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Henry Jenkins

Henry Jenkins is Provost's Professor of Communication, Journalism and Cinematic Arts at the Annenberg School for Communication, University of Southern California. He is the coeditor of From Barbie to Mortal Kombat: Gender and Computer Games (MIT Press, 1998).

Titles by This Author

Media Education for the 21st Century

Many teens today who use the Internet are actively involved in participatory cultures—joining online communities (Facebook, message boards, game clans), producing creative work in new forms (digital sampling, modding, fan videomaking, fan fiction), working in teams to complete tasks and develop new knowledge (as in Wikipedia), and shaping the flow of media (as in blogging or podcasting). A growing body of scholarship suggests potential benefits of these activities, including opportunities for peer-to-peer learning, development of skills useful in the modern workplace, and a more empowered conception of citizenship. Some argue that young people pick up these key skills and competencies on their own by interacting with popular culture; but the problems of unequal access, lack of media transparency, and the breakdown of traditional forms of socialization and professional training suggest a role for policy and pedagogical intervention.This report aims to shift the conversation about the "digital divide" from questions about access to technology to questions about access to opportunities for involvement in participatory culture and how to provide all young people with the chance to develop the cultural competencies and social skills needed. Fostering these skills, the authors argue, requires a systemic approach to media education; schools, afterschool programs, and parents all have distinctive roles to play.The John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation Reports on Digital Media and Learning

Titles by This Editor

The Aesthetics of Transition

The essays in Rethinking Media Change center on a variety of media forms at moments of disruption and cultural transformation. The editors' introduction sketches an aesthetics of media transition—patterns of development and social dispersion that operate across eras, media forms, and cultures. The book includes case studies of such earlier media as the book, the phonograph, early cinema, and television. It also examines contemporary digital forms, exploring their promise and strangeness. A final section probes aspects of visual culture in such environments as the evolving museum, movie spectaculars, and "the virtual window."

The contributors reject apocalyptic scenarios of media revolution, demonstrating instead that media transition is always a mix of tradition and innovation, an accretive process in which emerging and established systems interact, shift, and collude with one another.

Digital technology is changing our politics. The World Wide Web is already a powerful influence on the public's access to government documents, the tactics and content of political campaigns, the behavior of voters, the efforts of activists to circulate their messages, and the ways in which topics enter the public discourse. The essays collected here capture the richness of current discourse about democracy and cyberspace. Some contributors offer front-line perspectives on the impact of emerging technologies on politics, journalism, and civic experience. What happens, for example, when we increase access to information or expand the arena of free speech? Other contributors place our shifting understanding of citizenship in historical context, suggesting that notions of cyber-democracy and online community must grow out of older models of civic life. Still others consider the global flow of information and test our American conceptions of cyber-democracy against developments in other parts of the world. How, for example, do new media operate in Castro's Cuba, in post-apartheid South Africa, and in the context of multicultural debates on the Pacific Rim? For some contributors, the new technologies endanger our political culture; for others, they promise civic renewal.

Gender and Computer Games

The game console may help to prepare children for participation in the digital world, but at the same time it socializes boys into misogyny and excludes girls from all but the most objectified positions. The contributors to From Barbie® to Mortal Kombat explore how assumptions about gender, games, and technology shape the design, development, and marketing of games as industry seeks to build the girl market. They describe and analyze the games currently on the market and propose tactical approaches for avoiding the stereotypes that dominate most toy store aisles. The lively mix of perspectives and voices includes those of media and technology scholars, educators, psychologists, developers of today's leading games, industry insiders, and girl gamers.