"henry jenkins"

Can we change our politics with science fiction? A conversation with the How Do You Like It So Far podcast

Henry Jenkins (previously) is the preeminent scholar of fandom and culture; Colin Maclay is a communications researcher with a background in tech policy; on the latest episode of their "How Do You Like It So Far" podcast (MP3), we had a long discussion about a theory of change based on political work and science fictional storytelling, in which helping people imagine a better world (or warn them about a worse one) is a springboard to mobilizing political action. Read the rest

MIT's Futures of Entertainment conference, Nov 9/10

Sam from MIT sez, "This 2-day conference at MIT brings together 50 leading thinkers about innovation in the media and marketing industries. Issues tackled include the importance of listening to their audiences and putting yourself in their shoes; the politics and ethics of curation in a spreadable media world; the move from "participatory culture" to "political participation," curing "the shiny new object syndrome" of putting the hype of new platforms over storytelling strategy, and rethinking copyright for today's world. The conference also includes particular looks into the futures of video gaming, the futures of public media, and the futures of storytelling in sports. Speakers include T Bone Burnett, Henry Jenkins, Maria Popova, Grant McCracken, Jason Falls, Valve Software's Yanis Varoufakis, PBS FRONTLINE's Andrew Golis, Google Creative Lab Director Ben Malbon, Xbox co-founder Ed Fries, AT&T AdWorks Lab Director David Polinchock, the creators of 30 Mosques in 30 Days, and USC Annenberg Inno vation Lab Director Jon Taplin. Also, there's a pre-conference event Thursday evening, Nov. 8, on 'New Media in West Africa,' moderated by mobile entertainment founder Ralph Simon and featuring the Harvard Berkman Center's Colin Maclay, artist Derrick Ashong, and iROKOtv's Fadzi Makanda."

Futures of Entertainment 6 | November 9-10, 2012 MIT, Cambridge MA

(Thanks, Sam!) Read the rest

Grad theses from MIT's Comparative Media Studies program

Nick sez,

This year's graduate theses from MIT's Comparative Media Studies (the last class to work with Henry Jenkins before he moved to USC) are now online. Topics include:

-undergraduate female gamers at MIT -an alternate reality game based on The Count of Monte Cristo -TV ratings after digital distribution -the history of player pianos -Twilight anti-fans -live mobile video -and more!

Graduate Student Theses Titles 2010

Theses from MIT's Comparative Media Studies program Vidgame for blind and sighted players Read the rest

Chimerical Avatars and Other Identity Experiments from Prof. Fox Harrell

After spending his youth happily playing computer and table-top role-playing games as pale-grey-skinned elves with long, straight, silver hair (usually over one eye), or "forcing African-coifed robot pilots into the anime world of Macross," Fox Harrell says he started wanting to play characters that expressed and presented themselves in ways that captured his real world cultural values, though still set in those same fantasy worlds.

That hasn't always come easily. I asked Fox, a computer scientist and literary artist, for some examples. Read the rest

Reducing the World's Suck with Henry Jenkins

Photo: Deney Terrio

USC Professor Henry Jenkins is a hard-core fan with hard-core fans.

I should know. I'm one of the audience members who stalked him at a conference a few years ago after his keynote, hoping to have a conversation about a paper he'd just published at the time. It was an argument for a whole new way of thinking about literacy. Reading, writing, and understanding words on a page won't cut it anymore. In a digitized world, Henry says young people need new skills that go way beyond basic composition and comprehension. Skills like play ("the capacity to experiment with one's surroundings as a form of problem-solving"), collective intelligence ("the ability to pool knowledge and compare notes with others toward a common goal"), and transmedia navigation ("the ability to follow the flow of stories and information across multiple modalities").  Read the rest

Free Culture conference, Washington DC, Feb 13/14

Fred sez, "Students for Free Culture has organized another awesome Free Culture conference on February 13th and 14th in Washington D.C. and registration is open.

Public Knowledge's Gigi Sohn and cyberscholar Jonathan Zittrain will be keynoting on the first day, and the second day will be an unconference tackling all the cutting edge issues of the free culture movement.

Everyone is welcome to register and pay whatever they like (though last conference's median fee was $26) so signup today and see you in two weeks!"

Man, I wish I could get to this!

Update: Fred adds:

SFC just let me know that they just announced incentives for registration levels (the JZ voicemail is particularly awesome):

If you register at $50 or more, get a DVD with the complete Free Culture 2008 videos archive

If you register at $75 or more, get a signed copy of one of these books:

* Remix by Lawrence Lessig OR * Convergence Culture by Henry Jenkins

If you register at $100 or more, get one of these badges of coolness:

* a yourname@freeculture.org email address OR * a custom answering machine greeting by none other than cyberscholar Jonathan Zittrain

Free Culture Conference 2010

(Thanks, Fred!)

