S. Craig Watkins studies young people's social and digital media behaviors. He is a Professor at the University of Texas, Austin, in the department of Radio-Television-Film. Craig is also a Faculty Fellow for the Division of Diversity and Community Engagement at the University of Texas at Austin. He received his PhD from the University of Michigan.
Craig is the author of three books. His most recent work, The Young and the Digital: What the Migration to Social Network Sites, Games, and Anytime, Anywhere Media Means for Our Future (Beacon 2009), explores young people's dynamic engagement with social media, games, mobile phones, and platforms like Facebook. His other books include Hip Hop Matters: Politics, Pop Culture and the Struggle for the Soul of a Movement (Beacon Press 2005), and Representing: Hip Hop Culture and the Production of Black Cinema (The University of Chicago Press 1998).
He also blogs for the Huffington Post and DML Central, the online presence for the Digital Media and Learning Research Hub located at the systemwide University of California Humanities Research Institute and hosted at the UC Irvine campus.
His forthcoming book (2015) is based on an ethnographic inquiry into the evolving worlds of digital media, education, and social inequality in the U.S. The book takes on some of the established ideas and notions related to the rise of STEM learning and the complex role of games and other technologies in our schools, the role of digital media and social capital in young people’s informal learning ecologies, and how the media behaviors of black and Latino youth--their adoption of mobile, creative investments in digital media, and struggle to find opportunity in the network world—compel a reconsideration of longstanding ideas about technology, social inequality, and social mobility. The book is written with the team of graduate students who worked on the project.
Craig is a member of the MacArthur Foundation's Connected Learning Research Network. Currently he is working on two fronts. First, he is collaborating with a team of graduate student researchers, designers, and filmmakers to explore how young people are leveraging digital media and social networks to build dynamic innovation ecologies that are remaking how we think about learning, work, and the future of opportunity in our knowledge economy. His second initiative is aligning with several partners including The Moody College of Communication, the Chief Information Officer from the City of Austin, and designers to create a social studio that connects young people’s engagement with social and civic technologies to design challenges that encourage real world problem-solving. See doinginnovation.org.
For updates on research and projects visit his website, theyoungandthedigital.com.