Fall 2007 CMS Colloquium Calendar

The MIT Comparative Media Studies program is proud to announce the lineup for its Fall 2007 colloquium lecture series. The following list can also be found in the Events section of our site.

The Harry Potter Alliance: How the myth of Harry Potter is changing the world

Sept. 13
Andrew Slack
2-105, 5-7 PM

This presentation concerns how the Harry Potter Alliance, an educational and activist organization, is employing allegories from the Harry Potter series to mobilize tens of thousands of young Harry Potter fans toward fighting the “Dark Arts” in the real world like racism, homophobia, global warming, and the genocide in Darfur.

Andrew Slack is the founder and executive director of the Harry Potter Alliance where he works on innovative ways to mobilize tens of thousands of Harry Potter fans through a vibrant online community. Andrew has also co-written, acted in, and produced online videos that have been viewed more than 3 million times. He has trained at an acting conservatory in London and studied under peace and civil rights activists across both Northern Ireland and the US. A Phi Beta Kappa graduate of Brandeis University, Andrew is dedicated to learning and extrapolating how modern myth and new media can transform our lives both personally and collectively.

Technology & Media in the Experience Economy

Mon. Sept. 17 (note the date and location!)
B. Joseph Pine II
3-270, 5-7 PM

The emerging Experience Economy – which is supplanting the Service Economy just as it supplanted the Industrial Economy and the Agrarian Economy before that – opens up entire new vistas for engaging customers. While people will always be open to innovative real-life experiences, B. Joseph Pine II explores how perhaps the greatest opportunities lie in thinking about how to use digital technology and all experience media to stage compelling experiences, whether they enhance what’s going in the real world, effectively replace that within a virtual world, or create permeable boundaries between the two and, indeed, between all experience media.

B. Joseph Pine II is an author, speaker, and management advisor to Fortune 500 companies and start-ups alike. He is co-founder of Strategic Horizons LLP, a thinking studio dedicated to helping businesses conceive and design new ways of adding value to their economic offerings. With James H. Gilmore, Pine has written The Experience Economy: Work Is Theatre & Every Business a Stage (1999), Markets of One: Creating Customer-Unique Value Through Mass Customization (2000), and Authenticity: What Customers Really Want (2007).

Center for Future Civic Media / Communications Forum: What is Civic Media?

Sept. 20
Chris Csikszentmihalyi, MIT Media Lab
Henry Jenkins, MIT CMS
Beth Noveck, New York Law School
Ethan Zuckerman, Harvard Berkman Center for Internet Law
Bartos Theater. 5=7 PM

In Bowling Alone (2000), Robert Putnam wrote about a generation of Americans cut off from traditional forms of community life and civic engagement, passive consumers of mass media. But others have noted the expansion of participatory cultures and virtual communities on the web, the growth of blogs, podcasts, and other forms of citizen journalism, the rise of new kinds of social affiliations within virtual worlds. What lessons can we learn from these online worlds that will make an impact in the communities where we work, sleep, and vote? What new technologies and practices offer us the best chance of revitalizing civic engagement? This forum marks the launch of the new MIT Center for Future Civic Media, a collaboration between the MIT Media Lab and Comparative Media Studies (CMS) program and is the first in a series of events designed to focus attention on the relationship between emerging media and civic engagement. The center has been funded by a $5 million grant from the Knight Foundation. Its directors will be Chris Csikszentmihalyi and Mitchel Resnick of the Media Lab and Henry Jenkins of CMS.

Chris Csikszentmihalyi is Muriel R. Cooper Career Development Professor of Media Arts and Sciences at the MIT Media Laboratory where he directs the Computing Culture group.

Henry Jenkins is co-director of Comparative Media Studies and the Peter de Florez Professor of Humanities at MIT. He is the author of several books on various aspects of media and popular culture including Convergence Culture: Where Old and New Media Collide.

Beth Noveck is professor of law at New York Law School where she directs the Institute for Information Law & Policy. She is the founder and organizer of the State of Play conferences, an annual event on virtual worlds research.

Ethan Zuckerman is a fellow at the Berkman Center for Internet and Society, Harvard Law School, and co-founder of Global Voices. He is a founder of Geekcorps and is currently working on Global Attention Profiles, which gives graphical portraits of where different media sources are focusing their attention.

Lee Hunt’s New Best Practices 2007

Sept. 27
Lee Hunt
2-105, 5-7 PM

Promax/BDA, the association of television promotion and marketing professionals, holds an annual international conference bringing together media marketers from around the world. One of the keynote attractions is Lee Hunt’s “New Best Practices,” an annual overview of ground-breaking strategies, innovative tactics, and breakthrough creative. In this excerpt from his 2007 presentation, Lee explores the challenges and opportunities faced by his television marketing peers, and analyzes solutions that have reshaped the industry.

Lee Hunt works as a strategist and trainer for media companies around the world. Considered one of the industry’s leading experts in television advertising and promotion, Lee began his career on the client side, launching and branding Lifetime, VH1 and TNT. In the 90’s he founded one of TV’s most successful creative services companies, Lee Hunt Associates, working with more than 100 different television networks around the world. Today, Lee works as a consultant developing brand strategy for new and established networks, continues to pioneer a new marketing discipline – break architecture and audience management, and conducts training workshops for television networks across the globe. He is the author of Fundamentals of Television Advertising & Promotion and Break|Throughs, the quarterly anthology of innovative advertising and promotion.

Communications Forum: Collective Intelligence

Oct. 4
Thomas Malone, MIT Center for Collective Intelligence
Bartos Theater. 5=7 PM

A conversation about the theory and practice of collective intelligence, with emphasis on Wikipedia, other instances of aggregated intellectual work and on recent innovative applications in product development for both large and small businesses. Thomas Malone, founding director of the MIT Center for Collective Intelligence, will anchor the discussion.

Thomas W. Malone is the Patrick J. McGovern Professor of Management at the MIT Sloan School of Management. He is also the founder and director of the MIT Center for Collective Intelligence and author of the book The Future of Work. Malone has published over 75 articles, research papers, and book chapters and is an inventor with 11 patents.


Oct. 11

CMS Town Meeting

Tuesday Oct. 16 (Note Date!)
CMS Faculty and Staff
14E-310, 6-7 PM

Restricted to CMS faculty and students. What is the state of the CMS program as a whole? Who are we? What are we doing? Where are we headed? CMS co-director Henry Jenkins will lead the department’s semiannual Town Meeting.

Being Me: A Game School Project

Oct. 25
Katie Salen
2-105, 5-7 PM

Katie Salen’s Game School project is a platform for considering how game design theory and the practice of gaming can be used as foundational strategies for the design of learning environments that support the ongoing formation of learner identities. This colloquium will explore the design issues Salen’s team has faced while designing the school, as well as the range of constraints guiding the project.

Salen is the Executive Director of the Gamelab Institute of Play, as well as an Associate Professor in the Design and Technology, Parsons the New School for Design. She is co-author of two books: Rules of Play: Game Design Fundamentals and The Game Design Reader, as well as the forthcoming volume The Ecology of Games, for which she served as editor. Katie worked as an animator on Richard Linklater’s critically acclaimed animated feature Waking Life and recently co-developed Karaoke Ice, an ice-cream truck turned mobile karaoke unit deployed to collect and curate idiosyncratic performances of tinkle-pop songs. She designs big games, slow games, and game-like experiences for audiences of all types and is currently working on a multiplayer online game to teach kids game design thinking.

Video Art History?

Nov. 1
Caroline Jones
2-105, 5-7 PM

With digital convergence, the historical specificity of early video art is disappearing. How is that history being written? And what are its stakes?

Caroline A. Jones studies modern and contemporary art, with a particular focus on its technological modes of production, distribution, and reception. Professor of art history in the History, Theory, Criticism Program in the Department of Architecture at MIT, she has also worked as an essayist and curatorial consultant, most recently with MIT’s List Visual Art Center. She completed her PhD at Stanford University in 1992, before which she held positions at The Museum of Modern Art in New York (1977-83) and the Harvard University Art Museums (1983-85). Her exhibitions and/or films have been shown at MoMA and Harvard as well as the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden in Washington DC, and the Hara Museum Tokyo, among other venues; her publications include Sensorium (as editor, 2006), Eyesight Alone (2005), Machine in the Studio (1996/98), the co-edited volume Picturing Science, Producing Art (1998), and many other works. A frequent contributor to Artforum, Jones’s current research into globalism informs her next book on contemporary art, the world picture, and “biennial culture.”

Co-sponsored by the List Visual Arts Center

Center for Future Civic Media / Communications Forum: Games and Civic Engagement

Nov. 8
Mario Armstrong, NPR
Ian Bogost, Georgia Tech
Bartos Theater. 5=7 PM

A generation of scholars, critics and political leaders has denounced videogames as a best a distraction and at worst a negative influence on society. Yet for a significant and growing minority of activists and researchers, games may also represent a resource for engaging young people with the political process and heightening their awareness of social issues. In what ways do young people use the online societies constructed in multiplayer games to rehearse and refine skills of citizenship? Can we imagine games as medium that encourages public awareness and citizenship? And what might it mean to empower young people to create their own games to reflect their perceptions of the world around them? This is the second in a continuing series from the new MIT Center for Future Civic Media.