Previously: Free Culture Forum Barcelona, Oct 29-Nov 1 - Boing Boing Free Culture distributed audiobook jukebox - Boing Boing Lessig's Free Culture, free online, under a Creative Commons ... FreeCulture NYC photo-mob to produce enormous repository of free ... UMaine launches free culture/code/knowledge service - Boing Boing Free Me! Read the rest

Neil Gaiman in the New Yorker

Nice profile of Neil Gaiman in this week's New Yorker, written by Dana Goodyear, who really followed Neil around to get the story -- caught their duo act at the WorldCon in Montreal last year, where Ms Goodyear was being introduced to everyone who had a good Neil story to tell.

Gaiman, who is forty-nine and English, with a pale face and a wild, corkscrewed mop of black-and-gray hair, is unusually prolific. In addition to horror, he writes fantasy, fairy tales, science fiction, and apocalyptic romps, in the form of novels, comics, picture books, short stories, poems, and screenplays. Now and then, he writes a song. Gaiman's books are genre pieces that refuse to remain true to their genres, and his audience is broader than any purist's: he defines his readership as "bipeds." His mode is syncretic, with sources ranging from English folktales to glam rock and the Midrash, and enchantment is his major theme: life as we know it, only prone to visitations by Norse gods, trolls, Arthurian knights, and kindergarten-age zombies. "Neil's writing is kind of fey in the best sense of the word," the comic-book writer Alan Moore told me. "His best effects come out of people or characters or situations in the real world being starkly juxtaposed with this misty fantasy world." The model for Gaiman's eclecticism is G. K. Chesterton; his work, Gaiman says, "left me with an idea of London as this wonderful, mythical, magical place, which became the way I saw the world." Chesterton's career also serves as a warning.

Read the rest

Congrats on your engagement, Amanda Palmer and Neil Gaiman!

Congrats to pals Neil Gaiman and Amanda Palmer on the announcement of their upcoming nuptials. You two are adorable together. Many years of happiness, comics, rock and roll, and copyfighting for both of you!

Telling the World: An Official Announcement

Previously: Neil Gaiman on Colbert Report - Boing Boing Neil Gaiman on the humble button - Boing Boing Microscopically knit apparel for Neil Gaiman's Coraline Boing Boing Gaiman wins the Newbery Award for The Graveyard Book! - Boing Boing Neil Gaiman's "Graveyard Book," chapter-a-day reading video from ... Henry Jenkins's Neil Gaiman interview video - Boing Boing Warner Music Group artist has her own videos taken off YouTube by ... Read the rest

Interfictions 2 - anthology of genre-transcending fiction - needs your support!

Ellen Kushner sez,

The Interstitial Arts Foundation supports artists whose work falls outside of traditional disciplines, genres and other classification systems. This fall the IAF is publishing Interfictions 2, its second anthology of short interstitial fiction, and it's conducting an experiment in crowdfunding to make it happen.

The IAF has broken down the cost to publish and promote the book and posted the list to its site ($25 sends out 5 copies of the book to reviewers, $100 prints up promotional postcards, $200 buys a magazine ad, and so on), and would-be supporters are invited to make donations. Donors making contributions of $375 or above BY JULY 31ST will not only receive signed copies of both anthologies and have their names included in an online supporters list, but will get their names published in the printed edition of Interfictions 2.

This is actually the second of several experiments in crowdsourcing attached to the project: earlier this year, the IAF opened up a Flickr group to solicit possible images for the cover. The winner, Alex Myers' "E", was selected from this pool and was created as a mixed-media piece from cereal boxes. A third crowdsourced project, also currently open for entries, swaps a free story from the new anthology for a small piece of art inspired by that story, which will then be auctioned off by the IAF to support publication of the book.

Interfictions 2 includes new works from Jeffrey Ford, Amelia Beamer and Theodora Goss, and a foreword from Henry Jenkins (until recently the co-director of MIT's Comparative Media Studies program, now the Ovost's Professor of Communications, Journalism, and Cinematic Art at USC).

Support Interfictions 2! Read the rest

Henry Jenkins and Babylon 5's Straczynski live, MIT, May 22

Media scholar Henry Jenkins and Babylon 5 creator Joe Straczynski are doing a double-header at MIT on May 22, and it's open to the public. Sounds like a hell of a way to spend an evening.

