February 14, 2008
More Notes on the Upcoming Console-ing Passions Conference

At the Console-ing Passions conference in April I wrote about in my previous post, I am participating in a workshop from 10:30 a.m. until noon on Friday, entitled "Gendered Fan Labor in New Media and Old."

My presentation is entitled, "Outside the Target Demographic: Surplus Audiences in Wrestling and Soaps." The workshop is chaired by Bob Rehak from Swarthmore College, who is presenting on "Boys, Blueprints, and Boundaries: Star Trek's Hardware Fandom." The workshop also includes Julie Levin Russo from Brown University, who has a presentation entitled "Labors of Love: Who Charts The L Word?" Louisa Stein from San Diego State University will present "Videogames, Fan Creativity, and Gendered Authorship: Complicating Dichotomies," while Suzanne Scott from the University of Southern California presents "From Filk to Wrock: Performance, Professionalism, and Power in Harry Potter Wizard."

The most frustrating aspect of an academic conference is that one has to choose one panel at the exclusion of others, and most unfortunate for me is that some of the panels that interest me most are taking place in direct competition with my own workshop.

Abigail Derecho of Columbia College Chicago, my co-editor for the collection of essays on the current state and future of soap opera that I've mentioned here before, is presenting at the same tie as me on a panel called "'Most Wired' in a Globalized Arena: Asian Americans, Asia, and New Media," making a presentation entitled "Performing Transnational Anti-Fandom: Filipinos Protesting American Idol, The Daily Show, and Desperate Housewives Online."

Also at the same time is a panel chaired by Elana Levine of the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, another contributor to the soaps project we're putting together, entitled "Legitimating Television." The panel includes the following presentations:

Derek Kompare, Southern Methodist University, "What Is a Showrunner?: Considering Post-Network Television Authorship."

Michael Kackman, University of Texas at Austin, "Quality Television, Lost and Found: Gender & Cultural Value in Formalist Television Studies"

Michael Z. Newman, University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, "Upscaling Television Aesthetics and the Cinematic Analogy"

Elana Levine, University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, "From Domestic Appliance to High-Tech Gadget: Media Convergence and the Masculinization of Television Technology"

In the session from 1:15 p.m. until 2:45 p.m. on Friday, the University of Missouri's Melissa Click will make a presentation enttiled "The Blogosphere and Feminist Media Studies--a Necessary Fit?" This will be part of a panel entitled "Blogospheres and Gendered Relations." Considering Melissa's participation on the gender and fan studies/fan culture conversation on Henry's blog this past summer, having a round of conversation with C3 Research Manager Joshua Green, I'm intrigued by her discussion of this particular topic. (We cross-posted their round on the C3 blog here and here.)

At the same time, there is a panel entitled "Work It: Labor, Gender and Making TV," featuring Miranda Banks from the University of Southern California, presenting "Reappraising the Gender Gap in Television Production Labor." Vicki Mayer of Tulane University will also be participating in the panel, with a presentation called "The Affective Sell and Buy: Reality Casting Calls."

Finally, on Friday, there will be a plenary session entitled "Viral Media and the Politics of Media for Social Change." Considering the work we've been doing on viral media here at the Consortium that will likely continue to be referenced on the blog here in the spring, I'm eager to hear more about the projects being discussed. The plenary session will be from 5 p.m. until 6:30 p.m.

There is one Saturday session which particularly caught my eye. From 10:30 p.m. until noon, there is a panel on "Celebrity Studies," which features a presentation from Alice Leppert and Julie Wilson of the University of Minnesota, entitled "Living The Hills Life: Lauren Conrad as Soap Heroine, Reality Star, and Brand." This will be followed by a plenary session entitled "Women in the Industry" from 2 p.m. until 4 p.m. which doesn't have details currently listed but which could be well worth sitting in on.

Hope some of you all will be able to join me at Console-ing Passions! Registration just opened, so if you are interested in a trip to Santa Barbara, you should sign up. Looks like there will be a lot of great projects discussed as part of the event.