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Teaching the Global Middle Ages through Technology.

The Global Middle Ages is a concept that has been increasingly used since 9/11 to refer to the resolute move away from the traditionally deep Eurocentric entrenchment of the field of Medieval Studies. Today it is a well-established field of study that has expanded the conventional focus on medieval Europe to take also into account the cultural productions and material conditions of a number of different medieval empires and civilizations, and it explores the historical, economic, intellectual, religious, and cultural interactions and exchanges between those empires and Europe. Robert Moore suggests, in fact, that the concept of a Middle Ages is outdated, even in the West, and proposes inserting the period 500-1500 CE into a global history under the aegis of an 'Age of Global Intensification'. (1) Multidisciplinary projects and study groups proposing a world view of history have multiplied, including the Global Middle Ages Faculty Research Group at the University of Sydney, (2) the multi-university sponsored Global Middle Ages Project (3) web portal, the Oxford Centre for Global History, (4) and the journal The Medieval Globe, (5) to name just a few of the ventures seeking to view world cultures in synchronic and longue duree perspectives rather than in isolated, nationalistic terms.

The discipline of medieval French literature has been slower than other European languages or fields other than literature in adopting the global turn. There has been a greater resistance to the need for a critical gaze that looks outside the hexagon and beyond the persistent Eurocentric accounts of medieval French literary history. These accounts have long viewed medieval French literary production primarily in relation to the Latin, Celtic, and Provencal traditions, and neglected other lines of impact. And yet, recent research in the history of empires has highlighted the fact that throughout the Middle Ages, France had simultaneous, multiple interactions from all points of the compass. Medieval France entertained what we might call an 'inter-imperial' literary relation both with internal European traditions (Latin, Celtic, Provencal), as well as with extra-European cultures, and specifically with the Islamicate world. (6)

It is precisely to address the complicated notion of these medieval inter-imperial literary relations that we are resorting to technology and immersive reality. We suggest that video games offer a promising new strategy to deal with the question of cultural interactions and of the transmission of largely oral traditions compared with more conventional, written academic writings with their strict positivist conception of 'proof'. We are still in the initial stages of developing our videogame, tentatively entitled 'Tales in Crusader Cyprus'. Therefore, many questions regarding the way the game will be played and the specifics of the videogame player's experience cannot be fully answered here. This article will speak rather to the potential of videogames to respond to questions that have thus far been vexed and that may not be palatable except through technology. Before describing the key aspects of our game, it is important to contextualize first some of the core research questions that have motivated our project. As will become evident in what follows, this critical and historical background is necessary for the reader to fully grasp the value of digital platforms in exploring the global reach of the French Middle Ages.

I. Resisting the Past: Nationalism and Foundational Literatures

Even though French medievalists readily acknowledge the central role that Muslim scholars have played in the expansion of Greek sciences, medicine, mathematics, astronomy, or agriculture, and in their transmission to Western Europe, there is still a working assumption that French literature and culture were somehow segregated from the transmission of other material and scientific goods that travelled from Eastern to Western markets. There is also a lingering assumption that the Crusades were primarily a period of political and religious conflict and a paradigmatic example of a 'clash of civilizations', underscoring a scholarly investment in keeping empires separate, borders fixed, languages distinct, and cultures disconnected.

Still today, many established scholars of French, even those who are sensitive to ideas of cultural diversity and hybridity, remain sceptical of the idea that the Islamicate world played a foundational role in the medieval French literary tradition. At best, and even when conceding that such a role could have existed, many are dubious of its relevance to our understanding of any given Old French literary text. Doing medieval global literary Franco-Arabic research is still viewed, by some, as suspicious, as taking something away from French, rather than enriching and complicating our views of the history of Old French texts and anchoring them in their historicity.

II. The Challenges of 'Proof' in Pre-Modern and Oral Societies

After all, how can one provide definitive proof that texts, ideas, or cultural practices external to medieval Western, Christian, Europe circulated within and across European societies? How do we account for and map the permeability of border--linguistic, cultural, and aesthetic? Even though one can point to multiple potential vectors of movement including pilgrimage, crusade, merchant caravans, and itinerant performers, to name a few, it is more often than not impossible to identify specific moments and locations when stories moved from one location to the next. For the medieval period, this lack of data has historically been the cause of heated debates about questions of transmission and influence.

