Job Postings

Tenure-track Assistant Professor, Program in Comparative Media Studies, MIT

MIT’s Program in Comparative Media Studies in the School of Humanities, Arts and Social Science is seeking a tenure-track assistant professor of media studies to start in the Fall of 2011. Candidates should have a Ph.D. with a record of significant publication (or the promise thereof), research activity and/or experience relevant to civic media. Relevant … Continue reading

Job Postings

Three tenure-line positions, Communication, Culture & Technology, Georgetown

Technology Studies The Communication, Culture & Technology (CCT) M.A. program at Georgetown University focuses on the relationship between new computational technologies of communication and areas such as science, scholarship, culture, government, media, business, journalism, and the arts.  The program is developing a new lab, which will be a hub of technology knowledge, discovery and research, … Continue reading

Getting to Grips with Video Gaming’s Past, Present and Future: Exploring “Platform Studies”
Meditations

Getting to Grips with Video Gaming’s Past, Present and Future: Exploring “Platform Studies”

Thirty years ago, video games captured the imagination and the attention of a society. They served as a touchstone for both promise and anxiety about our identity, both individual and as a whole. They forced us to ask hard questions about youth culture, about attitudes regarding leisure and work. They challenged educators to rethink their means of engaging young people in learning. They provided new tools for the forward-thinking and they were an obvious target of those looking to score easy political points, too. Video games have been shape-shifters, and they will continue to be, changing in meaning and importance based on their beholder, their utility, their dollar value. But the essence of video games, with their reliance on novelty in both the cultural representations that make up their content and in the technological power they need to run, places them irrevocably at the fore of the new, and of the future. Continue reading

The Vast World of Vast Narratives, Fandom and Participatory Culture
Meditations

The Vast World of Vast Narratives, Fandom and Participatory Culture

What makes a narrative vast, according to the contributors to the recent MIT volume Third Person? Based on the varied content, spread across multiple media, covered by the book, vast narratives receive their designation not only due to the interior nature of the narrative, which may span unusual lengths when measured in years, amount of content produced, number of media in which the world is present, among other features (Harrigan and Wardrip-Fruin 2).

Yet the volume is also vast, as in catholic, given its broad interpretation of what constitutes a narrative: consider outsider artist/author Henry Darger’s inclusion alongside other constructed worlds and universes of comic books (Ford and Jenkins), traditional paper and pen gaming (Laws), video games, television programs whose mythologies extend beyond the reach of traditional broadcast and into transmedia, such as in the case of Lost (Lavery). (In the interest of full disclosure: Lost is of particular interest to me at present, as I only discovered it last semester, watching five seasons on Netflix while I read about the show elsewhere.) Continue reading

Digital Labor, Cold-War Roots
Meditations

Digital Labor, Cold-War Roots

Doing some reading over the past week, I was prompted to think about, then comment on, a chapter by Friedrich Kittler on Cold War computing technology and the implicit (and explicit) ways in which an examination of so-called “defense technology” comes into direct contact with, and within the purview of, media studies, information studies and labor studies.

Specifically, I am interested in uncovering the history of these technologies and their development, particularly when the when many defense technologies have been considered value-neutral or even as beneficial (and perhaps were, particularly when they moved from the province of military applications to consumer or mass-market ones). Additionally, the process of uncovering the hidden labor embedded in digital and computing technologies and processes, is inextricalbly tied to the critically important task of uncovering their hidden agendas, applications and roots within the military-academic-industrial complex. Continue reading

CFPs

Call for Papers: The Third Graduate Student Conference on the History of American Capitalism: “Capitalism in Action”, Harvard University, March 4th-6th, 2011

The Third Graduate Student Conference on the History of American Capitalism: “Capitalism in Action” Sponsored by the David Howe Fund for Business and Economic History at Harvard University. Keynote Speaker: Jackson Lears Discussions of American capitalism often uncritically rely on loaded but abstract terms, from “markets” to “capital.” This conference aims to bring together emerging … Continue reading