As you look through this newsletter, you will see continued evidence of the breadth of research being supported by the CMS program. There’s so much exciting news here: the expanding role nonwestern media plays in our curriculum, the growing number of student-led research initiatives, the professional success of our alum. But, the big news is the approval of Comparative Media Studies as the first interdisciplinary major at MIT. We have all worked incredibly hard over the past decade and a half to build up the undergraduate program to reach this point. I especially want to signal here the important early (and continuing) role David Thorburn played in creating a media studies major. As the first director of what was then the Film and Media Studies Program, Thorburn had the vision and the determination to identify core Humanities faculty with an interest in media teaching, to spark new courses, to organize a coherent curriculum for the program, and to recruit a growing number of students. Nothing that has happened in CMS since could have happened without that important early work.
On other fronts, I will be going on leave next year, starting in February, and William Uricchio will be stepping in as Acting Director of the Program. This will be the first leave I’ve taken in more than a decade and I plan to be spending time hiding out in the North Georgia Mountains, working on a magnum opus intended to lay out in accessible prose the cultural significance of various forms of media convergence. It was a hard decision to miss even one moment in the life of this program, but I felt I could give more if I took some time out to refresh my thinking, restore my stamina, and regroup for the next phase of our development. We have an extraordinary team of faculty, staff, and students so I know I leave everything in very good hands. Thanks so much to all of you for the support you have given me in recent years. Looking forward to working with you again very soon.
Henry Jenkins is the Provost’s Professor of Communication, Journalism, and Cinematic Arts at the University of Southern California. He arrived at USC in Fall 2009 after spending the previous decade as the Director of the MIT Comparative Media Studies Program and the Peter de Florez Professor of Humanities. He is the author and/or editor of twelve books on various aspects of media and popular culture, including Textual Poachers: Television Fans and Participatory Culture, Hop on Pop: The Politics and Pleasures of Popular Cultureand From Barbie to Mortal Kombat: Gender and Computer Games. His newest books include Convergence Culture: Where Old and New Media Collide and Fans, Bloggers and Gamers: Exploring Participatory Culture. He is currently co-authoring a book on“spreadable media” with Sam Ford and Joshua Green. He has written for Technology Review, Computer Games, Salon, and The Huffington Post. - See more at: http://henryjenkins.org/aboutmehtml#sthash.ev25qsgl.dpuf