Toben Racicot, GI resident and English PhD student, will be attending the Mid-Atlantic Popular & American Culture Association conference in Baltimore, November 8-10. His paper, "Trauma and Demogorgons: Analyzing Dungeons & Dragons in Stranger Things", examines the impact that roleplaying games have in strengthening psychic protections in anticipation of future traumas.
When I first saw Stranger Things I was struck by the parallels between their D&D campaign and how they later negotiated the real-world traumas in their storylines. I started researching the connection between roleplaying and trauma, considering how Stranger Things models Freudian psychoanalytic theories.
Drawing from the psychoanalytic theories of repetition-compulsion, pre-traumatic stress syndrome, and the Fort-Da! game, Racicot examines the impact roleplaying has on the younger characters in Stranger things in their preparation and execution of coping with trauma.
In this paper, Racicot highlights how imagination, storytelling, and play for children helps to bolster their confidence and mental armatures. This paper is part of Racicot's ongoing research on the benefits of roleplaying games.
Check out Racicot's creative works here.