Thanks to Kiersten for being my 4000th comment!
Henry Jenkins is perhaps the most prominent scholar in the country devoted to examining pastimes often deemed profoundly frivolous.
As director of the Comparative Media Center at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Jenkins has played a leading role over the past two decades in studying manifestations of popular culture such as video games and fan communities. His conclusions have helped put them squarely into a historical context of artistic and creative activities.
Much of his latest work, including an upcoming book titled “Convergence Culture,” deals with the shifting relationship between audiences and big content producers like Hollywood studios. Aided by new digital production technologies and the distribution power of the Web, fan communities are increasingly creating their own sophisticated works–fiction, films and games–based on the big content producers’ original characters.
This is uncomfortable for some in the culture industries, which aren’t accustomed to this two-way street. While the game business is adapting fast, Hollywood is still profoundly conflicted about how to deal with the creative fan armed with a digital video camera, a Web site and his or her own ideas for a new story, Jenkins says.