:
 
"This course has two goals. First, it introduces students to fantasy as both psychological concept and driving force in gamer culture; and second, using these paradigms, it considers how and why medieval Scandinavia serves as a locus of modern Anglo-American fantasy. To these ends, students will read selections from Old Norse and Old Icelandic sagas (in translation) as they play different quests within Skyrim."
 
"While the course begins by identifying moments of intersection between the worlds of the sagas and of Skyrim (inclement environments, supernatural figures, mythologies), the course is not in any means meant to map the former onto the latter. The purpose of establishing these connections is to then consider how elements of medieval Scandinavian culture have been taken out of historical milieu and literary context, morphed into unfamiliar shape, and appropriated towards other fantastic pursuits."
 
"We'll consider the political saga of Skyrim, with its emphasis on Empire and rebellion, as pursuits made possible by way of Scandinavia in order to think through what Scandinavian fantasy worlds are really about and why they resonate with contemporary Anglo-American culture."
 
I must say as someone who majored in English Literature; I think this class sounds educational and provides a sound excuse to use student loan money to feed one’s gaming habit. It’s quite the win/win predicament. *Sips tea* Yes quite. :P 
 

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