The Mechanics of Colonialism in Minecraft

Christine Lam

Hannah May

Ohana Turbak

Peter Mawhorter

We’re thankful to the Barbara Peterson Ruhlman ’54 Fund for Interdisciplinary Studies and the Mount Holyoke LYNK program for supporting this project.

Colonialism and Games

Screenshot of the Minecraft tile screen displaying the logo and buttons for “Singleplayer”, “Multiplayer”, “Minecraft Realms”, “Options”, and “Quit Game” 

The Minecraft title screen.


¹ Churchill, Ward, Fantasies of the Master Race edited by M. Annette Jaimes. Common Courage Press, 1992.

² Bogost, Ian, Persuasive Games. MIT Press, 2007.

Colonialist Myths

Accumulating Blocks

Terrain and Exploration

Mining coal blocks.  A map being filled in.  A skeleton monster.  Two villagers in a village. 

Clockwise from top left: 1. Mining coal; 2. A map being filled in;
3. A pair of villagers; 4. A skeleton monster.

³ Dooghan, Daniel, Digital Conquerors: Minecraft and the Apologetics of Neoliberalism. In Games and Culture v. 14, 2016.



Monsters and Illagers




⁴ Stegman, Erik and Phillips, Victoria F., Missing the Point: The Real Impact of Native Mascots and Team Names on American Indian and Alaska Native Youth. Center for American Progress, July 2014.