Previously known best for his role as the creator of the cult science fiction series Babylon 5 and its various spin-off films and series. Straczynski wrote 92 out of the 110 Babylon 5 episodes, notably including an unbroken 59-episode run through all of the third and fourth seasons, and all but one episode of the fifth season.

His early television writing career spans from work on He-Man, She-Ra, and The Real Ghostbusters through to The New Twilight Zone and Murder She Wrote. He followed up Babylon 5 with the science fiction series Jeremiah.

Straczysnki also enjoys continued success as a comic book writer, working on established superhero franchises, such as The Amazing Spider-Man, Supreme Power and Thor, as well as his own original series, such as Rising Stars, Midnight Nation, The Twelve, and The Book of Lost Souls. He is also a journalist, publishing over 500 articles in such periodicals as the Los Angeles Times, the Los Angeles Herald Examiner, Writer's Digest Magazine, and TIME Inc.

He was one of the first television producers to actively engage his fan community online and has consistently explored the interface between digital media and other storytelling platforms.

2009 Speaker: J. Michael Straczynski

(Thanks, Andrew!)

Previously: Henry Jenkins's Neil Gaiman interview video - Boing Boing Games for Change festival in NYC June 2-4 with Henry Jenkins ... Read the rest

Henry Jenkins's Neil Gaiman interview video

Andrew sez, "Thought you might like to hear that a DVD of Neil Gaiman's lecture/interview with Henry Jenkins is going on sale today and that some great clips are already posted on Henry's blog: http://henryjenkins.org/2008/12/from_neil_gaiman_to_j_michael.html. Definitely worth a gander."

Our first speaker, appropriately enough, was Neil Gaiman, whose work spans comics (The Sandman), fiction (American Gods), cinema (Mirrormask), television (Neverwhere), the blogosphere, and much much more. Gaiman gave a memorable opening lecture on the nature of genre and its influence on the creative process, which is best known for an extended rift on how pornography and musicals follow similar conventions. It was inspired by Linda William's Hardcore, but Gaiman took it in his own idiosyncratic directions. As the evening continued, we had a great conversation, which ranged across his career, talked about some of the key themes in his work, and especially dug deep into his ideas about myth, storytelling, and popular entertainment. Anyone whose ever heard Gaiman knows he's a charming and engaging speaker with lots of interesting insights into cultural history and media theory.

From Neil Gaiman to J. Michael Straczynski: News on the Julius Schwartz Lecture Series

(Thanks, Andrew!) Read the rest

Games for Change festival in NYC June 2-4 with Henry Jenkins, James Gee, and Sandra Day O'Connor

Eleanor sez, "Games for Change, the non-profit that promotes games which further social awareness and/or activism, will host their fifth festival on June 2-4. Keynote speakers are Henry Jenkins (of MIT) and James Gee (of Arizona State University) and the closing keynote is the Honorable Justice Sandra Day O’Connor, who is working with Dr. Gee on a project about our court system."


(Thanks, Eleanor!) Read the rest

Free Games for Change workshop, NYC, June 2-4

Eleanor sez,

Games for Change, the non-profit devoted to promoting, well, games for change, will hold their fifth annual festival in New York City from June 2-4. Keynote speakers are Henry Jenkins and Jim Gee and the closing keynote is the Honorable Justice Sandra Day O'Connor.

The first day of the festival will be a free, one-day workshop. The recipient of a MacArthur grant, the workshop is a soup-to-nuts tutorial for non-profits, covering everything from why you'd make a game for change, to design, and through funding and press strategies. While the workshop is free, seating is limited and those who wish to attend must fill out a simple online application.


(Thanks, Eleanor!) Read the rest

DIY video summit in LA this weekend (Feb 8-10)

Howard Rheingold points us to an event taking place this weekend in Los Angeles, "24/7: A DIY Video Summit." He explains:

The event is an effort to bring together the various academic, technology, and creative communities that have a stake in the evolution of the amateur and DIY video space. Specifically, the effort is to get the grassroots and public interest perspective into play in the definition of the future of the Internet video space. Our speakers include Joi Ito, Lawrence Lessig, Henry Jenkins, John Seely Brown, me, and Yochai Benkler. In fact, I will moderate a panel on Saturday with all those others. I think it's the first time we've all been on a stage together, and I want to make it a very action-oriented call to arms rather than yet another panel discussion.