Because it is impossible to identify specific moments and locations of transfer, when a story moved from one place to another, some have remained sceptical of the existence of a 'global' Middle Ages, or of that of world systems before the modern era. The very story of medieval cross-cultural transmission and of literary and cultural interactions between medieval Islam and Christendom remains one that must always be argued for. R. Howard Bloch touches on the sticky question of origins in his work on fabliaux. As Bloch points out, early critics of the fabliaux saw the scandalous nature of the tales as proof of their decadent origin through Eastern tales. At the same time and paradoxically, he and other critics suggested that the fabliaux represented the essence of the 'esprit gallois'. As proof of this unlikely focus on origins, Bloch recounts the convoluted reasoning of Gaston Paris, who posited lost texts after an original lost text to make a chain from Sanskrit to Ancient Persian to Syriac to Arabic to Hebrew to Latin to French. Bloch concludes that focusing on the genetics of a story is to miss the point. He thus reads the fabliaux as uniquely French, using Paris's lack of a convincing and singular origin as a pretext for ignoring the question of interculturality and transmission altogether:
[E]ach link in the 'long caravan of tales' is undermined by the
vicissitudes of writing itself--the defects, dislocations, dispersions,
'corrections', erasures, misperceptions, and misplaced intention, the
imagined goals and hidden agendas of every individual poetic act. The
route from the Ganges to the Seine is thus filled with detours that
make every traveller on it the colleague of the jongleur of Ely, fellow
disruptors of the coherence of origin, identity, and destination. All
of which suggests as well that the essential relation in dealing with
the fabliaux is that of the poet to language and not the hopelessly
fragile link of a supposedly original (though often lost) source to a
final version. (7)


A fragile link, indeed, but what is at stake when we ignore it?

Questions of cultural indebtedness do not just pertain to the Middle Ages. They remain highly sensitive, as evidenced by remarks made by US Congressman Steve King (R-Iowa) in summer 2016 when he questioned what non-whites could have contributed to civilization. (8) Such observations and the insufficient reaction to them reveal the extent to which a particular (erroneous) view of Western European history remains entrenched in even some educated people's minds. The digital humanities project that we are developing and that we describe in this essay seeks to address these types of assumptions, mapping how and when cross-cultural contributions might have occurred over time and across political, religious, and linguistic spaces. While focusing on the medieval period, our project has important contemporary implications.

How did texts circulate between point A (Muslim societies) and point B (medieval Europe)? Did French authors personally know Arabic? If not, how could they have read or understood Arabic tales? What role did intermediaries play in the textual transmission of Arabic works? Answering these questions in an absolute or definitive way is not possible, as much of our historical knowledge is still missing, lost perhaps forever. Or more likely, the type of evidence we as literary critics are asked to produce simply does not exist. What literary scholars can do is point to the striking (at times exact) parallels between Arabic and French tales, to metaphorical, linguistic, and thematic elements in French texts that would be incomprehensible (or entirely misunderstood) if not for the lens offered by the Arabic linguistic, cultural, and literary tradition. We can highlight the permeability of geographic, political, linguistic, and cultural borders and remind our audience of the fact that throughout the Middle Ages, political boundaries, geographic borders, linguistic regions, and religious differences were not insurmountable. Borders--be they cultural, linguistic, historical, political, or geographic--were not elements of separation and division but rather fluid spaces of cross-cultural exchanges, of collaboration and adaptation.

Let us remember that medieval Europe had ample opportunities to learn about Arabic cultural traditions, including literature, from both direct and indirect interactions with Eastern markets and Muslim rulers. As Amer has shown elsewhere in her work on both the fable tradition and same-sex love in the Middle Ages, European knowledge of Arabic literature and social customs most likely took place through the same channels that ensured the transfer of scientific knowledge and commercial goods from the Islamicate world to Europe in the Middle Ages. (9) European familiarity with Arabic literature and traditions was gained either directly during Western diplomatic or economic dealings with the East or indirectly by hearsay from returning crusaders, pilgrims, travellers, and merchants. Westerners who came to live, trade, or conduct any sort of business in the Orient witnessed first-hand modes of living, cultural traditions, and customs different from their own; they heard stories told, poetry recited, and songs sung, all the while engaging in whatever commercial or political transactions they had come to accomplish. Upon their return, along with the material goods that they hauled in their carts, next to the silk cloth and precious stones they transported in their bags, they also carried ideas, stories, poems, tales, and varied new customs which they transmitted back home to their people.

