<videovortex> MIT Press Launches Innovative Video-Book About YouTube
Alex_Juhasz at pitzer.edu
Tue Sep 20 03:59:29 CEST 2011
MIT Press Launches Innovative Video-Book About YouTube
(Cambridge, MA) YouTube, the largest video sharing site in the world,
is viewed by more than two billion people per day, nearly double the
prime time audience of all three major US broadcast networks combined.
YouTube widely promotes that its technology enables the democratic
production and distribution of media content on this huge scale. So
why is YouTube being used primarily to spoof mainstream media forms
and what does this tell us about social media and our society?
The MIT Press, in partnership with the Alliance for Networking Visual
Culture, has just published Learning from YouTube (MIT Press, February
2011), by Alexandra Juhasz, Professor of Media Studies at Pitzer
College in Claremont, California. YouTube is the subject, form,
method, problem, and solution of her video-book: an online inquiry
into today’s media. This is not your typical scholarly book (Learning
from YouTube can never go to paper) Juhasz writes about social media
inside and through it.
This video-book contains a series of more than 200 texts and videos –
“texteos” – that encourage users to think about YouTube by
experiencing and learning within this digital entertainment platform.
Whether in video or textual form, Juhasz writes in a relatively
informal voice suitable to her subject and the online digital format
of the project permits contributions from its users.
Some of the lessons that Juhasz uncovers in Learning from YouTube are:
• YouTube’s architecture and ownership undermine the fundamentals of
academic inquiry -- depth of dialogue, the ability to find and link
data, the ability to sustain intimate and committed community, and
structures of order and discipline.
• YouTube is a good site for entertainment, a postmodern television
tuned to the intimate needs of the individual user.
• YouTube’s architecture and ownership rely upon popularity, humor,
speed, shallowness, celebrity, and distraction.
• YouTube’s standard fare is the funny and fast, ironic or sincere
video that self- referentially refers to dominant media and
• YouTube’s standard fare is also the simple expressed common
knowledge, talents, or feelings of everyday people.
• People use YouTube to waste time but also to meet people,
communicate, share ideas and disseminate art.
• YouTube uses its users to self-censor: what rises and falls
reflects the best and worst of our society’s dominant ideas and
values - usually the worst.
“Media scholars must be able to work within and communicate in the
media they study, which often takes them outside traditional print
forms of scholarship,” said Ellen W. Faran, Director of the MIT
Press. “We believe that Alexandra Juhasz’s video-book is an important
step forward in the exploration of new forms of credentialed
university press scholarship.” Learning from YouTube was selected by
the Press for its publishing list after an extensive peer-review
process adapted to include the video-book form.
Learning from YouTube originated as a course taught by Dr. Juhasz at
Pitzer College beginning in 2007. All class assignments and homework
for the course were created as videos and posted on YouTube and were
open to the public. The course received a flurry of media attention
and answered the question “What can YouTube teach us?”
The video-book was created in partnership with the Alliance for
Networking Visual Culture with design by Craig Dietrich, and was
funded by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation. As the pilot publishing
project in that initiative, it is openly available online at:
About Alexandra Juhasz
Dr. Alexandra Juhasz is Professor of Media Studies at Pitzer College.
She makes and studies committed media practices that contribute to
political change and individual and community growth. She is the
author of AIDS TV: Identity, Community and Alternative Video (Duke
University Press, 1995), Women of Vision: Histories in Feminist Film
and Video (University of Minnesota Press, 2001), F Is for Phony: Fake
Documentary and Truth’s Undoing, coedited with Jesse Lerner
(Minnesota, 2005), and Media Praxis: A Radical Web-Site Integrating
Theory, Practice and Politics, www.mediapraxis.org. She has published
extensively on documentary film and video. Dr. Juhasz is also the
producer of educational videotapes on feminist issues including AIDS
and teen pregnancy. She recently completed the feature documentaries
SCALE: Measuring Might in the Media Age (2008), Video Remains (2005),
and Dear Gabe (2003) as well as Women of Vision: 18 Histories in
Feminist Film and Video (1998) and the shorts, RELEASED: 5 Short
Videos about Women and Film (2000) and Naming Prairie (2001), a
Sundance Film Festival, 2002, official selection. She is the producer
of the feature films The Watermelon Woman (Cheryl Dunye, 1997) and The
Owls (Dunye, 2010).
About The Alliance for Networking Visual Culture
The Alliance for Networking Visual Culture is an Andrew W. Mellon-
funded initiative supporting the development of common tools and a
digital platform for multimedia scholarship.
About the MIT Press:
One of the most respected university presses in the world, the MIT
Press is known for quality, innovation, and distinctive design. It
publishes, in print and electronic form, about 200 new books a year
and more than 30 journals. The Press publishes in selected diverse
fields including art and architecture; cognitive science; computer
science; economics; neuroscience; and new media. It is noted for its
commitment to emerging fields of scholarship, its international
outreach, and for its pioneering of digital projects.
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