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IVANHOE is a pedagogical environment for interpreting textual and other cultural materials. It is designed to foster critical awareness of the methods and perspectives through which we understand and study humanities documents. An online collaborative playspace, IVANHOE exposes the indeterminacy of humanities texts to role-play and performative intervention by students at all levels.

While we often refer to IVANHOE as a “game,” it is important to understand that the concept has broader implications for humanities pedagogy and research, and that many modes of sophisticated, scholarly gamesmanship are possible in the IVANHOE environment. The “rules” of the game are up to its players and initiators. IVANHOE can foster both competitive and collaborative interaction, well suited to research and teaching.


No, really: what is IVANHOE?

In simple terms, IVANHOE is a digital space in which players take on alternate identities in order to collaborate in expanding and making changes to a “discourse field,” the documentary manifestation of a set of ideas that people want to investigate collaboratively.

Conceived at SpecLab and developed by ARP, IVANHOE was released to open-source developers under an Educational Community License in late 2006.



For more information about Ivanhoe, contact technologies@nines.org or Jerome McGann.



If you just want to play IVANHOE, sorry to disappoint you but the game is now offline. However, we would invite you to check out this site and get some free spins. Have fun!


Further reading:

Special Issue of Text Technology (12:2, 2003)
Johanna Drucker and Geoffrey Rockwell, Introduction: Reflections on the Ivanhoe Game
Jerome McGann, Texts in N-Dimensions and Interpretation in a New Key
Johanna Drucker, Designing Ivanhoe
Chandler Sansing, Building the Ivanhoe Game for Classroom Flexibility
Bethany Nowviskie, Subjectivity in the Ivanhoe Game: Visual and Computational Strategies
Geoffrey Rockwell, Serious Play at Hand: Is Gaming Serious Research in the Humanities?
Special “Innovations” Issue of Romantic Circles Pedagogy Commons (January 2005)
Jerome McGann, “Like Leaving the Nile”: IVANHOE, A User’s Manual
Jerome McGann, IVANHOE: Education in a New Key
Jerome McGann and Johanna Drucker, “Fare Thee Well!”: an IVANHOE Demonstration (Flash design by Laura Mandell)
SpecLab’s IVANHOE page