Luther College student researches the lives of French Huguenots

September 8, 2017

In 1685, hundreds of thousands of Huguenots were forced to flee France attempting to seek refuge in other countries. Karina Hoff, Luther College sophomore of Hortonville, Wisconsin, researched the lives of French Huguenots to create a game based in 17th and 18th century Europe for her summer research project at the college.

Hoff, the daughter of Barry and Lisa Hoff of Hortonville, is a 2016 graduate of Hortonville High School. She is majoring in computer science and Nordic studies at Luther.

“I have realized that we are not setting out to become experts on the subjects we’re researching. The goal is to learn about this time period, which we have little to no knowledge about at the start. We are successful when we attain a solid enough understanding for us to pass on our research for others to contemplate,” said Hoff.

Hoff worked with Maren Johnson, Luther assistant professor of Scandinavian studies, and Anne-Marine Feat, Luther associate professor of French, along with other Luther students on the project “The Stories We Tell.”

The group researched the European refugee crisis that occurred in the 17th and 18th centuries to create a micro “Reacting To The Past” game, in hopes of using it to engage students and the community in discussions about exile, resettlements and minority experiences. “Reacting To The Past” games consist of elaborate games, set in the past, during which students are given roles informed by historic texts and ideas. Individually, each student researched a different topic related to the game period, which meant gathering data from records as well as corresponding with Huguenot descendants in Denmark and other sources. This information was then brought together by the group to write character profiles to be used in the game.

They hope to present their findings and game at various regional conferences next year as well as in French and Nordic studies courses on campus in fall 2018.

The group’s collaboration is one of 26 summer student-faculty research projects funded through Luther’s College Scholars Program and Dean’s Office. The Student-Faculty Summer Research projects provide students an opportunity to research topics of interest alongside Luther faculty. This program is one of a wide selection of experiential learning opportunities at Luther intended to deepen the learning process and that are part of Luther’s academic core.

A national liberal arts college with an enrollment of 2,050, Luther offers an academic curriculum that leads to the Bachelor of Arts degree in more than 60 majors and pre-professional programs. For more information about Luther visit the college’s website: