CUNY Graduate Center Seminar: The Hunger Games and the Instrumentalization of Play

CUNY Graduate Center

Seminars in the Humanities

Possible Worlds, Alternative Futures Seminar

The Hunger Games and the Instrumentalization of Play

Francesco Crocco

Thursday, September 13, 4:15pm 

Room 8301

Can play be involuntary? Can it contribute to alienation? Can it be the basis for dystopia? Join Francesco Crocco (Assistant Professor of English at the Borough of Manhattan Community College, CUNY) to discuss Suzanne Collins’ The Hunger Games and other dystopian films and texts in which play is used as a form of social control. This seminar will explore how these examples challenge existing theories about the nature of play and its relation to utopia. Though fictional, these examples point to similar uses of play today with the gamification of everyday life, a process in which game mechanics are exploited to condition certain desired behaviors (better test scores, more consumerism, greater workplace productivity, etc.). We will explore how these examples of fictional and real play complicate the theory of play put forward by  Johan Huizinga et al and challenge  Bernard Suits theory that play is the basis for utopia.

Click here to access readings and for further information about this seminar.

Free and open to the public. All events take place at The Graduate Center, CUNY, 365 Fifth Ave btwn 34th & 35th. The building and the venues are fully accessible. For more information please visit or call 212.817.2005 or e-mail

3 thoughts on “CUNY Graduate Center Seminar: The Hunger Games and the Instrumentalization of Play”

  1. This sounds SO GOOD. Wish I could be there. Will a transcript or video be available after the talk?

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