Jenny Cool a social anthropologist and ethnographic filmmaker whose work focuses on cultural production and reproduction in the U.S. and on dominant social imaginaries, such as the American dream of homeownership and the narrative of social revolution through technology. The first is the subject of her film Home Economics: a documentary of suburbia, which premiered nationally on the PBS Television series POV in 1995. The second is the focus of her current work on the ethnography and cultural history of networked social media. She is an Assistant Professor (Teaching) of Anthropology, at the Unverisity of Southern California, where she leads a one-year MA program in Visual Anthropology (http://dornsife.usc.edu/anth/masters-in-visual-anthropology/)
Born in the Philippines and raised in South and Southeast Asia, Cool has worked in new media since 1992 when she wrote and produced chapters for Evolution/Revolution, part of the Columbus Project, a milestone multimedia title now on permanent display at the Library of Congress. From 1993 to 2003, she lived and worked as a participant-observer in Cyborganic, an intentional community of web geeks whose members brought Wired magazine online, launched Hotwired, the first ad-supported online magazine, led the open source Apache project, and staffed and started dozens of Internet enterprises, such as Craig's List, during the first phase of the Web's development as a popular platform. She have produced web media for Simon and Schuster and Institute for the Future, was a senior producer at Netscape, and Director of New Media at Disney/ABC Cable Networks from 1999-2001.
Her fields include digital media, Internet culture, ethnographic filmmaking, critical theories of representation, and feminist theory. She holds a B.A. in Anthropology from Harvard, and a Ph.D. in Anthropology from the University of Southern California. Cool has taught in the Cinema Department at San Francisco State University, and in both Studio Arts and Information and Computer Science at the University of California, Irvine. She is currently at the Center for Visual Anthropology at the University of Southern California (USC), where she teach leads a new Masters program in Visual Anthropology.
Films by Jenny Cool
An ethnographic look at suburban sprawl and its social costs