This event is the first of its kind in that it brings together curators and representatives from key DIY video communities - live action remix, anime music videos, videoblogging, machinima, youth media, activist media, political remix, video blogging, and independent arts video. Although these communities often have their own dedicated events, there are rarely conversations that bring together these different groups, much less one that also includes conversations with industry executives from the tech world, academics, and policy makers. The event will have screenings of DIY videos, an academic track, and hands on workshops.

Link. Even if you can't attend in person, they'll no doubt produce many interesting ideas to be shared online. (Special thanks, Mimi Ito!) Read the rest

DIY Video Summit, LA, Feb 8-10

Howard Rheingold writes in with news of the DIY Video Summit (Feb 8-10, USC, Los Angeles):

24/7: A DIY VIDEO SUMMIT February 8-10, 2008 School of Cinematic Arts, University of Southern California

I'm thrilled to moderate a session on Feb 9 that will include Yochai Benkler, John Seely Brown, Joi Ito, Henry Jenkins, and Lawrence Lessig. I don't think this particular group has ever been on stage together.

Spaces are limited for attendance at the academic panels and the workshops. The video screenings are free and open to the public.

24/7: A DIY Video Summit will bring together the many communities that have evolved around do-it-yourself (DIY) video:artists, audiences, technology providers, academics, policy makers and industry executives. The aim is to discover common ground, and to chart the path to a future in which grassroots and mainstream, amateur and professional, artist and audience can all benefit as the medium continues to evolve.

Link to conference site, Link to conference blog

(Thanks, Howard!) Read the rest

Theses from MIT's Comparative Media Studies program

The graduate theses of MIT's Comparative Media Studies program are now online. CMS is taught by super academic-fan Henry Jenkins, guru of all things fan-theoretical. I once spent a mind-blowing day at his program, meeting super-smart people seriously unpicking things like pro-wrestling fandom and understanding what makes it tick. Now there's dozens of these online -- I could read this stuff for weeks.

IVAN ASKWITH: TV 2.0: Turning Television into an Engagement Medium

ALEC AUSTIN: Expectations Across Entertainment Media

LISA BIDLINGMEYER: Agent + Image: How the Television Image Destabilizes Identity in TV Spy Series

KRISTINA DRZAIC: Oh No I'm Toast! Mastering Videogame Secrets in Theory and Practice

AMANDA FINKELBERG: Models and Simulations: Digital Cartography in the Networked Environment

SAM FORD: As the World Turns in a Convergence Environment

NEAL GRIGSBY: Ceaseless Becoming: Narratives of Adolescence Across Media

RENA HE HUANG: Journey to the East: the (Re)Make of Chinese Animation

GEOFFREY LONG: Transmedia Storytelling: Business, Aesthetics and Production at the Jim Henson Company

PETER RAUCH: Playing with Good and Evil: Videogames and Moral Philosophy

DAN ROY: Mastery and the Mobile Future of Massively Multiplayer Games

KAREN VERSCHOOREN: .art: situating internet art in the modern museum


(Thanks, Pablo!)

See also: How fanfic makes kids into better writers (and copyright victims) What steampunk means Media scholar Henry Jenkins starts blogging

Update Kat Macdonald sez, "I thought I'd offer a link to my undergraduate thesis 'Reflections on the Modern Folk Process,' which, as the abstract suggests, talks about 'the phenomenon of fanfiction, [focusing] on issues such as the culture industry, authorship, legitimacy, transience, the current copyright culture, and the folk process in a modern context. Read the rest

What steampunk means

Henry Jenkins, my favorite pop-culture scholar, has just posted the first part of a long essay dealing with the theoretical origins of steampunk. Jenkins connects steampunk to the eBay retro-collectibles urge and dead media -- themselves products of inhabiting a high-speed world where the things we love go obsolete fall to rot in the blink of an eye.

We might take two big ideas from Jameson's account of retrofuturism- that past imaginings of the future need to be understood as historical artifacts of older ideologies about human progress and that their remobilization in the present can be used as a means of reflecting on the failures of those dreams to become realities. While Jameson's work on postmodernism suggests that the redeployment of these older images of the future might amount to little more than an empty nostalgia, he seems to be hinting here that these images might function as vehicles of historical consciousness and thus as the basis for critique. Jameson's contemporaries were quick to explore the idea that "yesterday's tomorrows" might provide important clues into earlier moments in the history of the 20th century, a project reflected not only by the contributors to Corn's collection but also by essays like Andrew Ross's "Breaking Out of the Gernsback Continuum." But far less time has been spent exploring the contemporary deployment of earlier science fiction iconography as a way of working through the gap between an anticipated future and the lived reality of the late 20th century.

Link Read the rest

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