III. Visualizing the Past in Immersive Environments

A serious videogame is an ideal way to test and visualize these theories of textual and cultural transmission. (10) It is one thing for a reader/learner to understand the challenges of medieval travel and exchange by reading accounts or watching a movie, but it is quite another for a video game player (11) to experience in an immersive fashion, that is from a first-person perspective, even in a speculative way, how storytelling and cultural interaction is affected by the audience and the environment. (12) Who told these stories and what did they gain from it? What sorts of changes might they have incorporated as they took into account their environment, the reactions of their listeners, and their locations in time and space?

Videogame players tend to create versions of themselves in their avatars (game personae) that share some of their core beliefs but that also allow them to take on other qualities and convictions. This 'projective identity', as Kurt Squire names it, is the in-game connection between the game player's real-world self and avatar's game-world self. (13) The game player has a high level of investment in this new identity due to the overlap with the real-world self and because of the effort put into crafting the game-world self, but since the avatar is expressly not exactly like the videogame player, the latter is able to take on new qualities and be open to new experiences. Games are also quite useful at teaching cultural situations and values. James Gee points out that learning the rules, that is, how to play the game, is no different from learning how to 'do' another academic subject, like biology. (14) Understanding the game system, and thus the culture it represents, emerges diachronically, through a process of choices and consequences linked to a sense of agency and a (virtual) body that seems to interact with its world.

In the case of medieval cultural interactions, a person who enters the game with a different body will have the chance to experience the new environment and potentially be ready to form novel impressions despite real-world pre-determined ideas about medieval cultures. Additionally, the user experiencing the game environment with a different body, language, or religion will have the ability to acquire a unique perspective and care more about his or her newly acquired perceptions having virtually been in someone else's shoes. In fact, studies have shown that game players who play pro-social games are more empathetic and experience less Schadenfreude than those who play neutral games (interestingly, the opposite is not true--playing antisocial games did not decrease empathy post-game). (15) Avatars can and do produce empathy.

Furthermore, serious video games have been shown to be highly effective with regard to language learning and acquisition of cultural competence. Even using off-the-shelf games that were not designed for learning, game players learned more quickly and retained vocabulary longer than non-game players. (16) When researchers used game engines to create content specifically targeted at learning, motivation and learning were significantly increased. (17) Case in point, the US Army adopted a video game for learning Arabic language and Iraqi culture that increased cultural effectiveness and sensitivity, and they extended use of the game to other critical languages. (18)

Given that medieval languages and cultures are no longer existent, virtual worlds offer the only way for us to experience the societies we study in an embodied way. Even better, we can change the algorithms of the game world to try to recreate what was very likely a different way of experiencing time and space. Recent work by scholars looking at perceptions in the past suggests that the meaning and experience of space and time was likely very different 1000 years ago, just as it is currently different across dissimilar cultures. (19) Studies suggest that in Western cultures perceptions of time and space changed radically about the time that linear perspective arose in artistic works. (20) Others point out the role of capitalism in the understanding of spatiality. (21) Given that both linear perspective and capitalism were unknown to medieval peoples, what did they see when they looked at their world? And how do we recreate their perspective for our game players?

In contrast to our own (modern and Western) view and categorization of time, medieval Westerners often tended to illustrate moments that occurred in the past, present, and future in the frame of a single illumination. Maps thus included drawings of biblical, historical and contemporary figures, all sharing the same two dimensional space, their lives collapsed into an always-present time. (22) Similarly, distances and landmasses were not measured to a modern sense of scale in medieval maps, though meaning can be induced from the relative sizes given to different areas and cities. Tenth-century Muslim mapmaker Ibn Hawqal put his society at the centre of the world and paid little heed to relative distances from the centre to the furthest reaches of his known world. (23)

Videogames, just like medieval maps, warp time and space to change the game player's perception of the world. Thomas Rowland has convincingly argued that medieval maps share many traits of video game maps, including the relationship between place and object, where time, distance, and proportion vacillate between being important and irrelevant. (24) The sense of past within the present is a game mechanic that could be leveraged to lend us greater understanding of medieval notions of time.

