CMS News Archives
Director William Uricchio last Friday introduced Ian Condry, cultural anthropologist with a focus on contemporary Japan, as the new Associate Director of the Comparative Media Studies program. In a note to CMS faculty and staff, Uricchio said, "Ian's work across a variety of media platforms (music and club scenes, anime, social networks and literature) and between cultures (particularly the US and Japan) fits CMS perfectly. Particularly in this time of transition for CMS, Ian's presence is vitally important."
"I'm delighted to have this opportunity to work with William, the CMS students, and the many affiliated faculty and staff at MIT on the rebuilding of the program," Condry said. "CMS has already proven its importance in providing a space for invigorating and collaborative for research and teaching, as evidenced by the decade-long commitment to engaging with the ways media are reshaping the ways we learn, teach, work and play. The challenge now is to take advantage of the the program's strengths and to reach out across the Institute and beyond to expand the core of the program in a way that works towards a more sustainable future. I'm excited to be part of that effort. "
Director Uricchio added, "As a program, we still have challenges ahead, but with Ian's addition, the possibilities are both exciting and tangible."
We've been steadily reformatting older content here on the CMS website so that all of our audio and video is available for download, both on the site and through iTunes. (In fact, you can subscribe to the podcast here via the iTunes Store.)
One of the gems transferred to iTunes in this process was a video from the very first Futures of Entertainment conference. (FOE4 is coming up in November.) This "From the CMS archives" post features video from that first conference, from a session called "Not the Real World Anymore". John Lester, from Linden Lab; Ron Meiners, Developer Relations Manager at Multiverse.net; and Todd Cunningham and Eric Gruber, from MTV Networks discussed how virtual spaces are becoming platforms for thought experiments -- some of which involve fantasies we would not like to enact in the real world, others involve possibilities that we may want to test market before putting into practice.
The video is available via our our podcast on iTunes.
Whether it's pro wrestling or your nana's "stories," CMS graduate Sam Ford is reporters' go-to guy for understanding the nuts and bolts of TV drama. Yesterday, he was quoted again by the Boston Globe.
From To fans, Guiding Light has been more than a soap opera:
...for [Maggie] Lemelin, 36, it's really about Nana.
"It's just a little piece of being back in my grandmother's living room,'' the Rowley resident says.
That connection will be lost, for many viewers, after the nation's longest-running soap succumbs to the woes that have plagued daytime dramas for years: low ratings, changed viewing habits, an audience that no longer hits advertisers' target demographic. Soaps are in peril, but they're also deeply loved, and draw the kind of loyalty that's seen in fans of comic books and professional wrestling, says Sam Ford, who taught a course on soaps last year in MIT's Comparative Media Studies program.
"I think we have an inherent love of a story that's bigger than we are,'' Ford says.
Ethan Gilsdorf discussed some of the themes of his new book, Fantasy Freaks and Gaming Geeks: An Epic Quest for Reality Among Role Players, Online Gamers, and Other Dwellers of Imaginary Realms, a blend of travelogue, pop culture analysis, and memoir as forty-year-old former D&D addict Gilsdorf crisscrosses America, the world, and other worlds--from Boston to Wisconsin, France to New Zealand, and Planet Earth to the realm of Aggramar. He asks: Who are these gamers and fantasy fans? What explains the irresistible appeal of such "escapist" adventures? How do the players balance their escapist urges with the kingdom of adulthood?
Gilsdorf talked about the culture's discomfort with the geek/nerd/gamer stereotype and looked at society's ambivalent relationship with gaming and fantasy play, and the origins of that prejudice, as well as the author's own past misgivings and final acceptance of his "geek" identity.
Continue reading "Podcast: "Fantasy Freaks and Gaming Geeks"" »
Note application deadline of November 1, 2009:
MIT's Program in Comparative Media Studies seeks applications for a tenured position beginning in September 2010. A PhD and an extensive record of publication, research activity and leadership are expected. We encourage applicants from a wide array of disciplinary backgrounds. The successful candidate will teach and guide research in one or more of the Program's dimensions of comparativity (historical, methodological, cultural) across media forms. Expertise in the cultural and social implications of established media forms (film, television, audio and visual cultures, print) is as important as scholarship in one or more emerging areas such as games, social media, new media literacies, participatory culture, software studies, IPTV, and transmedia storytelling.
The position involves teaching graduate and undergraduate courses, developing and guiding collaborative research activities, and participating in the intellectual and creative leadership of the Program and the Institute. Candidates should demonstrate a record of effective teaching and thesis supervision, significant research/creative activity, relevant administrative experience, and international recognition.
CMS offers SB and SM programs and maintains a full roster of research initiatives and outreach activities [see http://cms.mit.edu] The program embraces the notion of comparativity and collaboration and works across MIT's various schools and between MIT and the larger media landscape.
MIT is an affirmative action/equal opportunity employer.
Applications consisting of a curriculum vita, a statement of teaching philosophy and experience, a statement of current and future research plans, selected major publications, and names of suggested references should be submitted by November 1, 2009 to:
Professor William Uricchio
Director, Comparative Media Studies
77 Massachusetts Avenue
Cambridge, MA 02139 USA
We take great pride in this acknowledgment, aimed squarely at the Gambit Game Lab:
If you need a break from math at MIT, "Introduction to Videogame Studies" might appeal to you.
"Students play and analyze videogames while reading current research and theory," reads the course description, which says students are expected to beat the games too, "in consultation with the instructor."
Intro to Video Games comes in at number six, just ahead of Cornell University's course in tree climbing (which fulfills a physical education requirement) and Ohio State's Harry Potter course, where students are "expected to read all seven books".
Of course none of them quite top the paradox inherent in FoxNews' #9 pick: a $4,875 course at Occidental College on stupidity.
The entire video is available for download (.m4v, 305mb).
This year's Julius Schwartz Lecture speaker was transmedia creator J. Michael Straczynski, who has most recently entered the motion picture arena, writing the period drama Changeling for Clint Eastwood and Angelina Jolie, adapting such books as Lensman for Ron Howard, World War Z for Brad Pitt's company, and They Marched Into Sunlight for Tom Hanks and Paul Greengrass, as well as reviving Forbidden Planet for Warner Bros. and selling two new original movies, The Flickering Light and Proving Ground to Universal and Tom Cruise's United Artists, respectively. He has also begun work on Last Words, a pilot for a new TV series for the TNT network.
Continue reading "Video: "J. Michael Straczynski: The Julius Schwartz Lecture"" »
From a press release issued by the Media Development Authority of Singapore:
Since running yearly summer internship programmes at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) from 2007, the Singapore-MIT GAMBIT Game Lab (GAMBIT) has trained 77 students from various local tertiary institutes in games research and development. Of these, 41 of them have since found employment in the Singapore games and media industries while the remaining is largely still serving national service.
That's a remarkable accomplishment and testament to the GAMBIT program. GAMBIT staff added their thoughts:
We here at the Cambridge office are very excited by this announcement, and look forward to working closely with our partners across the ocean to find more job placements for our highly skilled and talented students.