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Digital Theater: Decolonizing Shakespeare in South African Schools
Speakers: Gina Bloom (UC Davis) with Lauren Bates (Vista Nova High School and Educasions, Cape Town).

This talk explores how the mixed reality game Play the Knave (which was developed at UC Davis, https://www.playtheknave.org/) is being used to decolonize Shakespeare in South African high schools. South Africa has been called the “most unequal country on the planet” and these inequalities are strikingly evident in the secondary school system. Our collaboration aims to engage South African high school students in digitally-mediated Shakespeare performance to tackle one of the major symptoms of inequality in South Africa: violence. In this paper, we discuss a curriculum we developed for using Play the Knave’s gaming technology to teach the Shakespeare plays most often assigned in high schools—the violent tragedies Othello, Hamlet, Romeo and Juliet, and Macbeth—connecting these to South African experiences and history. We contend that our curriculum can help address the psychological and emotional impact of violence on the country’s youth, contributing to sustained peace.

This is the second lecture in the Digital Shakespeares series organized by the Center for the Study of Media and Performance in collaboration with the Digital Humanities Initiative.

Apr 22, 2021 10:30 AM in Pacific Time (US and Canada)

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