Carnegie Mellon University

Grand Challenge First-Year Seminar: Culture, Sports, and Conflict and VR

Course Number: 66-131

Sports have been celebrated for bringing people together; yet, sports have also been a locus of tensions and conflict that most of us only experience from the sidelines. We understand sports, the people, and their cultural impact through the stories that we tell about them in such places as museums, stadium tours, and Halls of Fame, as well as in books, documentaries, and podcasts. Through immersive technologies, these stories are brought to life and bring fans to the heart of the action.

In this course, students and faculty together will seek to achieve two main objectives: (1) examine ways in which cultural and societal values are reflected in sports and (2) how Virtual Reality (VR) technology can help design experiences that enhance the users’ awareness of these issues by engaging with these cultural and societal perspectives. We will first unpack sports stories that are squarely situated at the crossroads of sports and culture(s) (e.g., racism, human rights, and the role of government and/in national politics). Then we will explore the role of VR technology to help craft these narratives. Students, then, will discover what it means to write stories for VR experiences. The course will culminate in students designing an immersive experience about a sports conflict of their choice, which will be developed more fully to be displayed in the Askwith Kenner Global Languages and Cultures Room.

Semester(s): Fall