Familiar to those who play videogames, a minimap is employed to help the user navigate the immersive space. In our environment, this small map in the corner of the screen gives a view of nearby geography that fits with specific medieval notions of space. If the avatar is a Christian pilgrim, the orientation might always be toward Jerusalem (a common centre of medieval European maps), or if the user's persona is a ship's captain, the map gives general coastal locations, as medieval portolan charts marked important ports. When the user changes avatars to a Muslim character, the minimap reconfigures to fit the look of maps like Ibn Hawqal's. Within the environment itself, travel from place to place indicates the difficulties faced in medieval travel, with overland movement from point to point taking significant and proportionate time, depending on the method of transportation. Because earthly time was brief compared with medieval religious notions of eternal life, character dialogue conveys the quick passage of time on earth. The importance of the metaphysical in medieval life is reflected in sacred journey-quests that emphasize the uncertain length of time and interiority of the spiritual experience.

IV. Case Study: The Thousand and One Nights, East and West

In the videogame we still are in the process of developing, we selected a work with a journey-quest to map and explore cultural interactions between the Islamicate world and Western Europe in the Middle Ages. The literary work that we are focusing on is the Arabic tale of 'Prince Qamar al-Zaman and Princess Boudour' from the well-known collection of One Thousand and One Nights. More specifically, we are modelling how elements of this tale could have circulated between East and West via the Lusignan court at the crusader kingdom of Cyprus circa 1194. While we may never have all the versions of how this story changed as it moved from one culture to the next, we can find the smoking gun as it were--places, times, and persons that we know participated in the exchange of objects, texts, and people. By making these moments visible we can test theories and vectors of transmission.

The One Thousand and One Nights tale of 'Prince Qamar al-Zaman and Princess Boudour' (25) is an especially apt choice here because of the multiple parallel narrative patterns and tropes shared with Old French romances Floire et Blanchefleur, (26) L 'Escoufle, (27) the renditions of the story of Yde and Olive (in the verse epic Huon de Bordeaux, (28) and the mystery play Miracle de la fille d'un roi.) (29) At first reading, all these tales appear to be modern love stories but they quickly challenge our understanding and assumptions about love and gender identity in the Middle Ages.

In the Arabic tale, Princess Boudour, once separated from her husband, Qamar al-Zaman, dresses as a man and becomes a valiant knight in the service of a nearby kingdom. In compensation for her courage, she is given the king's daughter, Hayat al-Noufous, as a wife, which provokes understandable concern about what might happen when her biological sex is inevitably discovered in the marriage bed. After several attempts at hiding her biological sex from her wife, Boudour tells her story to Hayat al-Noufous who promises to keep her secret. The tale recounts in some detail and in sexually ambiguous language how the two women then spend many nights in happiness and blissful embrace, until Boudour is reunited with her lost husband. Once Qamar al-Zaman re-enters the tale, he not only resumes his marriage with Boudour, but he also takes on Hayat al-Noufous as second wife, and the three of them, we are told, live together happily.

All of these scenes and themes from the Arabic tale appear in one way or another in various French verse and prose romances and plays from the thirteenth to the fifteenth century. In the story of Yde (named also Ysabel in other renditions) and Olive, Princess Yde's mother dies in childbirth, and her grief-stricken father, King Florent of Aragon, decides to marry his daughter since of all women she most resembles her late mother. Horrified, Yde flees this incestuous plan by cross-dressing as a man. She becomes a successful knight under the king of Rome, and her reward is to be married to the king's own daughter, Olive. After the wedding, Yde feels she must tell her wife the truth, and as she does she is overheard and the two women are denounced. The king of Rome stages a dramatic unveiling, but an angel transforms Yde into a man just as she removes her clothing. The Miracle de la fille d'un roy is a later dramatic version of the same story. In this play, the dramatic unveiling takes place through the timely magical and divine intervention of God who changes the female character's sex into a man. The transformation is temporary, however, and in the end both women are married to other men.

