Thesis Papers: Game’s Identity, History, Rules, Analysis, Personal Reactions and Summary Due dates throughout the quarter – see the Day-by-Day Calendar
Your research project this quarter will be to identify, analyze, and contextualize a particular Game OR Sport that was invented and played by 1945 or before. (This used to be set at before 1900 in prior versions of the course.) You must write a Final Paper containing your Game’s Identity, History, Rules, Analysis, Personal Reactions and Summary.
The Final Paper should be ABOUT 10 pages double-spaced, not including Bibliography, which is additional. The body of a typical 10 pages double-spaced paper averages 3000 words. Some have done well with slightly less than 3000 words and some use much more.3000 words (word count) is your “goal”.
You cannot pick one of the main games we are playing together during the course:
- ROYAL GAME of UR
- TRADITIONAL MODERN CHESS
- TEXAS HOLD ‘EM POKER
- BLACKJACK (21)
- GAVITT’S STOCK EXCHANGE
Instead, you may choose a game that has some relevance to your own cultural background or that is from a historical era that you find particularly interesting. You do not necessarilyneed to study the moment of a game’s origin. (For many games, this may be unknown.) Youshould select a particular historical era in which there is evidence of the game’s play andpopularity.
Please note: In prior versions of this course: Each paper had to be unique, that is, you could not choose the same game [as another student had chosen] in the same class section.
Now: As long as you chose individually, there may be some duplication allowed as long as you individually research and write your paper.
Regardless of the game you choose, your research should center on the following questions:
1) How was the game played? By whom? Where? In what circumstances?
2) Have clear layout of the rules. (You may use sources here)
- 3) Why was the game fun, interesting, compelling, challenging, or otherwise engaging for its players?
- 4) Why was the game culturally significant? What does the game and its popularity reveal about the society that produced and played it?
In order to answer these questions, you will need to:
Locate and analyze primary and secondary sources that provide information about the game, its rules and materials, its players, its historical context, and its evolution. For the final paper, you must use in a meaningful way a minimum of three primary sources (if possible), one of which must be the game itself. Photographs, accounts of the time, etc.
Play the Game
You will need to play the game on some regular basis and teach at least one other personhow to play. Your friends or family, roommates …
The game itself is an indispensable historical source. By playing and teaching the game, you will be in a position to try to understand its structure and appeal. What aspects of its rules and play may be thought of as culturally and historically significant? Throughout this course, we will be developing our skills in analyzing historical sources, in particular game rules and experiential qualities. This project will be your opportunity to put these skills to use.
This paper will describe the findings of your research and your experience in playing thegame. You will be attempting to understand what the game’s appeal and significance were inthe particular context of your investigation.
What to Do
There are several milestones throughout the quarter to keep you on track to completing this project:
Identification of Game and Context
By a to-be-determined date, you must identify the game and precise historical context that you will be researching for this project. If you choose to write about a Sport, you will have to narrow down your topic. American Football (NFL) [as an example], is too vast a subject. You need to narrow down Football to a particular era, team, player(s), controversy, Super Bowl, coach(es) – something to limit your paper’s scope – because otherwise you will be writing an entire book.
By a to-be-determined date your bibliography will identify the game and its era as well as two other relevant primary sources. You also need to identify the secondary sources you will drawon to help contextualize the game, including your source for the game’s rules if there is noprimary source available for them. The primary sources do not necessarily need to refer to the game itself, but they must be relevant to your discussion of it in the Final Paper.
If you want to submit a Draft of your Game Analysis and Annotated Bibliography you may do so before the Finalized Paper is due.
By this time, you will have played the game multiple times and taught at least one other person how to play it. In the paper, you will reflect on the structure and characteristics of the game and their possible relevance to the historical context. What characteristics might have made this game compelling to a particular group of people at a particular time?
Try to include Primary Sources – the easiest way to do this is to include photographs, pictures of your game or sport. Boards, Pieces, Cards, Diagrams, etc. You may get them from the internet from such places as Google Images or Yahoo Image Search – they do not have to be taken by you. Try to include at least 3.
It is recommended that you use MLA format citations.
For this you will finalize your sources and more fully investigate them, writing a brief descriptive and evaluative sentence or two (up to a paragraph) for each, informing the reader of the relevance, accuracy, and quality of the source. You only need footnoted references if you embed quotations in the body of your paper.
Combining your analysis of the game and that of the primary sources with your reading in secondary material, you will write a paper that sets forward your thesis and argument that answers the three central research questions.