Henry Jenkins

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For other people named Henry Jenkins, see Henry Jenkins (disambiguation).
Henry Jenkins
Henry Jenkins SRN.jpg
Born (1958-06-04) June 4, 1958 (age 56)
Atlanta, Georgia, United States
Education MA, Communication Studies; Ph.D., Communication Arts
Alma mater University of Iowa, University of Wisconsin–Madison
Occupation University Professor
Years active 1992-present
Employer University of Southern California
Known for Theories of "world-making" and "media convergence"
Title Provost's Professor of Communication, Journalism and Cinematic Arts

Henry Jenkins III (born June 4, 1958) is an American media scholar and currently a Provost Professor of Communication, Journalism, and Cinematic Arts, a joint professorship at the USC Annenberg School for Communication and the USC School of Cinematic Arts.[1] Previously, he was the Peter de Florez Professor of Humanities and Co-Director of the MIT Comparative Media Studies program with William Uricchio. He is also author of several books, including Convergence Culture: Where Old and New Media Collide, Textual Poachers: Television Fans and Participatory Culture and What Made Pistachio Nuts?: Early Sound Comedy and the Vaudeville Aesthetic.

Personal life and education[edit]

Jenkins did his undergraduate work at Georgia State University, where he majored in Political Science and Journalism. He earned his MA in Communication Studies from the University of Iowa and his PhD in Communication Arts from the University of Wisconsin–Madison. He and his wife Cynthia Jenkins were housemasters of the Senior House dorm at MIT before their relocation to the University of Southern California in July 2009. They have one son, Henry Jenkins IV.[citation needed]

Research fields[edit]

Jenkins' research explores the boundary between text and reader, the growth of fan cultures and world-making, "the process of designing a fictional universe that will sustain franchise development, one that is sufficiently detailed to enable many different stories to emerge but coherent enough so that each story feels like it fits with the others".[2]

Currently, Jenkins is involved in Project New Media Literacy where he discusses the importance of assessing the technology around us, and incorporating the idea of living in a participatory culture. "The NML conceptual framework includes an understanding of challenges, new media literacies, and participatory forms. This framework guides thinking about how to provide adults and youth with the opportunity to develop the skills, knowledge, ethical framework, and self-confidence needed to be full participants in the cultural changes which are taking place in response to the influx of new media technologies, and to explore the transformations and possibilities afforded by these technologies to reshape education."[3] Jenkins introduces a range of social skills and cultural competencies that are fundamental for meaningful participation in a participatory culture. Terms that he discusses more extensively include: appropriation (education), collective intelligence, distributed cognition, judgment, negotiation, networking, performance, simulation, transmedia navigation, participation gap, the transparency problem, and the ethics problem.

More recently, Jenkins' research has focused on how individuals in contemporary culture themselves tap into and combine numerous different media sources. He suggests that media convergence be understood as a cultural process, rather than a technological end-point. Jenkins discussed media convergence in his 2006 book Convergence Culture: Where Old and New Media Collide and the founding of the Convergence Culture Consortium research group at the Comparative Media Studies program at MIT. "In the world of media convergence, every important story gets told, every brand gets sold, and every consumer gets courted across multiple media platforms” –Henry Jenkins.[4]

Henry Jenkins suggests how the new media will transform itself as Internet will be an easy and accessible mechanism to citizens. He argues that convergence is not just related to technology, which works within certain devices.From his point of view, convergence is a new way for people to reach instant information that allows an immediate media involvement of all over the world. Moreover, convergence has made a remarkable modification in the way media is produced and consumed nowadays as people desire to be part of it - everyone has the ability to share their opinion or become writers, for example. People do not want to consume, they want to participate. Henry Jenkins tells us how convergence media could work well if we would work as a team. His use of successful and famous media properties such as Harry Potter, Star Wars, American Idol and The Sims help ground the book for readers as well as serving to add a layer of excitement.

Jenkins' research also includes critical video game studies. In his article, "Complete freedom of Movement": Video Games as "Gendered Play Spaces," he discusses the cultural geography of video game spaces. He investigates as to what draws boys to video games and whether girls should feel the same attraction. Inspired by such cultural critics as Gilbert Seldes who believed that cinema was unfairly victimized during his time for being a rising new medium.[5][6]

He has also written extensively about the effects of interactivity, particularly computer games, and "games for learning", and in this capacity was called to testify before Congress in 1999. This work ultimately led to the founding of the Education Arcade group, also at the MIT Comparative Media Studies program.[citation needed] In 2012 Henry Jenkins went on a lecture tour of Western Europe [7][8]

