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Thomas Allen Harris: “Collective Wisdom” Keynote

Thomas Allen Harris is a critically acclaimed, interdisciplinary artist who explores conceptions of family, identity, environmentalism, and spirituality in a participatory practice. Graduate of Harvard College with a degree in Biology and the Whitney Independent Study Program, member of the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences, and published writer/curator, Harris lectures widely on the use of media as a tool for social change with a keen recognition for its potential to organize...


Civic Arts Series: Erik Loyer

== Co-hosted with the MIT Program in Art, Culture, and Technology == Erik Loyer‘s award-winning work explores new blends of game dynamics, poetic expression and interactive visual storytelling. From his best-selling Strange Rain story-playing iPad/iPhone app, to his visually stunning digital fiction The Lair of the Marrow Monkey (powered by Shockwave software animation), and his interactive explorations of post-Katrina racial politics in Blue Velvet, Loyer’s interactive artistic...


Walter Menendez: "Engineering Virality: BuzzFeed’s Scientific Approach To Creating Content"

If you’ve heard of BuzzFeed, you probably think about our famous articles and quizzes, such as The Dress and Which State Are You Actually From?, as well as our video escapades, such as The Try Guys Try Sexy Halloween Costumes and our famous Watermelon Explosion experiment on Facebook Live. The success of our content might seem accidental, but as a result of BuzzFeed’s experimental approach to producing content, the virality of these posts is actually a very scientific and calculated effort....


Playful Practice: Designing the Future of Teacher Learning

All across the world, educational systems are exploring new ways to encourage more ambitious teaching and learning in classrooms: shifting away from recitation and rote learning to more engaging forms of collaborative, active, problem-centered learning. For this shift in classrooms to occur, we need to dramatically increase the quantity and quality of learning opportunities available to educators in these systems, and new forms of blended and online learning experiences will be central to...


Nicole Hemmer: "From Taft to Trump: How Conservative Media Activists Won — and Lost — the GOP"

As Donald Trump built his lead in the Republican primaries, the editors of National Review came out with an entire “Against Trump” issue, a full-throated — and ultimately ineffective — denunciation of the GOP nominee. Soon conservative media personalities were taking sides, culminating in the hiring of Breitbart’s Steve Bannon to run the Trump campaign. But the centrality of conservative media to presidential politics is not a new development. As early as the 1950s, conservative media...


The Contingencies of Comparison: Rethinking Comparative Media

Brian Larkin and Stefan Andriopoulos draw on the concept of comparison to examine how the same technologies work in radically different ways across the globe, juxtaposing media practices in Africa, Latin America, and Asia as well as in Western centers. There is an assumption that media, whether print, cinema, or digital media, were developed in the West and later exported to other places which were then in the place of ‘catching up’ with a media history that had already been established. But...


Michael Lee: "The Conservative Canon Before and After Trump"

Michael J. Lee charts the vital role of canonical post–World War II (1945–1964) books in generating, guiding, and sustaining conservatism as a political force in the United States. Dedicated conservatives have argued for decades that the conservative movement was a product of print, rather than a march, a protest, or a pivotal moment of persecution. The Road to Serfdom, Ideas Have Consequences, Witness, The Conservative Mind, God and Man at Yale, The Conscience of a Conservative, and other...


The Spiciest Memelord - An Interview with Jeopardy Champ Lilly Chin

"MIT’s Jeopardy champ talks strategy, memes -- and becoming strangers’ media object." In early 2017, Lilly Chin won the Jeopardy College Championship. The MIT senior and Comparative Media Studies minor took home a check for $100,000, but with her Final Jeopardy response “Who is the spiciest memelord?”, she also earned a spot in the same internet lore she studied. We talked to Lilly about that Jeopardy experience and discovered that sudden fame, in a digital world where anyone can reach you...


An Evening With Aparna Nancherla

Named one of Variety’s Ten Comics to Watch for 2016, Aparna Nancherla has racked up appearances on Conan, Last Comic Standing, Inside Amy Schumer, and The Jim Gaffigan Show. A former writer on Late Night with Seth Meyers and Totally Biased with W. Kamau Bell, Nancherla headed to MIT to discuss her career and tackling tough topics with humor. MIT philosophy professor Kieran Setiya moderated.


Barbie and Mortal Kombat 20 Years Later

In Diversifying Barbie and Mortal Kombat, the third edited volume in the series that includes From Barbie to Mortal Kombat and Beyond Barbie and Mortal Kombat, the authors and contributors expand the discussions on gender, race, and sexuality in gaming. They include intersectional perspectives on the experiences of diverse players, non-players and designers and promote inclusive designs for broadening access and participation in gaming, design and development. Contributors from media...


Glorianna Davenport, "The Networked Sensory Landscape Meets the Future of Documentary"

At its heart, documentary cinema has always been an experimental medium. Its evolution has been driven on the one hand by the creativity and interests of the media maker and on the other by technological invention and the evolution of particular sensing, imaging and display technologies. Some insight into the experimental trajectory of the documentary approach can be found in definitions and naming conventions that emerged. Where as John Grierson’s famous definition, the “creative treatment...


Charles Musser, "From Stereopticon to Telephone: The Selling of the President in the Gilded Age"

Contrary to our received notions on the newness of new media, the presidential campaigns of the late nineteenth century witnessed an explosion of media forms as advisers and technicians exploited a variety of forms promote their candidates and platforms, including the stereopticon (a modernized magic lantern), the phonograph, and the telephone. In the process, they set in motion not only a new way of imagining how to market national campaigns and candidates; they also helped to usher in...


Sexual Harassment and Gender Equity in Science

In October, 2015, BuzzFeed News reporter Azeen Ghorayshi broke an investigative story detailing astronomer Geoffrey Marcy’s long history of sexual harassment. Since then, more female scientists have come forward about their experiences with harassment. Ghorayshi, MIT astronomer Sarah Ballard, and Harvard history of science professor Evelynn M. Hammonds join science journalist and MIT Communications Forum coordinator Christina Couch to discuss barriers to gender equality in the sciences and...


Paul Roquet: "Desktop Reveries: Hand, Software, and the Space of Japanese Artist Animation"

[Videos mentioned in this podcast are available for viewing at] Independent animators often pride themselves on an intimate, hand-drawn aesthetic. But they increasingly rely on computer software not only to accelerate their workflow, but to manipulate the look and feel of their drawings. Compositing software enables subtle but decisive shifts in the spaces portrayed, through manipulations of color, texture, line, and movement....


Race and Racism in the 2016 Presidential Election

The 2016 Presidential election brought issues of race and racism to the forefront of American politics and forced journalists to confront how to cover these topics without providing a platform for hate groups. Slate chief political correspondent and CBS News political analyst Jamelle Bouie joins MIT Communications Forum director Seth Mnookin to explore how race and ethnicity framed the election and how journalists and content creators can improve coverage of these issues moving forward....


Nathan Matias: "Authoritarian and Democratic Data Science in an Experimenting Society"

How will the role of data science in democracy be transformed as software expands the public’s ability to conduct our own experiments at scale? In the 1940s-70s, debates over authoritarian uses of statistics led to new paradigms in social psychology, management theory, and policy evaluation. Today, large-scale social experiments and predictive modeling are reviving these debates. Technology platforms now conduct hundreds of undisclosed experiments per day on pricing and advertising, and the...


Exploratory Programming for the Arts and Humanities

MIT professor Nick Montfort talks about his new book and how learning to explore code isn't just for the tech-inclined -- programming can be a way for arts and humanities scholars to discover answers...and questions...they've never seen before. Music: Algorithmically generated with WolframTones:


Kishonna Gray, "#Misogynoir, #SolidarityIsForWhiteWomen, and other forms of Black Digital Feminisms"

Women of color have a variety of responses when employing digital technologies for empowerment. New communication technologies have expanded the opportunities and potential for marginalized communities to mobilize in this context counter to the dominant, mainstream media. This growth reflects the mobilization of marginalized communities within virtual and real spaces reflecting a systematic change in who controls the narrative. No longer are mainstream media the only disseminators of...


André Brock: "Black + Twitter: A Cultural Informatics Approach"

Chris Sacca, activist investor, recently argued that Black Twitter IS Twitter. For example, African American usage of the service often dominates user metrics in the United States, despite their minority demographic numbers as computer users. This talk by André Brock unpacks Black Twitter use from two perspectives: analysis of the interface and associated practice alongside discourse analysis of Twitter’s utility and audience. Using examples of Black Twitter practice, Brock offers that...


Fall 2016 Alumni Panel

Hear from four alums of the graduate program in Comparative Media Studies as they discuss their experience at MIT and what their careers have looked like in the fields a CMS degree prepared them for. Panelists include: Andres Lombana-Bermudez, ’08, a researcher and designer working at the intersection of digital technology, youth, and learning. Andres holds a Ph.D. in Media Studies from UT-Austin, an M.Sc. in Comparative Media Studies, and bachelor’s degrees in Political Science and...