Henry Jenkins joins USC from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, where he was Peter de Florez Professor in the Humanities. He directed MIT’s Comparative Media Studies graduate degree program from 1993-2009, setting an innovative research agenda during a time of fundamental change in communication, journalism and entertainment. As one of the first media scholars to chart the changing role of the audience in an environment of increasingly pervasive digital content, Jenkins has been at the forefront of understanding the effects of participatory media on society, politics and culture. His research gives key insights to the success of social-networking Web sites, networked computer games, online fan communities and other advocacy organizations, and emerging news media outlets. Jenkins has also played a central role in demonstrating the importance of new media technologies in educational settings. At MIT, he led a consortium of educators and business leaders promoting the educational benefits of computer games, and oversaw a research group working to help teach 21st century literacy skills to high school students through documentary videos. He also has worked closely with the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation to shape a media literacy program designed to explore the effects of participatory media on young people, and reveal potential new pathways for education through emerging digital media.
Paromita Sengupta has a BA and an MA in English Literature from Jadavpur University, and an MA in Media Studies from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. She enjoys studying the narratives and affective bonds which exist between members of online communities. Her current research focuses on the intersection of activism and pedagogy. She is interested in studying how participatory action creates spaces for alternative ways of engaging in political action, such as through humor, storytelling and mischief-making.
Kari Storla is interested in the intersection of rhetoric, gender, and trauma, with a focus on sexual assault and sexual assault prevention. In particular, she is interested in exploring the ways efforts to stop sexual assault can inadvertently reinscribe the rape myths they work to dismantle. Kari earned her B.A. in speech from Georgia State University. Her undergraduate honors thesis examined the online self-identification of girl gamers and gamer girls. More recently, her paper “Cure for rape culture: Homeopathy, allopathy, and the construction of rape seen through a Burkean perspective” won a top student papers award in its division at the 2014 NCA Conference. In addition to her research, Kari is passionate about teaching, serving as one of the TA Fellows at USC’s Center for Excellence in Teaching.
Emilia Yang is an activist, artist, and militant researcher. Yang is currently a Ph.D. student in Media Arts + Practice in the School of Cinematic Arts at the University of Southern California. Her work has been interconnected with digital communications, performance, and public art. Her research focuses on participatory culture and its relationship to media, arts, and design. She is interested in transmedia storytelling framed through the question of how it can foster social change and civic engagement. Her art practice utilizes site-specific interactive installations, interactive documentaries, performance, and urban interventions, all of which explore social justice issues in participatory ways. Emilia completed an M.A in Communications at Penn State University. Her Master’s project researched the first social media protest to make it to the streets in her home country Nicaragua. She developed a participatory transmedia storytelling hub in a site called ocupainss.org with the objective to present the maximum number of stories and violations of human rights around this protest.
Yining Zhou is a candidate for the dual degree master program in Global Communication at the Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism at USC. She received her B.A. in Journalism at Renmin University of China. After moving to Europe, she received training in cultural studies, screenwriting and children literature in Madrid and London. For her MSc thesis at the London School of Economics and Political Science, she studied how diasporic Chinese youths adopt online communication tools to engage in the environmental issues in homeland, through which these young diasporas confirm, construct and express the diverse layers of their identities. Now, she is studying at USC, focusing on social marketing and digital storytelling, to complete the second year of her program. She is a member of the World Building Media Lab at USC for the ongoing project Makoko 2036, working as a narrative designer. As an aspiring storyteller, Yining is committed to creating compelling stories about cultural integration and synthesis. She is also an enthusiast for animation.