Henry Jenkins touring Western Europe, 2012

Jenkins's forms of participatory culture:
Affiliations — memberships, formal and informal, in online communities centered around various forms of media, such as Friendster, Facebook, message boards, metagaming, game clans, or MySpace).
Expressions — producing new creative forms, such as digital sampling, skinning and modding, fan videomaking, fan fiction writing, zines, mash-ups).
Collaborative Problem-solving — working together in teams, formal and informal, to complete tasks and develop new knowledge (such as through Wikipedia, alternative reality gaming, spoiling).
Circulations — Shaping the flow of media (such as podcasting, blogging).[9]


He was featured in both Electronic Gaming Monthly and Game Informer magazines, where he was asked about the effects of violence in video games. He offered a very different perspective from Jack Thompson's.[citation needed]

On May 12, 2009, a socially networked artwork called Will Henry Jenkins Hear About It? was underway. It features bottles in the sea with the message "Will Henry Jenkins hear about it?" and posting the same message through different social networks to see if Henry Jenkins will come across the message.[citation needed]


  • Jenkins, Henry (1992). What Made Pistachio Nuts?: Early Sound Comedy and the Vaudeville Aesthetic. New York: Columbia University Press. p. 416. ISBN 0-231-07855-2. 
  • Jenkins, Henry (1992). Textual Poachers: Television Fans & Participatory Culture. Studies in culture and communication. New York: Routledge. p. 343. ISBN 0-415-90571-0. 
  • Jenkins, Henry (1995). Classical Hollywood Comedy. AFI film readers. New York: Routledge. p. 430. ISBN 0-415-90639-3. 
  • Jenkins, Henry (ed. with Justine Cassell) (1998). From Barbie to Mortal Kombat: Gender and Computer Games. Cambridge, Mass: MIT Press. p. 360. ISBN 0-262-03258-9. 
  • Jenkins, Henry (1998). The Children's Culture Reader. New York: New York University Press. p. 532. ISBN 0-8147-4231-9. 
  • Jenkins, Henry (2002). Hop on Pop: The Politics and Pleasures of Popular Culture. Duke University Press. p. 748. ISBN 0-8223-2737-6. 
  • Jenkins, Henry (2003). Rethinking Media Change: The Aesthetics of Transition. Media in transition. Cambridge, Mass.: MIT Press. p. 404. ISBN 0-262-20146-1. 
  • Jenkins, Henry (ed. with David Thorburn) (2003). Democracy and New Media. Cambridge, Mass.: MIT Press. p. 385. ISBN 0-262-10101-7. 
  • Jenkins, Henry (2006). Convergence Culture: Where Old and New Media Collide. New York: New York University Press. p. 308. ISBN 0-8147-4281-5. 
  • Jenkins, Henry (2006). Fans, Bloggers, and Gamers: Exploring Participatory Culture. New York: New York University Press. p. 279. ISBN 0-8147-4284-X. 
  • Jenkins, Henry (2012), "Quentin Tarantino's Star Wars? Digital Cinema, Media Convergence, and Participatory Culture.", in Durham, Meenakshi Gigi; Kellner, Douglas, Media and cultural studies: keyworks, Malden: Wiley-Blackwell, pp. 567–568, ISBN 9780470658086 
  • Jenkins, Henry (2007). The Wow Climax: Tracing the Emotional Impact of Popular Culture. New York: New York University Press. p. 285. ISBN 0-8147-4282-3. 
  • 2006 White Paper Confronting the Challenges of Participatory Culture: Media Education for the 21st Century.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ http://www.annenbergonlinecommunities.com/jenkinsAPOC
  2. ^ Jenkins, Henry Convergence Culture: Where old and new media collide. New York: New York University Press, 2006
  3. ^ Jenkins, Henry. "Our Methods". USC Annenberg School of Communication and Journalism. Retrieved 19 February 2013. 
  4. ^ Jenkins, Henry. Convergence Culture:Where Old and New Media Collide. New York University. ISBN 9780814742952. 
  5. ^ http://www.news.cornell.edu/releases/July96/KAMMEN.jkg.html
  6. ^ Egenfeldt-Nielsen, Smith, ToscaUnderstanding Video Games: The Essential Introduction.New York and London: Taylor and Francis Group, 2008
  7. ^ "Au Revoir:Heading to Europe May 1, 2012 http://www.henryjenkins.org/". 
  8. ^ "How Content Gains Meaning and Value in the Era of Spreadable Media". June 18, 2012. Retrieved 23 June 2012. 
  9. ^ Jenkins, Henry. "Confronting the Challenges of Participatory Culture: Media Education For the 21st Century". Building the Field of Digital Media and Learning. 

External links[edit]