The story of Floire and Blanchefleur involves cross-dressing by Blanchefleur as she runs from Floire's father, who disapproves of their love and means to have her killed. Blanchefleur is sold to a harem, and Floire dresses as a merchant (but still a man) to travel safely to find her. When he locates her, he sneaks into the harem and is mistaken for a girl for some time until the ruse is uncovered. The pagan king brings Floire and Blanchefleur to trial and the audience is amazed at how similar the two look and how easily Floire can pass as a girl. While God does not intervene directly, when the king sees the depth of their love and self-sacrifice, he pardons the two and they marry.

In L 'Escoufle, once again fleeing angry parents who do not approve of their union, a couple is separated by chance. Aelis, the female protagonist, establishes another life for herself, living as a successful businesswoman in Montpellier with a new female friend, Ysabel. Coded references in the text point to an eroticism between the two women, though when Guillaume, Aelis's lost male lover, is finally reunited with his beloved, seven years later, the two marry and the romance officially ends with the return to heteronormativity.

All these French texts thus follow similar and unconventional paths: a heterosexual couple is separated due to societal norms; the man and the woman are apart for a period of time during which one of them passes for the opposite sex; the woman forms an erotic or suggestive relationship with another woman; eventually the situation is 'set right' either by the reintroduction of the male figure or by a divine intervention and the transformation of one of the women into a man.

Far from reducing the French texts to mimetic translations of the Arabic stories, it remains impossible to explain away these striking parallels without invoking cross-cultural resonances and textual transmission. Furthermore, these resonances only make sense; these stories were all told and retold at a time when Eastern and Western cultures were in constant contact, particularly in and around the Crusader kingdoms and the courts of Sicily and Cyprus. Our 3D environment provides a visualization of the transmission and reception of some of the unique elements of the Arabic tale in medieval France, especially the (fe)male itinerant knight in search of her husband, the cross-dressing, the mistaken gender identity, the same-sex marriage, and the public unveiling of the cross-dressed character's true gender.

V. Geographies and Temporalities

For the simulation to be successful, it was necessary to select a time and location where we know with great certainty, from multiple sources, that significant cross-cultural interactions occurred. In our case, we decided to situate our immersive environment on the island of Cyprus circa 1194. This choice is not random. With its strategic location in the Mediterranean at the confluence of the land and sea routes of the Silk Road, Cyprus served as a crossroads between East and West in the Middle Ages. The area was home to Arabs, Jews, and Eastern and Western Christians. Crusaders, pilgrims, soldiers, and merchants from the Far East, Europe, Muslim states, and Byzantium mingled on the island before heading in disparate directions, leaving behind a legacy that augmented an already rich cultural layering of Phoenician, ancient Greek, and later Roman civilizations. While it began largely as a stopping off place, a port of call on the way to or from another more important destination, by the twelfth century the island was an independent nation made up of a variety of Mediterranean peoples with several active ports connecting East and West. Despite their disparate backgrounds, the Cypriots lived together on this relatively small island for centuries. Scholars of art history, architecture, archaeology, and history have looked at this multicultural space, establishing moments of contact and exchange using artefacts of architecture and art history. (30) We are extending their work using data gathered from literary works, and populating our virtual environment with the art and artefacts these scholars have shown to be shared between cultures.

VI. Factors in Medieval Textual Transmission

Medieval textual transmission is not solely due to cross-cultural factors, but also depends upon intellectual, economic, and/or political reasons. We know for instance that in the medieval period, stories were often changed slightly to please patrons, who paid for the stories. Travelling minstrels would insert the names of local lords or knights into the story, likely to increase eventual payment at the end of the evening. Stories might also be set in more familiar or more exotic geographical locations to engross and tantalize their audience. More dramatic changes could find their way in via mistakes in translation or misunderstandings of stories that passed from one court to the next. Some scribes and minstrels enjoyed changing tales drastically in order to leave their own mark. All these factors are important and must also be taken into account. Nevertheless, we place a greater emphasis on cross-cultural and cross-linguistic transmission because these often remain overlooked in much medieval scholarship.

