Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Henry Jenkins at Swarthmore

Spreadable Media: Creating Meaning and Value in a Networked Culture
A Public Lecture by Henry Jenkins

Swarthmore College
Science Center 101

Thursday, February 9
at 7:00 PM

ABSTRACT: Of all of the changes in the new media environment over the past two decades, perhaps the biggest has been a shift in how media content circulates—away from top-down corporate controlled distribution and into a still emerging hybrid system where everyday people play an increasingly central role in how media spreads.

Cultural Studies has historically been centered on issues of production and reception and has had much less to say about circulation. What issues emerge when we put the process of grassroots (often unauthorized) circulation at the center of our focus? How does it change our accounts of the relationships between mass media and participatory culture? How might it shake up existing models of viral media and web 2.0?

This far-reaching talk, based on a forthcoming book authored with Sam Ford and Joshua Green, offers snapshots of a culture-in-process, a media ecology still taking shape, suggesting what it means not only for the futures of entertainment but also of civic life.

Henry Jenkins is Provost's Professor of Communication, Journalism, and Cinematic Arts at the University of Southern California. He has written and edited more than a dozen books on media and popular culture, including Convergence Culture: Where Old and New Media Collide (2006). His other published works reflect the wide range of his research interests, touching on democracy and new media, the “wow factor” of popular culture, science-fiction fan communities, and the early history of film comedy.

As one of the first media scholars to chart the changing role of the audience in an environment of increasingly pervasive digital content, Jenkins has been at the forefront of understanding the effects of participatory media on society, politics, and culture. His research gives key insights to the success of social-networking websites, networked computer games, online fan communities, and other advocacy organizations, as well as emerging news media outlets.

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