What a way to learn!

Red Dead Redemption Is Being Used To Teach American History

Remember the excitement when your school teacher would wheel out an old dusty CRT TV? Watching an educational show was a great break away from typical lessons. Now, imagine instead of watching a documentary, you got to play Red Dead Redemption. That would never happen, right? Actually, it is happening at the University of Tennessee.

red dead redemption art
Credit: Rockstar Games

As noted by Gamespot, the Univerity of Tennessee has a new class titled “HIUS 383: Red Dead America”, created by History teacher Professor Tore Olsson. Both Red Dead Redemption and Red Dead Redemption 2 are being used for the class.

The course uses Rockstar’s games to highlight historical issues between 1899 and 1911. While Professor Olsson admits that the games are often “historically inaccurate”, they provide a sound basis for discussing issues like racism, colonialism, and the origins of capitalism. 

ADVERT
ADVERT

The Professor advertised his new class in a series of tweets:

Who says video games don’t belong in the classroom? I’m a history professor at @UTKnoxville. This fall, I’ll be teaching a new course titled ‘HIUS 383: Red Dead America,’ exploring the historical reality behind @RockstarGames’ series. What kinds of topics will we be exploring?

The professor then detailed what the course would cover, in terms of what and when:

ADVERT
ADVERT

Though often historically inaccurate, the games skillfully broach a number of crucial historical issues in the 1899-1911 period, such as: -The frontier mythology and its long afterlife -The expansion of monopoly capitalism and how railroads extended corporate power /2

While owning a console and a copy of Red Dead isn’t mandatory, Olsson assumes that most of his students will have played the games before.

The professor also hopes that the unconventional nature of the class will attract students from non-history majors, and could inspire other professors to consider a similar approach.

ADVERT
Arthur Morgan in RDR2
Credit: Rockstar Games

Professor Olsson has credited a fellow historian with the idea after Jonathan S. Jones wrote a Slate feature about Red Dead Redemption and how it allows players to explore the U.S.’s historical racism. 

Hopefully, this college course turns out to be a roaring success. I’m sure the world of academia will bask in envy at the fact these lucky students get to talk about video games in the classroom.

Shop With GameByte!

Don’t forget you can find some of these great games and more through the new GameByte Shop! The GameByte Shop is stocked up with the latest games, merch and accessories. We might even have a new-gen console or two! Sign up to our newsletter to be notified of our console drops. Please note the GameByte Shop is available for UK customers only.

ADVERT
ADVERT

Featured Image Credit: Rockstar Games