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‘Cultures of Virtual Worlds’ focus of event co-hosted by UC Irvine and Intel Research



Faculty and industry researchers, graduate students, designers and practitioners will gather to discuss how identities and communities are created through virtual worlds such as “Second Life” and multiplayer, online, role-playing games such as “Worlds of Warcraft.” Participants also will explore how gender, race and disabilities are depicted in virtual worlds, and panel discussions will cover issues such as friendship, love and sex as well as governance and inequality. Cultural anthropologist Mimi Ito, Intel anthropologist Genevieve Bell, UCI informatics professors Paul Dourish and Bonnie Nardi, Intel researcher Maria Bezaitis and UCI anthropologist Tom Boellstorff will lead the discussions. Thirty presentations are scheduled over the two-day event.
DATE: Friday, April 25, 2008
TIME: 8 a.m.-6 p.m. April 25; 9 a.m.-3 p.m. April 26
LOCATION: California Institute for Telecommunications and Information Technology (Calit2) Building, UCI campus.


The conference seeks to bring together scholars, developers and participants in virtual worlds to discuss the emerging cultures being created from a range of online communities. Event organizers theorize that virtual worlds can be studied by researchers in the fields of humanities and social sciences. The event is sponsored by Intel Research and UCI’s Department of Anthropology and Center for Ethnography. Boellstorff, one of the conference organizers, is the author of Coming of Age in Second Life: An Anthropologist Explores the Virtually Human. His is the first book to take a look at Second Life from a purely anthropological perspective.


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