Within the 3D environment we are in the process of creating, videogame players will experience the multicultural and multilingual Lusignan court and its environs. They will be asked to make small decisions that will ultimately result in changes, sometimes dramatic, in the final tale. If, for example, the story is heard directly in the marketplace from a travelling merchant who heard it in a Seljuk court, it undergoes a different set of changes than if the user encourages the merchant to tell the story to a Cypriot Jew first because he understands both Arabic and French and is later asked to translate it for the court of Hugh of Lusignan. We are testing political, cultural, and economic reasons for textual change, as well as common errors in transmission.

By illustrating just a few of the factors that influence storytelling and cultural interaction, we have two audiences in mind. The first is someone who may not have ever considered how much cultural interchange can happen in simple storytelling. As the user makes choices, he or she sees and experiences directly the storytelling environment, becoming an agent in the creation process. Our second audience is the researcher who, while being abstractly aware of all of these factors, may not see the potential impact of textual manipulation on a story important to his or her research. For instance, if a medieval minstrel thought a particular story from the East would appeal to a French court, it could have been because there were certain shared political or social values. Or, perhaps, because s/he thought such a story would enchant her/his medieval audience and merit good compensation. Or, perhaps still, because s/he wanted to exploit, for benefit, existing feelings of attraction and anxieties. By working through these possibilities in an immersive environment, researchers will see new connections, explore the socio-cultural and political functions of stories, and consider the global nature of the movement of ideas and interchanges in other texts. Visualizations in an immersive environment have the power to help users understand and manipulate data better and retain the knowledge that they gain longer. (31)

VII. Living in the Present-Past: Conclusions and the Way Forward

Videogames allow humanists to work with colleagues and students to tailor immersive environments to make the past more accessible than ever. (32) With their user-friendly interfaces, these game engines can be used by non-professionals, including humanities professors and their students. The stakes of an immersive exploration of the multicultural past are high. European medieval studies have suffered from a lack of acknowledgment of the multicultural environment that prevailed throughout the West, leaving the field vulnerable to appropriation by white nationalists and racists who wish to see the Middle Ages as a touchstone for an imagined culturally pure heritage. (33) Virtual worlds allow for embodiment and immediate experience of other cultures, even those far in the past, and the possibility of provoking cultural understanding and empathy. Technology may serve to help us teach global medieval studies ethically, in more effective and more accurate ways than ever before--and not a moment too soon.

University of Sydney and Vanderbilt University

(1) Robert I. Moore, 'A Global Middle Ages?', in The Prospect of Global History, ed. by James Belich and others (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2016), pp. 80-92 (p. 91).

(2) To visit the Global Middle Ages initiative at the University of Sydney, go to: <http://sydney.edu.au/arts/research/global_middle_ages/>.

(3) 'About GMAP | GLOBAL MIDDLE AGES' <http://globalmiddleages.org/about> [accessed 11 September 2017].

(4) 'The "Global" Middle Ages | Oxford Centre for Global History' <http://global.history.ox.ac.uk/?page_id=663> [accessed 11 September 2017].

(5) 'The Medieval Globe', Arc Humanities Press (blog) <https://arc-humanities.org/our-series/arc/tmg/> [accessed 11 September 2017].

(6) The term 'inter-imperiality' was coined by Laura Doyle, 'Inter-Imperiality: Dialectics in Postcolonial World History', Interventions, 16.2 (2014), 159-96.

(7) R. Howard Bloch, The Scandal of the Fabliaux (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1986), p. 21.

(8) Daniel Victor, 'What, Congressman Steve King Asks, Have Nonwhites Done for Civilization?', New York Times, 18 July 2016 <http://www.nytimes.com/2016/07/19/us/politics/steve-king-nonwhite-subgroups.html> [accessed 19 July 2016].

(9) Sahar Amer, Crossing Borders: Love Between Women in Medieval French and Arabic Literatures (Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 2008); Sahar Amer, Esope au feminin: Marie de France et la politique de l'interculturalite (Amsterdam: Rodopi, 1999).

