• GreaterThanGames

    The GreaterThanGames Lab is an interdisciplinary initiative sponsored by the Franklin Humanities Institute at Duke University. We are focused on the productive intersection of transmedia applications, virtual worlds, and digital storytelling. More...

Reading 100 Plays at the Same Time: Encounters as Micro­networks in Literature

Zephyr Frank

Department of History
Stanford University

Wednesday, February 20, 2013
12:00 – 1:15PM
Smith Warehouse – Bay 4, C105 “Garage”

Erving Goffman used the language of theater, and a close analysis of what happens on stage, to generate a theory of social experience. This paper adopts Goffman’s approach, based on elementary “strips” of interaction, and repurposes it for the quantitative study of plays as micro-encounters that build into macro-structures. The encounter provides a computational signal and an interpretive concept in the “window,” an arbitrarily cut strip of a given number of speeches in a play. As the window moves through the play, a micro-network is built based on the speech-acts within the window’s range. While the overall network of a play can reveal something about a play’s social and dramatic structure, the window helps us capture, quantitatively, the basic units of social experience that go toward creating those larger structures. The window also allows for the comparison of many plays of varying length and structure, putting, for example, the Ancients, Shakespeare, Ibsen, and Brazilian playwrights together in a new analytical frame. Zephyr Frank is an Associate Professor of History at Stanford University, Director of the Spatial History Project, and the principal investigator for the Terrain of History project. He is also the director of CESTA. The Center for Spatial and Textual Analysis (CESTA), an interdisciplinary collective of labs operates independently of any one particular home department, and is organizationally housed within the Dean of Research at Stanford University.

Co-Sponsored by Information Science + Information Studies and the Triangle Digital Humanities Consortium

Comments No Comments »

The FHI GreaterThanGames Lab just successfully co-sponsored a regional Reacting to the Past conference January 19-20, 2013. Visiting Fellow Adeline Koh wrote up her experiences at a similar event for the Chronicle of Higher Education’s ProfHacker column – and we knew GTG had to experience this live role-playing game experience on site.

Conference participants learned about the RTTP pedagogy by engaging in intensive two-day workshops on particular games. In addition, plenary sessions will provide an opportunity to discuss issues related to teaching and learning, game mechanics, and the like.

We sponsored two games:

Defining a Nation: India on the Eve of Independence,1945

Frederick Douglass, Slavery, Abolitionism, and the Constitution: 1845


For more details about these games and the Duke event RTTP Event Description. See also the RTTP Reacting to the Past Storify (Twitter aggregation)

An additional goal for the GTG Lab was to think about how such real-world role-playing experiences might be translated into virtual or hybrid pedagogy forms. This came up as part of the onsite conversations. Koh is currently developing a game called Trading Races that she hopes to translate into digital form with the help of GTG’s Victoria Szabo and other partners.

Comments No Comments »

The GreaterThanGames Lab sponsored ARG, Speculation, was recently featured in Duke News. Check it out – and congratulations to the team!


Comments No Comments »


  • ISIS 170/COMPSCI 107/VMS 172: Artificial Life, Culture, and Evolution
    Nick Gessler
    TuTh 10:05 am – 1:00 pm in Perkins LINK Classroom TBA (includes lab time)
    STS, QS, SS
  • ISIS 240/AMI 325/VMS 288: Web-Based Multimedia Communications (hands-on lab)
    TuTh (Richard Lucic) 1:25 pm – 2:40 pm, W (Florian Wiencek) 1:40 pm – 4:10 pm
    in Social Sciences 229
    R, ALP, QS
  • ISIS 380: Digital Cities: Representing the Past and Building the Future Florian Wiencek
    Tu 1:40 pm – 4:10 pm in Smith Warehouse, Bay 12, Room 101
    R, STS, CZ
  • ISIS 495S: Research Capstone
    Victoria Szabo
    Tu 8:45 am – 11:20 am in Social Sciences 229
    R, SS

Detailed Descriptions: http://isis.duke.edu/undergraduate/courses/spring-2013-details

Independent Study Options:

  • ISIS 491: Independent Study
  • ISIS 493: ISIS Research Independent Study

contact Victoria Szabo for details on work with Digital Durham, Trading Races, and other opportunities


  • ISIS 650S/LIT 621S/ ARTHIST 537S/VMS 561S: Critical Studies in New Media
    Timothy Lenoir
    Th 3:05 pm – 5:35 pm in TBA
    R, STS, ALP, SS
  • ISIS 791: Individual Research in ISIS (Graduate) – work with GreaterThanGames Lab, Wired! Lab or other projects – contact individual instructors for opportunities

Detailed Descriptions: http://isis.duke.edu/graduate/courses/spring-2013

Comments No Comments »

Join Us!

