Corbitt, Alexander. “Collaborative worldbuilding”, Boston College, 2023. http://hdl.handle.net/2345/bc-ir:109697.
Role-playing games (RPGs) are storytelling games that employ character generation, improvisational acting, and rule-based interactions to build worlds and coauthor narratives. Contemporary education research identifies RPGs as robust examples of school-based and extra- academic literacy practices. As sites of narrative possibility and precarity, RPGs are political projects that can resist and reify hegemonic ideologies of race, gender, and power. In this three- paper dissertation, I build upon game studies and literacy scholarship to nuance the ways six youth participants coauthored worlds, negotiated storytelling practices, and (re)produced Whiteness. In Paper 1, I highlight a phenomenon I call “liminal play” – moments of gameplay wherein the boundaries between players, characters, and texts converge. My findings illustrate how liminal moments of play forward social and compositional dimensions of collaborative storytelling. In Paper 2, I leverage conversation analysis to detail how participants’ play-based talk oscillated across two participation frames: the game (i.e., their character roles) and the metagame (i.e., their player roles). My analysis examines the nested and contested processes of narrative negotiation inherent in RPG interactions. Finally, in Paper 3, I interrogate how participants’ worldbuilding practices resisted and reified White racialized ideology. Oriented by critical Whiteness studies, I unmask how participants and I privileged Whiteness despite our efforts to resist hegemonic Dungeons & Dragons lore.