January 28, 2008
Looking at the National PCA/ACA Conference: Interesting Presentations (1 of 2)

In the past couple of posts, I wrote in preview of the SCMS conference that I'll be presenting at in March. Later that month, I'm also going to be traveling to the annual national joint conference of the Popular Culture Association and American Culture Association, which takes place this year in San Francisco.

I am one of only two people affiliated with the Convergence Culture Consortium participating in a panel at the conference, joined by C3 Consulting Researcher Ted Hovet from Western Kentucky University.

In scanning through the panels, a variety of speakers I know caught my eye, and I thought I'd pass these presentations along to the blog readership as well, in case some of you are coming to the PCA meeting as well. If you are, please drop me a line at samford@mit.edu, and let me know of particular panels that you think might be of interest to the blog readers as a whole, since our comments section is currently down. I thought I'd include some presentations of interest from the first couple of days in this post, and I'll put some from Friday and Saturday up later today.

The conference runs March 19-22. On Wednesday, March 19, a friend of mine (Bryce McNeil from Georgia State University) and one of his colleagues (Shane Toepfer) will be presenting a paper called "'He's a Rattlesnake but He's One Tough S.O.B.': Establishing the Fluidity of Professional Wrestling Character Types," as part of the Television III panel, entitled "Friends and Other Strangers." Bryce came up to speak to my pro wrestling class last spring here at MIT. Other topics on that panel will include--as the title indicates--Friends and a presentation from the University of Arizona's Dalyn Luedtke, who is discussing "The Rhetoric of the Spectacle."

From 6:30 p.m. to 8 p.m. on Wednesday night, Ted Hovet will be chairing a panel entitled "Popular History in American Culture II: Unconventional Approaches to the American Dream," which includes presentations from WKU's Sara Herndon and Mattea C. Carver as well, in addition to Emily K. Gibson from the University of Massachusetts-Amherst. WKU's Anthony Harkins is serving as respondent.
On Thursday, bright and early from 8 a.m. until 9:30 a.m., Clayton Childress will be chairing the Internet Culture V panel, entitled "Storytelling and Meaning Making." Childress' presentation for the panel is called "Meaning Making in Pro-Anorexic Journaling: A Case Study." Childress is co-authoring a piece with Denise Bielby for the for the soaps anthology Abigail Derecho and I are co-editing. The panel will also deal with South Korean blogs and Lonelygirl15, among other topics. Jason Tocci, who I met through this blog, is chairing the Digital Games V panel from 10 a.m. until 11:30 a.m., called "Drugs and Violence." His presentation will be called "Getting 1UP on Death: Failure and Consequences in Narrative Video Games." Other presentations looks at video games and steroids, alienation, and violence.

From 12:30 p.m. until 2 p.m., Carol Williams--who I know through soap opera scholarship--is chairing the Travel Culture III panel, making a presentation called "1000 Places to Visit Before You Die...Which Are Yours?" Simultaneously, Bob Lochte from Murray State University back in Kentucky--who I've had the pleasure of corresponding with on numerous occasions--is presenting "'The Eisenhower Hour': The Experience of Real Fifties Radio," as part of the Radio in Popular Culture III panel.

From 2:30 p.m. until 4 p.m. on Thursday, Jes Battis of City University of New York--who I became familiar with through Henry Jenkins' gender and fan culture conversation last year, is making a presentation entitled "Queer Future: The Writing-Lives of Gay and Lesbian Teens," as part of the Gay, Lesbian, & Queer Studies III panel, entitled "Youth Culture." In competition with that panel, Bob Lochte is chairing the Radio in Popular Culture IV panel, which includes discussions of American radio in the Pacific War, community radio in Aboriginal Australia, radio during the Rwandan genocide, and, Voice of America.

On Thursday evening, David Feldman of Imponderables fame and a regular Consortium blog reader who shares an interest in American soap operas, is chairing the Travel Culutre IV panel, called "Chowhounds in San Francisco," which includes a presentation by San Francisco Chowhounds, followed by a tour of some favorite nearby restaurants. The panel begins at 6:30 p.m.

Meanwhile, a former professor of mine--Marjorie Yambor from Western Kentucky University--will be chairing the Television VIII panel, entitled Animation and Real Life?, from 8:30 p.m. until 10 p.m. on Thursday evening. Marjorie's presentation, called "South Park: Privileging the Power of the Puerile," will be joined by other presentations on Smallville, Melinda Clarke (of The OC fame, among myriad other television appearances, including a memorable recurring role on CSI), and Tyra Banks.
At the same time, fellow soaps scholar Diane Calhoun-French from the Jefferson Community and Technical College will be participating in the Film and Media Studies I panel, with a presentation entitled "Dinosaurs, Aliens, Comets, Cataclysms, and Daddies: Fatherhood as Subtext in Adventure and Disaster Films from 1993 to the Present."