Monday, February 25, 2008

Project Proposal

So I have been thinking, and i have been thinking a lot. I did not want to just rush out an idea without any research or without having thought it thoroughly through. So here comes my thesis idea - World Of Warcraft: A social commentary on contemporary American society concerning it self with popular culture, stereotypes and historic events.

Here is a little bit about the three major points of my thesis.

Popular culture: I think this is important if anybody would like to historically analyze world of warcraft in the future and what they could learn about the audience of world of warcraft if they were to look at all the hidden references to popular culture.

Here are some hints at popular culture from the game:

Character named Nikova Raskol (obviously represents Raskolnikov) one of the major characters in Fyodor Dostoevskys Crime and Punishment. There is also a quest named Crime and Punishment.

A barmaid (or perhaps a prostitute) in the Lower City (of Shattrath) is named Haris Pilton with her dog Tinkerbell - clearly a refernce to Paris Hilton and her cat tinkerbell.

These are just two of the countless examples (literally 100 references) of what people are into today...and amongst them: Paris Hilton gossip and russian literature. However, there is certainly more references to things such as films (Napolean Dynamite, Fight club), Music (Britney Spears, Eminem, Dead Kennedys, Pink Floyd), Literature (Shakespear, Whitman), Games (Lost Vikings, Zero Wing, Duke Nukem) and much much more.

Stereotypes: This is a short one here, although I would elaborate in the actual essay. Races in world of warcraft (humans, orcs, dwarves, tauren, etc) clearly represent human races and their respective stereotypes.

Dwarves for example speak with a thick Scottish accent and like to drink their brew.
Blood Elves represent the British and American stereotypes of arrogance and feelings of superiority with a hint of stupidity.
Tauren represent native Americans who live in the hilltops in tepees. They enjoy ancestor worship.
Humans represent Arthurian ideology of honor and chivalry. Etc.

(Before you grab a rope, I do not necessarily agree with any of these stereotypes I am just doing analysis).

Some of these stereotypes are funny, others outright offensive and politically incorrect. But they do serve an important purpose...people in the future could study American racial stereotypes from their representation in a video game.

Historic Events: Lastly is my views on historic events that are represented in the world of warcraft. There is a series of references to ideological and historic problems such as the holocaust (orc genocide by humans), the spanish inquisition (the scarlet's crusade violence), and disease/plague (the scourge).


Adam Johns said...

First, a terminology thing (everybody listen!).

A thesis, for an essay, is basically an argument. For instance: "I argue that both the designers of and gamers in WOW create a detailed, accurate representation of concentration camps in WOW, which is significant because [insert something brilliant here]."

What you're doing is more exploratory than that: you have three separate ideas, or even sets of ideas.

I'd strongly suggest that you don't plan on including all three in the final version, although you can certainly start to write about all three as a way of focusing. What you want is to develop these ideas into a clear thesis (argument): something interesting you want to claim, and presumably prove, about WOW.

What you have now is a range of topics, and a number of ideas which could generate a great thesis, but not the thesis itself.

Dan said...

Thank you for the comment, I'll start writing the paper tonight and I will most likely choose the argument about racial stereotypes...mixed in with the concentration camp example