Maiya Xirinachs

2nd Place: Music, Art, Literature, Theater, History & Philosophy I Category

Title: "Playing with Old Norse: Early Nordic Medievalism and White Supremacy in the Gaming Industry"

Author: Maiya Xirinachs

Faculty Mentor(s): Timothy Miller and Carla Thomas

Maiya, on her experience in the English Honors Program:

My time in the Honors Program was one of the best parts of my undergraduate career, and I'm so grateful I had the opportunity to be a part of it! I was able to explore some of my favorite topics and hobbies, Medieval Literature and video games, in a way that blended them together and led me toward so many interesting avenues of research. I felt supported and challenged by peers and faculty alike, and loved the ability to not only dive into research that genuinely fascinates me, but also share what I learned with others and apply it to contemporary issues. This program helped shape me into a better writer and scholar and, as a result, I'm no longer as intimidated by graduate school as I was during my first semester at FAU; in fact, I have a much better idea of what to expect and I actually find this next step in my academic career incredibly exciting! Knowing I can make a difference through my writing and research, specifically dealing with subjects I genuinely love, means so much to me—and I'm incredibly grateful the Honors Program helped me realize this.

Abstract: The tremendous resurgence of Norse mythology within popular culture today—inspired by material gleaned largely from Snorri Sturluson's Prose Edda and the collection of poems found in the Poetic Edda—has appeared throughout many entertainment platforms, one of the most notable being the video game industry. While the popularity of Old Norse culture has greatly widened the scope of medievalesque fantasy realms to include historical accuracies of the Middle Ages, thanks to medieval scholars, the issue of racism and subsequent racial tensions cannot be ignored, in reality as well as virtual worlds. This analysis will explore the inspiration major video game titles have taken from Old Norse culture, as well as the regrettable but important connections these imagined realities have to the perversion of Old Norse symbols by white supremacists in the current political climate of the United States (and abroad). Playing with the Middle Ages is not just a game.

11th Annual Undergraduate Research Symposium | April 9 2021 | Florida Atlantic University

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