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Ludus in Academia

2021-10-17 · última modificação 2021-10-17 18:35
In libris ludi
The theme ‘Ludus in Academia’ was chosen, firstly due to the fact that Tresoar, as a library, was born out of the library of the former Academy of Franeker (1585-1811). Academic libraries often contain unique and invaluable artefacts in the mind sports and board games field. For example, Tresoar possesses the only known copy of M.F. Dumars, Le Bridge. Règles et conseils pratiques, simplifiés et mis à la portée de tous. Another rare work found there is Il giuoco della dama all’ italiana by Luigi Avigliano. Next door, in the Leeuwarden / Ljouwert city archives, there is reference to the rhythmomachia game. This is the only place in the Netherlands where such a reference is found. We hope to present these artefacts to the participants of the BGS Colloquium.
We welcome papers that highlight the role of libraries in the Study of the History of board games. What manuscripts and rare books are there, hidden in ancient collections, and what do these tell us about the existence, development, popularity, and the rules of particular games?
Academia ludens
Secondly, we want to highlight the fact that Academies and Universities have always been a special kind of microcosm, where people from all over the world can meet, and challenge each other’s intellectual abilities. This not only holds true for interpretations of key world literature texts, secrets of the physical world, and enigmas of human behaviour, but also for games and sports. We know that the kolf game was popular at the University of Franeker, as it was in the rest of the Netherlands. However, the University also played a vital role in developing the unique mind sport of Frisian Draughts. This game spread from Franeker, to the neighbouring Frisian villages in the coastal region. From there, it recently returned to the town, and from there, it entered the worldwide digital community.
We will welcome papers that tell similar stories of games that were invented, modified, or gained sudden popularity in academic communities, and from there entered a new stage of their development. What role did universities play in the development and spread of board games?
Ludorum necnon ludentium studia
Thirdly, we want to call attention to academic studies of board games and mind sports. Because game-playing is an intrinsic part of behaviour and society, studying these games tells us something about human existence, and society. For example, games are developed to express certain group identities, this is the case with a number of Frisian ‘11 cities games’, but also with the formerly immensely popular game of boerekertet or ‘farmers’ happy families’.
Another branch of these studies isstudies, the scientific study of individual gamers, and their minds. What exactly happens inside the brain of someone who is involved in chess or draughts, be it on a professional or recreational level? What are we doing when we play? Neurologists all over the world (including the University of Groningen), have been addressing these questions for a number of years.
We would also welcome papers that present academic studies of games and game-playing. What do specific games tell us about values, traditions, inclusion,exclusion, gender roles, concepts of self, and identity? But games can also be used to influence society. How can games be used to implement, change or negotiate such values and concepts? And finally, what kind of insight can we expect from the neurological study of game-playing and game players?
The XXIVth Board Games Colloquium will be held from the 16 to 20 May 2022 at Tresoar, Frisian Centre for History and Culture. Participants will have ample opportunity to experience the beauties of Leeuwarden / Ljouwert, which was the European Capital of Culture in 2018. In addition, there will be a one-day excursion to the old university town of Franeker / Frjentsjer. Next to the regular programme, a number of public lectures for a more general public will be included in the Colloquium.
Organisation schedule:
  • October 2021 Call for papers
  • January 2022 Closing term for proposals
  • February 2022 Publication of the programme and start of registration
  • May 2022 Closing of registration