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Virtual Humanity: The Anthropology of Online Worlds

Virtual Humanity: The Anthropology of Online Worlds

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

The New York Academy of Sciences

Presented By

Presented by Science & the City


Online games offer immersive, three-dimensional worlds populated by thousands of characters who form intense relationships, functional economies, complex societies, and rich cultures. Often these virtual connections not only mimic real-world interactions but sometimes even supplant them. But just how far can virtual worlds take us?

For this third installment of our fall series, Science & the City is bringing together an anthropologist and an online game designer to discuss how our humanity shapes, and is shaped by, our virtual experiences.

Join Thomas M. Malaby of the University of Wisconsin–Milwaukee and Lee T. Guzofski of G2G Enterprises on November 9 for this timely discussion about the ways in which natural reality blends and blurs with the virtual reality of online games.

A reception will follow.

Registration Pricing

Student / Postdoc / Fellow Member:$15
Student / Postdoc / Fellow Nonmember:$20

This event is part of the Being Human in the 21st Century Series

One of the signature traits of being human is our quest to define what it means to "be human." But that definition is always changing—now perhaps more than ever. From virtual reality to mundane reality, science and technology continue to push the boundaries of human existence. In this series, Science & the City will examine what it means to be human in the 21st century.

Other upcoming events in this series:
System Overload: The Limits of Human Memory, September 6, 2011
Celluloid Science: Humanizing Life in the Lab, October 20, 2011
Familiar but Strange: Exploring our Relationship with Robots, December 5, 2011
Matchmaking in the Digital Age, February 15, 2012

Learn more about the series here.


Lee T. Guzofski

G2G Enterprises

Lee T. Guzofski is an online game designer and virtual entrepreneur. He began his career working as an investment banker and strategic consultant, but he's now moved his expertise into the online realms. His company, G2G Enterprises, Inc. is in the midst of developing a top-secret game that will challenge the ways that individuals relate their real and virtual worlds. He is deeply influenced by Joseph Campbell, Hunter S. Thompson, and the city of New Orleans.

Thomas M. Malaby, PhD
University of Wisconsin–Milwaukee

Thomas Malaby is Associate Professor in the Department of Anthropology at the University of Wisconsin–Milwaukee. He has published numerous works on virtual worlds, games, and indeterminacy. He is continually interested in the ever-changing relationships among institutions, unpredictability, and technology, especially as they are realized through games and game-like processes. Malaby's book, Making Virtual Worlds: Linden Lab and Second Life (2009, Cornell University Press), is an ethnographic examination of the Linden Lab and its creation, Second Life. Malaby is also a featured author at the blog Terra Nova.

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