Wednesday, June 27, 2007

7th International Crossroads in Cultural Studies Conference "Of Sacred Crossroads"

Proposals are invited for PAPERS at the

7th International Crossroads in Cultural Studies Conference "Of Sacred Crossroads",

scheduled for July 3 to 7, 2008 in the Caribbean (University of the West Indies Kingston, Jamaica).

God games are digital simulation games that cast the player in the position of an entity with divine or supernatural powers and place them in charge of a game setting containing autonomous mortals to be guarded and influenced. These Games often adopt a bird's eye perspective, giving the player the impression that he or she is in charge of developing the virtual world. God Games and other virtual worlds create persistent, open-ended worlds that may even develop without the intervention of a player, whose interventions, however, appear as god-like, supernatural activities in the realm of the virtual gaming world. Examples of successful God Games are Little Computer People Project, Populous, The Sims, Black & White or the upcoming Spore. Today, many massive multiplayer virtual worlds, e.g. Second Life or World of Warcraft have also incorporated elements of these God Games. Here, the development of a computer generated virtual world interacts with the interventions from users who start to create their own content in order to change the virtual world. The following questions seem to be important to understand the cultural logic of God Games and their influence on virtual worlds:

Central questions:
- Can different categories of God Games be identified?
- Does this kind of games promote special kinds of religious activity and spirituality and how are real-life faiths, confessions, churches or sects related to these games?

- What kind of worlds can be created? Which norms, values and beliefs are suggested and supported in the virtual worlds of God Games?
- How are these worlds actually created by users?

- What motivates players to continuously populate these worlds for a long time?
- How do real-life moral or ethical values impinge on these worlds?

- How can the relationship between game world and real-life world be described? Do virtual worlds have an influence on real-life opinions or activities?

Also invited are papers that deal with religious digital games e.g. Eternal War: Shadows of Light or the understanding of religiosity in virtual communities.


- Please send an abstract of 150 words to both session organizers. Deadline: June 30th, 2007 -

Markus Wiemker
University of Technology
RWTH Aachen, Germany

Sven Jöckel
University of Technology
Ilmenau, Germany

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