First Alliance Publication Goes Live with MIT!
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.
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 free online via MIT Press.
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.Â The video-book also served as an early prototype of the authoring platform, Scalar, currently under development by the Alliance.
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 corporate culture.
> 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?”