October 27, 2001
5:00 - 7:00 p.m.
MIT Media Lab
20 Ames Street
The democratic potential of new media depends in part on their
capacity to empower groups that historically have had a limited
voice in politics. Some American teenagers are now exploring
the power of the Internet in imaginative ways. Examples include
Peacefire, mobilizing arguments against the censorship effects
of software filters; the anti-smoking Truth campaign; the Goth
community's organized challenge to the post-Columbine moral
panic. These instances of collective political action illustrate
something of the way in which digital media have enabled teens
to make a difference in national and even international policy
debates. This forum will combine scholarly perspectives on teen
culture on the Web with front-line accounts by youth activists
about how they have deployed the resources of new media.
has been publishing reports on blocking-software technology
on the Peacefire.org Web site since 1996. Peacefire's reports,
featured on a variety of news outlets, have been used as evidence
in court cases challenging the constitutionality of blocking
software in public libraries. He works as a contract hacker,
finding and fixing security holes in Internet servers and applications.
Henry Jenkins is the Ann Fetter Friedlaender Professor of
Humanities and director of the Program in Comparative Media
Studies. His books include From Barbie to Mortal Kombat,
The Children's Culture Reader, and Hop on Pop: The
Politics and Pleasures of Popular Culture. He writes about
the intersection of culture and technology in his column, "The
Digital Renaissance," in Technology Review.
Christine Ortiz is a founding member of both the Florida
SWAT/Truth and National Truth campaigns about the dangers of
smoking. An MIT sophomore majoring in Chemical Engineering and
Political Science, Ortiz is a consultant to many state and national
social-change campaigns including the American Legacy Foundation.
teaches in the communication department at Boston College, where
her latest research addresses adolescent Internet use, especially
personal home pages. Stern received her Ph.D. in mass communication
research from the School of Journalism and Mass Communication
at the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill.