“Monstrous Adventurers”: The racecraft of the Dungeons and Dragons imaginary

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This paper examines the use of racial categories within the tabletop roleplaying game ‘Dungeon’s and Dragons’ through the lens of racecraft as outlined by Karen and Barbara Fields. Examining D&D as an imaginary, I explore how its mechanics and fiction create categories of race through a process of profiling that produces sumptuary codes, perpetuates a racial hierarchy, invokes racialized accounts of biology, and constitutes a racialized gaze. Through stressing the continuity of this fictional account of race with real world racecraft, I analyze how the fiction of D&D fails to imagine beyond the condition of race. This fiction thereby operates as a mirror that reflects back to us the difficulties of thinking beyond such racial logics, reaffirming the need for continued critique and a reimagining of race.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)15-32
Number of pages18
JournalHoward Journal of Communications
Issue number1
Early online date24 Jul 2023
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2024

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