This Blog

This blog is a companion to the Pox Hunter project, an NEH-funded digital game prototype currently under development.

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Dael Norwood, the primary author of this blog, is an early American historian, currently serving as an assistant professor at Binghamton University. In addition to work on the historiographical and pedagogical uses of games, public history, and the history of medicine, he writes on the global dimensions of politics, culture, and economics in the early United States.

The Pox Hunter project

Pox Hunter is an interactive 3d game that enables players to step into the shoes of a young physician who has arrived in Philadelphia in 1802, just as a smallpox outbreak erupts. Armed only with Edward Jenner’s new vaccination technique and a will to succeed personally and professionally, players undertake the grand challenge of using this new medical tool to stop the spread of the disease by persuading patients to be vaccinated. The interactive format immerses players in the city’s rich history as a political, intellectual, and commercial center, as they experience the choices made by historical actors and constrained by scientific knowledge and cultural values.

By producing a game that merges interactive play with a rich humanities narrative, Pox Hunter seeks to engage new audiences interested in scientific innovation and medical history. The prototype of Pox Hunter had its debut at the College of Physicians of Philadelphia’s Center for Education and Public Outreach in April 2016.

The principal investigator of the Pox Hunter project is Lisa RosnerDistinguished Professor of Historical Studies at Stockton University (twitter @burkeandhare). The project’s manager is John Theibault.

For more on the project, see the official press release here, and the project homepage, here.