Mario Armstrong is a technology correspondent for National Public Radio (for Morning Edition and News and Notes) and hosts talk shows about technology and culture on XM radio and public radio stations WYPR and WEAA in the Baltimore area. Armstrong is one of the founders and organizers of the Urban Video Game Academy, which conducts workshops in Atlanta and Baltimore to help minority youth learn game design skills.

Ian Bogost is an assistant professor in the School of Literature, Communication, and Culture at Georgia Tech and co-founder of Persuasive Games. He is the author of Persuasive Games: The Expressive Power of Videogames.

Communications Forum: NBC’s Heroes: “Appointment TV” to “Engagement TV”?

Nov. 15
Heroes Creators and Producers
Bartos Theater. 5=7 PM

The fragmenting audiences and proliferating channels of contemporary television are changing how programs are made and how they appeal to viewers and advertisers. Some media and advertising spokesman are arguing that smaller, more engaged audiences are more valuable than the passive viewers of the Broadcast Era. They focus on the number of viewers who engage with the program and its extensions—web sites, podcasts, digital comics, games, and so forth. What steps are networks taking to prolong and enlarge the viewer’s experience of a weekly series? How are networks and production companies adapting to and deploying digital technologies and the Internet? And what challenges are involved in creating a series in which individual episodes are only part of an imagined world that can be accessed on a range of devices and that appeals to gamesters, fans of comics, lovers of message boards or threaded discussions, digital surfers of all sorts? In this Forum, producers from the NBC series Heroes will discuss their hit show as well as the nature of network programming, the ways in which audiences are measured, the extension of television content across multiple media channels, and the value producers play on the most active segments of their audiences.

Jesse Alexander is an Executive Producer for Heroes. His previous production credits have included Alias and Lost.

Mark Warshaw is a writer/producer/director who, in 2006, founded FlatWorld Intertainment, Inc. to produce original interactive content and consult with entertainment companies and artists on alternative media. He was the original web producer for Smallville and is now the person responsible for overseeing the web extensions of Heroes.

Maps, Mental Models and Applications

Nov. 29
Leon Trilling
Michael Stiefel
Wesley L Harris
2-105, 5-7 PM

Leon Trilling received his B.S. and Ph.D. from the California Institute of Technology (Mechanical Engineering, 1944 and Aeronautics, 1948). He taught at the California Institute of Technology and was a Fulbright Scholar in Paris before coming to MIT in 1951. He joined the MIT STS faculty in 1978. He founded the Integrated Studies Program at MIT and co-directed the New Liberal Arts Program. He is a senior staff member of The Institute for Learning and Teaching (TILT) at MIT. His research centers on the development of jet propelled airliners and the role of science and mathematics curriculum in the middle school.

Michael Stiefel is principal of Reliable Software, Inc., a Massachusetts company that specializes in consulting and training with Microsoft technologies. He holds a B.S. in electrical engineering, an M.S. in nuclear engineering, and an interdisciplinary Ph.D. in nuclear engineering, political science, and the history of technology, all from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

Wesley L. Harris is Head of the MIT Department of Aeronautics and Astronautics where he is the Charles Stark Draper Professor of Aeronautics. Harris is a former NASA associate administrator for aeronautics responsible for all aeronautics programs, facilities, and personnel (1993-1995).

Co-sponsored by the Program in Science, Technology and Society


Dec. 6
John Cayley
2-105, 5-7 PM105, 5-7 PM

An illustrated talk/dialogue in which Cayley will attempt to explain and justify the title his presentation has been given; to explain, that is, what he thought he was doing when he strung it together as a ‘literal collage’ and what he thinks he’s doing now. Today there is a recognized practice of writing in networked and programmable media. A number of literary artists are ‘writing digital media’, and their work is being studied and taught. Cayley’s presentation, using – chiefly – descriptions and illustrations of his own work, attempts to highlight certain ‘properties and methods’ of this emergent, fast-developing writing practice and its relation to aspects of critical theory that haunt or drive the work.

John Cayley has practiced as a poet, translator, publisher, and bookdealer, and all these activities have often intersected with his training in Chinese culture and language. Links to his writing in networked and programmable media are at www.shadoof.net/in/. His last printed book of poems, adaptations and translations was Ink Bamboo (London: Agenda & Belew, 1996). Cayley was the winner of the Electronic Literature Organization’s Award for Poetry 2001 (www.eliterature.org). He has taught and worked at a number of universities in the United Kingdom, and was an Honorary Research Associate in the Department of English, Royal Holloway College, University of London. In the United States, he has taught or directed research at the University of California San Diego and Brown University, where, arriving in the Fall of 2007, he is now appointed as a five-year Visiting Professor of Literary Arts with a brief to teach and develop writing in digital media. His most recent work explores ambient poetics in programmable media and writing in immersive VR, with parallel theoretical interventions concerning the role of code and the temporal properties of textuality.


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