Questions that Matter: PLAY: Games, Life, and Death

A series of public dialogues presented by the Institute for Humanities Research


Questions that Matter 03.01.16 from IHR on Vimeo.

This series brings together UC Santa Cruz scholars with community members to explore questions that matter to all of us. We invite you to join us on March 1, 2016 at the Kuumbwa Jazz Center.

Featuring: Kimberly Lau (Literature) and Noah Wardrip-Fruin (Computational Media)
Facilitated by: Nathaniel Deutsch (IHR Director)

Play is now, more than ever, serious business. The revolution in gaming has created new communities, identities, and careers. Games can now help detect early dementia and other cognitive deficits; they can reduce the pain felt by burn victims and speed recovery from concussions.; and they can keep our kids—and some of us too—entertained for hours and hours. What have we gained and what have we lost as a result of the ongoing “gamification of life”? Is play mainly about having fun? How will games help to shape the future and what it means to be a human being?

Please join us for an evening of conversation and connection as we explore questions that matter.

Kimberly Lau is Professor of Literature at UCSC where she teaches courses on virtual worlds, fairy tales, vampire narratives, and theories of gender, race, and sexuality. One of her ongoing research projects considers World of Warcraft, one of the most popular online games ever, in relation to masculinity and its subversions. She is the author of several books and articles, including “The Political Lives of Avatars: Play and Democracy in Virtual Worlds.” 

noah wardrip-fruinNoah Wardrip-Fruin is a Professor of Computational Media at UC Santa Cruz. He co-directs the Expressive Intelligence Studio, a technical and cultural research group focused on games and computational media. His projects have been presented by art venues such as the Guggenheim Museum and the Whitney Museum of American Art, as well as in games venues such as IndieCade and the Independent Games Festival, and featured in field-defining volumes. His most recent book is Expressive Processing: Digital Fictions, Computer Games, and Software Studies (2009).

Nathaniel Deutsch is a Professor in the Department of History at UC Santa Cruz, where he is also the Co-Director of the Center for Jewish Studies and the Director of the Institute for Humanities Research.

Tuesday, March 1
Kuumbwa Jazz Center

Tickets $10 include one complimentary drink

6pm wine and hors d’ oeuvres
7pm program starts



Questions: or
(831) 459-5655

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News Article: “‘Questions that Matter’: New public humanities series brings campus to community”



Questions That Matter

A public humanities series developed by UCSC Institute for Humanities Research (IHR) and the community of Santa Cruz. It will bring together in conversation two or more UC Santa Cruz scholars with community residents and students to explore questions that matter to all of us. The series is a part of a strategic initiative of the IHR to champion the role and value of the humanities in contemporary life. At the University of California Santa Cruz, we understand that the humanities are a crucial element of any first-rate liberal arts education. Indeed, what distinguishes the best universities in the United States is the fact that the humanities are an integral part of their core curriculum, along with the arts and sciences. The series is designed as a lecture and conversation, with plenty of time built in for participant questions and answers. The series will be in partnership with Bookshop Santa Cruz, the Santa Cruz Public Libraries, and the Kuumbwa Jazz Center.


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