Announcement: Issue 4 of The End of Austin Now Available

Photo by Randy Lewis

Photo by Randy Lewis

Welcome back to school, everyone! We’re thrilled that Spring 2014 has kicked off and we’re excited to start sharing news and views from the department once again.

What better way to begin the semester than with an announcement about a new issue of The End of Austin, one of the department’s flagship digital humanities projects? Issue number 4 contains photography, nonfiction essays, memoir, prose poetry, video, and more about topics from hitchhiking around town to this summer’s abortion rights protests at the Texas State Capitol.

This issue also features the work of two of our department members: Dr. Jeff Meikle and graduate student Susan Quesal

Go forth and take a look – and leave a comment if any of the articles pique your interest.

Recent Grad Research: “Choice: Texas”

Recent Ph.D. grad Carly Kocurek is collaborating on the development of an interactive fiction game addressing reproductive healthcare and abortion access in Texas. The game, titled “Choice: Texas” will be a free to play web game scheduled for release early next year. Currently, she and co-developer Allyson Whipple are fundraising through IndieGoGo to support development costs.  Here’s a description of the project from their IndieGoGo page:

Choice: Texas is an educational interactive fiction game which will be freely available on the web. Players will explore the game through one of several characters, each of whom reflects specific socioeconomic, geographic, and demographic factors impacting abortion access in Texas. Although billed as interactive fiction, Choice: Texas is based on extensive research into healthcare access, legal restrictions, geography, and demographics, and is reflective of the real circumstances facing women in the state.

Choice: Texas is being developed by Allyson Whipple (writer, editor, and poet) and Carly Kocurek (writer and cultural historian) with the help of illustrator Grace Jennings.

We are billing Choice: Texas as “a very serious game,” and we mean that. While the game is intended to be engaging, the issues it addresses are very serious. Women’s access to reproductive healthcare in Texas is significantly limited, a state of affairs that is especially true for women who are working class or poor, or who live in rural areas. One of the great strengths of games is that they can invite players to explore other people’s experiences; Choice: Texas is such a game, and asks players to seriously consider the plight of Texas women.

Choice: Texas has already gained some positive responses, including acceptance into the Future and Reality of Gaming (F.R.O.G.) 2013 Conference in Vienna. We will have a working prototype of the game prepared by the conference dates in late September, and look forward to completing the game by February 2014.

Carly and Allyson have already raised just over half of their goal, and have until 11:59 p.m. PT on September 18  to meet their goal. Check out their IndieGoGo here and follow their project blog here.