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Scenes from The University of Rhode Island

URI's 2008 lecture on multiculturalism explores the digital divide

Media Contact: Jhodi Redlich, 401-874-4500

Film, media studies scholar to speak about the digital divide

KINGSTON, R.I. -- February 6, 2008 -- Anna Everett, one of the nation's leading scholars on the effects of race, ethnicity, and digital media technologies on young people, will deliver the University of Rhode Island's thirteenth annual lecture on multiculturalism. Her talk, "Wanna Play? Race, Gaming, Youth and the Digital Paradigm Shift," will be presented on Tuesday, Feb. 19 at 7:30 p.m. in Room 271, Chafee Social Science Center on URI's Kingston Campus. The talk is free and open to the public.

Research on the "digital divide" indicates that socioeconomic status may restrict access to digital media technologies, such as video games, blogs, social networking websites, online databases, text messaging, and listservs. In addition to these socioeconomic disparities, recent studies suggest that stereotypical images of race, gender, ethnicity, and sexual orientation are being reproduced and disseminated by current practices and use, sometimes constituting a primary means by which young people learn attitudes about cultural diversity. Despite the divides, digital media holds tremendous potential for enhancing learning because these new media enable learners to actively produce and consume cultural content.

Everett is a professor and chair of film and media studies at the University of California at Santa Barbara. She is also a member of a cohort of researchers, activists, and youths invited by the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation to contribute to its $50 million initiative on the effects of digital technologies are changing the ways young people think, learn, work, play, network, and engage in civic life. Among her books are: Returning the Gaze: A Genealogy of Black Film Criticism, 1909-1949 (2001); New Media: Theories and Practices of Digitextuality (with John Caldwell) (2003); AfroGEEKS: Beyond the Digital Divide (with Amber Wallace) (2007); and Learning Race and Ethnicity: Youth and Digital Media (2007). Her articles and book chapters include, "Serious Play: Playing with Race in Contemporary Gaming Culture," Handbook of Computer Game Studies (2005), and "The Revolution Will Be Digitized: Afrocentricity and the Digital Public Sphere," Social Text (2002). She is founding editor of Screening Noir Online, an e-newsletter of film, video, and new media from the African Diaspora. In 2001, she occupied the Belle van Zuylen Chair in Women's Studies and New Media Studies at the University of Utrecht in the Netherlands. In 2005, she was a Fulbright Senior Scholar at the University of the Center in Kairouan, Tunisia. As lead organizer for four academic conferences, she has received grants from the Ford and Rockefeller Foundations.

Everett earned a bachelor's degree in radio, film, and television from San Jose State University (1991), a master's degree in film and critical studies from the University of California at Los Angeles (1993), and a doctorate in cinema, television, and critical studies from the University of Southern California (1996).

Sponsors of the lecture include URI's Multicultural Center, the Office of the President, the Division of Student Affairs, Uhuru SaSa, and the NAACP.