(10) By 'serious videogame' we mean an educational game, a videogame that aims to achieve goals beyond pure entertainment. In our case, our videogame aims to teach about the global Middle Ages and the circulation of tales from East to West.

(11) Due to a justifiable reticence to use the term 'gamer' to refer to those using this software, we have opted for the term 'video game player'. Particularly following the Gamergate controversy of 2014, the use of the term 'gamer' has been rejected by some who do not identify with the stereotypical 'gamer'--a young, conservative, white male who plays first person shooter games. Even those who fit that stereotype are often repulsed by the sexist and homophobic atmosphere that can inhabit the chat room culture of online gaming. We are appreciative to a reviewer who reminded us of the negative connotations of the term 'gamer'. 'User' is a term that is also accurate in our work; some prefer not to see these educational environments as 'games' in order to focus on the serious lessons that can be learned. On the use of these terms, see Alison Harvey, Gender, Age, and Digital Games in the Domestic Context (London: Routledge, 2015).

(12) An immersive environment is one encountered while playing 3D games. These are videogames where the user experiences the environment as a 3D one, rather than a 2D one. S/he participates in the game as if s/he was fully immersed in it. Such games require simply access to a computer with reasonable memory and an adequate video card for a better viewing and playing experience.

(13) Kurt Squire and Henry Jenkins, Video Games and Learning: Teaching and Participatory Culture in the Digital Age (New York: Teachers College Press, 2011), pp. 62-63.

(14) James Paul Gee, Good Video Games and Good Learning: Collected Essays on Video Games, Learning, and Literacy (New York: Peter Lang, 2007), p. 4.

(15) Tobias Greitemeyer, Silvia Osswald, and Markus Brauer, 'Playing Prosocial Video Games Increases Empathy and Decreases Schadenfreude', Emotion, 10.6 (2010), 796-802 (p. 799).

(16) Claire Ikumi Hitosugi, Matthew Schmidt, and Kentaro Hayashi, 'Digital Game-Based Learning (DGBL) in the L2 Classroom: The Impact of the UN's Off-the-Shelf Videogame, Food Force, on Learner Affect and Vocabulary Retention', CALICO Journal, 31.1 (2014), 19-39.

(17) W. Lewis Johnson, Hannes Vilhjalmsson, and Stacy Marsella, 'Serious Games for Language Learning: How Much Game, How Much AI?', in Proceedings of the 2005 Conference on Artificial Intelligence in Education: Supporting Learning through Intelligent and Socially Informed Technology, ed. by Chee-Kit Looi and others (Amsterdam: IOS Press, 2005) pp. 306-13.

(18) W. Lewis Johnson and Andre Valente, 'Tactical Language and Culture Training Systems: Using Artificial Intelligence to Teach Foreign Languages and Cultures', AI Magazine, 30.2 (2009), 72-83.

(19) Aleksandar Janca and Clothilde Bullen, 'The Aboriginal Concept of Time and Its Mental Health Implications', Australasian Psychiatry, 11.1 (2003), S40-S44.

(20) Robert T. Tally, Jr, Spatiality, The New Critical Idiom (New York: Routledge, 2013); Leonard Goldstein, The Social and Cultural Roots of Linear Perspective (Minneapolis: MEP Publications, 1988); Fanny Madeline, Space in the Medieval West: Places, Territories, and Imagined Geographies, ed. by Meredith Cohen (Farnham: Routledge, 2014).

(21) For an overview of the history of spatial studies, see Tally, Spatiality, p. 75.

(22) The fourteenth-century Catalan Atlas simultaneously includes the Queen of Sheba, the three wise men, and the Great Khan from vastly disparate eras (Old Testament, New Testament, and thirteenth century). Abraham Cresques, 'Mapamondi. Image 4', Library of Congress <https://www.loc.gov/resource/g3200m.gct00215/> [accessed 14 August 2015].

(23) See his map and an English translation at 'Ibn Hawqal', Wikipedia, 2017 <https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Ibn_Hawqal&oldid=809269064> [accessed 11 November 2017].

(24) Thomas Rowland, 'We Will Travel by Map: Maps as Narrative Spaces in Video Games and Medieval Texts', in Digital Gaming Re-Imagines the Middle Ages, ed. by Daniel Kline (New York: Routledge, 2014), pp. 189-201 (pp. 198-200).

(25) Though the story is found in the earliest Syrian manuscripts, it was not complete and thus not included in the otherwise excellent The Arabian Nights, ed. by Muhsin Mahdi, trans. by Husain Haddawy (New York: Norton, 2008). The tale can be found in The Arabian Nights: Tales of 1001 Nights, ed. by Robert Irwin, trans. by Malcolm C. Lyons and Ursula Lyons, 3 vols (London: Penguin, 2010), 1, 693-831.

(26) Robert D'Orbigny and Jean-Luc Leclanche, Le Conte de Floire et Blanchefleur (Paris: Honore Champion, 2003).

(27) Jean Renart, L'Escoufle (Paris: Honore Champion, 1991).

(28) Huon de Bordeaux, ed. by William W. Kibler, trans. by Francois Suard (Paris: Slatkine, 2003).

(29) 'Miracle de la fille d'un roy', in Miracles de Nostre Dame par personnages, ed. by Gaston Paris and Ulysse Robert (Paris: Didot, 1883; repr. New York: Johnson Reprint, 1966), pp. 2-117; the parallels and intertextual resonances in all these works have been explored at length in Amer, Crossing Borders.

(30) Justine Andrews, 'Gothic and Byzantine in the Monumental Arts of Famagusta: Diversity, Permeability and Power', in Medieval and Renaissance Famagusta: Studies in Architecture, Art and History, ed. by Nicholas Coureas, Peter Edbury, and Michael J. K. Walsh (Farnham: Ashgate, 2012), pp. 148-66; Justine Andrews, 'Conveyance and Convergence: Visual Culture in Medieval Cyprus', Medieval Encounters, 18 (2012), 413-46; Asinou Across Time: Studies in the Architecture and Murals of the Panagia Phorbiotissa, Cyprus, ed. by Annemarie Weyl Carr and Andreas Nicolaides (Washington, DC: Dumbarton Oaks, 2012); Cyprus: Society and Culture 1191-1374, ed. by Angel Nicolaou-Konnari and Chris Schabel (Leiden: Brill, 2005); Medieval Cyprus: A Place of Cultural Encounter, ed. by Sabine Rogge and Michael Grunbart (Munster: Waxmann, 2015); Cyprus and the Balance of Empires: Art and Archaeology from Justinian I to the Coeur de Lion, ed. by Charles Anthony Stewart, Thomas W. Davis, and Annemarie Weyl Carr (Boston, MA: American Schools of Oriental Research, 2014).

(31) C. Donalek and others, 'Immersive and Collaborative Data Visualization Using Virtual Reality Platforms', in 2014 IEEE International Conference on Big Data (BigData) (n.p.: IEEE, 2014), pp. 609-14 (p. 609).

(32) Lynn Ramey and Steven Wenz, 'Immersive Environments for Medieval Languages: Theory and Practice', South Atlantic Review, 81.2 (2016), 93-111; Lynn Ramey and Rebecca Panter, 'Collaborative Storytelling in Unity3D: Creating Scalable Long-Term Projects for Humanists', in Interactive Storytelling, ed. by H. Schoenau-Fog and others, ICIDS 2015, Lecture Notes in Computer Science, 9445 (Berlin: Springer, 2015), pp. 357-60.

(33) Josephine Livingstone, 'Racism, Medievalism, and the White Supremacists of Charlottesville', The New Republic, 15 August 2017 <https://newrepublic.com/article/144320/racism-medievalism-white-supremacists-charlottesville> [accessed 20 October 2017]. For a parallel example of the appropriation of an earlier historical period within a video game world, see <https://www.forbes.com/forbes/welcome/?toURL=https://www.forbes.com/sites/drsarahbond/2017/04/27/whitewashing-ancient-statues-whiteness-racism-and-color-in-the-ancient-world/&refURL=https://www.facebook.com/&referrer=https://www.facebook.com/#7bea905775ad>.
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Author:Amer, Sahar; Ramey, Lynn
Publication:Parergon
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Geographic Code:4E
Date:Jul 1, 2018
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