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Conference to probe future of media studies

As filmmaking enters its second century, the field of media studies faces challenges on many fronts. Are the tools developed to talk about art cinema still adequate to talk about cyberspace? What can approaches generated by the humanities contribute to understanding of new media that are different from those offered by computer science or business school paradigms?

Inspired by the ever-changing media brought on by the digital revolution, Henry Jenkins, media interpreter and associate professor of literature, believed the time was right to assess the state of media education in the United States and examine how the academy might contribute to public understanding of this revolution.

The result is "The Future of Media Studies: A Conference," which will bring together leading media experts from major American universities and the private sector to discuss the current state and potential direction of media studies as an academic discipline. The conference, hosted by the School of Humanities and Social Science program in film and media studies, will take place in Killian Hall on Friday and Saturday, October 13 and 14.

The conference will feature six panels examining the institutionalization of film studies, new directions in cinema stuides, television and popular culture, the proliferation of new media, links between ethnography and media studies and national, international and transnational media.

Opening remarks will be given by Professor Jenkins and closing remarks will be given by William Mitchell, dean of the School of Architecture and Planning. MIT faculty members on the panels include Professors David Thorburn (literature); Michael Fischer (Science, Technology and Society), Edward Baron Turk and Martin Roberts (foreign languages and literatures). Shoggy Waryn and Janet Murray of foreign languages and literatures and Amy Bruckman, a graduate student in media arts and sciences, also will participate.

Special programs will be presented on both evenings of the conference. On Friday at 8 pm, Martin Marks, associate professor in music and theater arts, will show clips from several silent science fiction films and discuss past and future styles of musical accompaniment. Live music will be provided by ensembles featuring MIT faculty and students.

On Saturday evening in Rms 14E-304 and 14E-310 Professor Peter Donaldson of literature will moderate four demonstrations of interactive technologies developed at MIT, including his own Interactive Shakespeare.

The conference is sponsored by the Dean of the School of Humanities and Social Sciences and co-sponsored by the MIT Communications Forum. The conference is free and open to the public; no registration is required. For further information, call x3-2873.

A version of this article appeared in MIT Tech Talk on September 27, 1995.

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