Lecture by Henry Jenkins in SMC | From Cyberpunk to Afrofuturism: Science Fiction Media Movement

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June 16 marked an exciting day for SMC students as they packed into A307 in anticipation of a very special speaker.  A total of nearly 600 people attended the lecture online and offline.



SMC Associate Professor, Professor Li Yungeng and Professor Wu Fang invited Professor Henry Jenkins, Provost Professor at the University of Southern California, to speak on Cyberpund, Steampunk, Solarpunk, and Afrofuturism as alternative cultural movements that have emerged from science fiction and that now extend across literature, film, television, music, arts, fashion, and subculture. Each represents a distinctive way of thinking about the relations between past, present, and future, each created their own aesthetic designed to express what it might feel like to live in a worlds they imagine. This talk is intended as a guide book to the images and influences shaping contemporary science fiction culture and to answer the question of what science fiction can help us to understand about our current moment.


After his presentation, Professor Jenkins had a lively exchange with the teachers, students and online audience, and had in-depth discussions on the role of gender in the entire science fiction media movement, the relationship between steampunk and fandom, the role and challenges of AI-generated art, the impact of globalization on science fiction media movement, the meaning of punk, and cross-media storytelling.


For those unfamiliar with Professor Jenkins, he is currently a Provost Professor of Communication, Journalism, Cinematic Arts and Education at the University of Southern California. He arrived at USC in Fall 2009 after spending more than a decade as the Director of the MIT Comparative Media Studies Program and the Peter de Florez Professor of Humanities. Additionally, he is the author and/or editor of twenty books on various aspects of media and popular culture, including Textual Poachers: Television Fans and Participatory Culture, Convergence Culture: Where Old and New Media Collide etc. His most recent books are Popular Culture and the Civic Imagination: Case Studies of Creative Social Change, and Comics and Stuff.   He has written for Technology Review, Computer Games, Salon, and The Huntington Post.