Professor of literature; director, MIT Communications Forum
David Thorburn is a professor of literature at MIT and director of the MIT Communications Forum.
His most recent books (co-edited with Henry Jenkins) are Democracy and New Media and Rethinking Media Change, the launch volumes in the MIT Press series "Media in Transition" of which he is editor in chief. Other writings include Conrad's Romanticism and many essays and reviews on literature and media in such publications as Partisan Review, Commentary, The New York Times and The American Prospect as well as scholarly journals. He has published poetry in such magazines as The Atlantic Monthly, Threepenny Review and Slate. His essays on television, written in the late 1970s and early 1980s, and his course, "American Television: A Cultural History," were among the first in the country to examine the medium in a humanistic context. He has also edited collections of essays on romanticism and on John Updike as well as a widely used anthology of fiction, Initiation.
Thorburn was the founder and for 12 years the director of the MIT Film and Media Studies Program, the ancestor of the Comparative Media Studies Program, MIT's first graduate program in the humanities. Founded 25 years ago, the MIT Communications Forum sponsors lectures, panel discussions and occasional conferences devoted to the political and cultural impact of communications, with special emphasis on emerging technologies. Thorburn has been the Forum's director since 1996.
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