Digital Pedagogy, Play, and Mass Collaboration
Monday, November 12, 2012 – 1:30pm – 3:00pm
Jesse Stommel and Pete Rorabaugh

Co-sponsored by GreaterThanGames, Information Science + Information Studies, and the PhD Lab in Digital Knowledge

Please join us for an event on MOOCs (Massively Open Online Courses) and play in education with Pete Rorabaugh (English, Georgia State University; @allistelling) and Jesse Stommel (English & Digital Humanities, Marylhurst University; @jessifer), editors of the journal Hybrid Pedagogy. Adeline Koh (Literature, Richard Stockton College & 2012-13 Humanities Writ Large Visiting Faculty Fellow) will moderate. We’ll be livestreaming the event on the FHI Youtube channel, and everyone is encouraged to watch and take part via the Twitterstream: hashtag #dukehp.

This summer Hybrid Pedagogy ran the experimental course, MOOC MOOC, a mini-MOOC, a meta-MOOC, a MOOC about MOOCs. The course was announced in the Hybrid Pedagogy article, “The March of the MOOCs: Monstrous Open Online Courses,” in which Jesse argues, “Content and learning are two separate things, often at odds… Most content is finite and contained; whereas, learning is chaotic and indeterminate. It’s relatively easy to create technological infrastructures to deliver content, harder to build relationships and learning communities to help mediate, inflect, and disrupt that content.”While institutions ponder how to make excursions into new media more efficient and profitable, the pedagogues at the digital table must push the other side of the envelope. We should be creating critical and reflective sandboxes that invite learners to set their own goals, make mistakes, collaborate, and improvise.

In Deep Play, Diane Ackerman writes, “We may think of play as optional, a casual activity. But play is fundamental to evolution” (4). George Dennison offers a similar account of play in The Lives of Children, in which he describes “children’s natural play” as “expansive and diverse, alternately intense and gay,” whereas more formal play (games with umpires, rules, etc.) becomes “strained and silent,” “serious,” and “uncomfortable” (195-196).

An attachment to outcomes discourages experimentation. In “Organic Writing and Digital Media: Seeds and Organs,” Pete argues that “process takes precedence over the product.” This talk will emphasize the ways that play can function not as a methodological approach toward a set of outcomes but as the outcome in and of itself. We will open a conversation about how social media and digital space make learning voracious and lively by inviting new (and often wild) modes of interaction.

Comments No Comments »

The GreaterThanGames Lab is sponsoring or co-sponsoring the following courses and other opportunities this Fall:


Independent Study Options (individual and group):
We will also offer opportunities for students to pursue independent study opportunities in connection with the following:

  • Two-four students to work on Digital Durham and Visualizing Venice augmented reality and mobile app digital city projects. The emphasis here will be on design and implementation, and could involve individual or group work. Half-or full-credit. Contact Victoria Szabo for more information.
  • Two-four students for a group independent study testing, analyzing and evaluating the Alternate Reality game Speculation. Contact Kate Hayles for more information.

Working Group:

  • Trading Races Game Development working group. Contact Adeline Koh for more information.

Workshops and Events:

  • Augmented Reality Authoring – October 26, 2012, 2-4pm, Smith Bay 11, Room A232


Comments No Comments »

Lab co-director Victoria Szabo talks about how video games are changing the world in Duke Today:



Comments No Comments »


ISIS 170: Artificial Life, Culture and Evolution. TTH 10:05-11:20 + TTH 11:45-1PM. Link Classroom 6. Nick Gessler.

ISIS 270S: Immersive Virtual Worlds. THU 6:30-8:45PM. Smith Warehouse 228. Mark McCahill.

ISIS 490S.02: Computational Cinematography TTH 1:25-2:40PM Smith Warehouse, C104. Michael Young.

ISIS 510S: How They Got Game. W 1:40-4:10PM. Smith Warehouse, C104. Tim Lenoir.

ISIS 555S: Physical Computing: The Internet of Things. W 10:05-1:55AM + W 12:00 – 12:50 PM. Link Classroom 6. Nick Gessler.

CompSci 290, Mobile Apps: Concept to Client. W 4:40-7:30PM. North 311.

Individual/Group Independent Study Opportunities:

ISIS 291.01: Digital Durham – work on developing augmented reality experiences in the Duke/Durham environment in collaboration with various campus and community entities. Also available as a .5 credit option.

ISIS 291.02: Mobile App Design – work on mobile app design for the Lab in coordination with the Computer Science class focused on the issue this Fall. Special interest in graphics and user interface design desired.

Comments No Comments »

Interested in an independent study for Spring 2012? Join us in creating “Speculation,” an Alternate Reality Game (ARG) meant to enhance financial literacy and reveal the consequences, through near-future fictional scenarios, of possible outcomes if a cultural change does not occur that values community over shareholder value, the environment over greed, and human lives over profits. The transmedia game “Speculation” enrolls the resources of a wide variety of real-world and virtual platforms to engage players in activities that, on the micro-scale of individual puzzles and problems, embody the dynamics that fueled the economic crash of 2008, and on the macro-level of the game as a whole, encourage insights into the game beyond the game—that is, the real-life dangers posed by corporate greed today and possible ways to contain and control it. We welcome undergrads interested in this topic to contribute to the game modules, which can be based in the real world, in virtual cyberspace, or in the mixed reality of the Layar browser.

If you like puzzles and games and are interested in finance capital, this is for you! Contact Katherine Hayles at katherine.hayles [at] duke.edu for more information and details on how to sign up for an independent study for Spring 2012.

Download flyer here.

Comments No Comments »

Wednesday evenings, 7:15-9:15PM, January 18 – April 25, 2012
GreaterThanGames Lab, Smith Wareshouse, Bay 4, Room C104
All are welcome, subject to space (see below) 

The GreaterThanGames lab is hosting a mobile app design and development workshop series  for Apple’s iPhone, iPad, and iPod Touch platforms. Sessions will be led by Chris Davis, an experienced mobile application developer. Victoria Szabo of the GTG lab will be hosting the group as a co-participant, and working with undergraduate and graduate students interested in taking the series for credit.

The aim of the workshop series is to teach absolute beginners–those who have never programmed–how to put together a simple app (experienced programmers also welcome!). By the end of the workshop, participants will

-Be able to develop, deploy, and test a basic prototype app,
-Gain a solid understanding of the app design and development lifecycle,
-Understand app design capabilities and constraints,
-Have developed a rich social mobile app that leverages the extensive capabilities of Apple’s iOS platform.

Sessions will be held weekly, with each session lasting two hours in length from 7:15-9:15pm on Wednesdays, beginning January 18. Sessions will take place in the GreaterThanGames Lab in Smith Warehouse, Bay 4, Room C104,  unless otherwise noted. Because learning in the workshop is cumulative, you will be expected to attend all sessions or review session video each week prior to the next week’s session.

Participants must have access to an Apple computer running the Snow Leopard (10.6) or Lion (10.7) versions of Mac OS X. Participants should own or have access to an iPhone, iPad, or iPod Touch. We will have a few computers and devices in class but you’ll want to bring yours each week. Recommended Text: Beginning iOS 5 Development by Mark, Nutting, LaMarche. (We will have a few copies around, but you might want to have your own, especially if you are taking the series for credit.)

Max number of participants is 15, with priority going to students taking the series for credit. Undergraduate students interested taking the series for credit should sign up for ISIS 195T with Szabo. Graduate students interested in taking the series for credit should sign up for ISIS 295T with Szabo. (You will need a permission number to sign up.)

Questions? Please contact Victoria Szabo at ves4@duke.edu. Know you are interested in signing up? Please fill out the Mobile App Design Tutorial Series Interest Form and we’ll be in contact soon!


Comments 1 Comment »