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Jan. 10th, 2006 @ 11:33 am VM and Feminism lecture
Any VM fans out there in the Atlanta area? Apparently I'm not the only one interested in talking about Veronica Mars and feminism, and it's quite the hot topic.

In April the Popular Culture Association will be having its annual conference and, I kid you not, here is one of the lectures:

"We used to be friends": Third-Wave
Feminism and Veronica Mars
Tim Burke, University of South Florida


The conference is at the Atlanta Marriott Marquis and the VM lecture will be on Thursday, April 13. Scroll through the full Conference Program for more info. Buffy, BSG, even Desperate Housewives, you name it, it's all there. They give out Ph.Ds for this stuff? I should head back to graduate school for a Ph.D in Buffy and Veronica studies.
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magnolia888:
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From:fantome14
Date:January 10th, 2006 04:57 pm (UTC)
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Pop culture studies are becoming more and more popular in academia. I don't know how many pop culture grad programs there are--often these papers are by people studying in more "legit" fields like English and Philosophy. I myself have been wanting to write something on Nip/Tuck when I have time (I am a PhD. student in English.)
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From:magnolia888
Date:January 10th, 2006 05:07 pm (UTC)
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I knew that pop culture topics were becoming more popular, but I've been out of school for a while and I had no idea of the breadth of stuff out there.

Some of these lectures sound interesting to me (as a pop culture fanatic), but some of it starts to sound a little ridiculous. I think the creators of South Park would laugh their asses off at the idea that somebody in grad school was teaching a course in Kyle and Cartman. ;)
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From:bluehyacinth
Date:January 11th, 2006 12:26 am (UTC)
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I am actually presenting at this conference, but on science fiction young adult lit. Last year I presented on Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind.

And, speaking from inside academia, this is the Popular Culture Association conference and while Popular Culture topics are becoming a bit more, um, popular, there is still a bias against those that study them within the university. So they usually have other more canonical interests as well. PCA is a nice chance to not have to disguise one's less "lofty" interests or have to remind one's colleagues that Chaucer and Shakespeare were once Popular Culture.

Louis de Bonald said "Literature is the language of society, as speech is the language of man." And if we construe literature broadly into artistic expression, well, killing Kenny off and talking Christmas Poo is worth attention.

I was only surprised that there was only one conference paper on VM.
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From:magnolia888
Date:January 11th, 2006 12:37 am (UTC)
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Louis de Bonald said "Literature is the language of society, as speech is the language of man." And if we construe literature broadly into artistic expression, well, killing Kenny off and talking Christmas Poo is worth attention.

LOL. I both agree with this and find it endlessly amusing at the same time.

Thanks for the info from "the inside," so to speak. I am very interested in the topic of VM and feminism, and I was pleasantly surprised that VM is on the pop culture radar enough to merit an academic presentation already. Too bad it's only one, as you say. The stuff on Buffy could fill an entire conference (and probably has filled many before).

So are these presentations just people reading their papers? Is there any opportunity for discussion?
From:(Anonymous)
Date:January 11th, 2006 12:57 am (UTC)
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It is just people presenting their papers. There is usually discussion afterwards, divided among the papers on the panel, consisting of people in the audience asking the writers questions about their work.
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From:bluehyacinth
Date:January 11th, 2006 12:58 am (UTC)
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Someone reads their paper. The audience claps and then asks questions.

So there is opportunity for discussion. More than that, the Q&A often reveals people of similar interests to one another and the discussion spills into the hall, etc.

You may notice that some of the presenters are listed as "Independent Scholars." Some of these are unaffiliated academics, and some of them are simply people interested in the topic.

As far as Buffy, there have been several conferences, and a few just on Buffy fandom. A few years ago I helped edit one of the many academic article collections on the show (a book that is still languishing in academic press hell).
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From:asim
Date:January 10th, 2006 05:17 pm (UTC)
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Oh, damn. And I'm only 4 hours from ATL...and I have friends in the area.

Wonder if I could get Friday off.
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From:fantome14
Date:January 10th, 2006 05:45 pm (UTC)
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This is not directed at you per se, since I don't know if you're an academic or not, but I'd be willing to bet that even papers at a pop culture conference are pretty boring unless you're an academic. Plus you'd probably have to pay the $135 registration fee, which is probably not worth it to hear one paper read.
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From:bluehyacinth
Date:January 11th, 2006 12:30 am (UTC)
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Many of the papers at PCA are less, ahem, boring than at a lot of other academic conferences.
Last year there was a panel on Marketing and Star Wars that included passing around posable action figures.
Seriously.
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From:fantome14
Date:January 11th, 2006 12:38 am (UTC)
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I don't mean boring in terms of topics. I just mean that any paper filled with academic jargon (like one on "Third Wave Feminism") would probably be boring to someone who doesn't understand or care about academic jargon. It really depends on the quality and clarity of the writing, which you can't know about until you get there and hear it.
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From:magnolia888
Date:January 11th, 2006 12:47 am (UTC)
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I figured that anyone attending a lecture called "Third-wave Feminism and Veronica Mars" should at least have a basic familiarity with "third-wave feminism."

I don't have a Ph.D in Women's Studies, but I would hope that would not be necessary to get something out of the presentation. I do have an encyclopedic knowledge of VM, so that should help I would think. :)
From:(Anonymous)
Date:January 11th, 2006 12:56 am (UTC)
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I'm sure a PhDs not necesary as long as one has a basic familiarity with that topic. I just wanted to warn people that the intended audience is not the general public, or even the general VM-viewing public.

Plus, familiarity with either feminism or VM is no guarantee to enjoying the paper, since who knows what kind of writer this person is. My point is that if I were a non-academic, or uninterested in academic topics, I simply wouldn't go out of my way to hear an unknown quality talk.
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From:magnolia888
Date:January 11th, 2006 01:07 am (UTC)
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I'm sure a PhDs not necesary as long as one has a basic familiarity with that topic. I just wanted to warn people that the intended audience is not the general public, or even the general VM-viewing public.

I get that. That's why I didn't post this info in the general VM discussion communities because I know it's an academic conference not really suited to the general public. I only posted this here and in ichthyocentaurs.

But I do have some familiarity with academic jargon. I have a law degree, but I roomed with an English grad student when I was in law school. She would read me the titles of papers being presented at various events and I would make fun of the jargon. I would keep a running count of how many papers used the word "paradigm" in the title. ;)
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From:bluehyacinth
Date:January 11th, 2006 12:48 am (UTC)
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Oh, I know and I wasn't being offended or defensive in any way. Academic jargon can be really tiresome, there is generally a bit less of it at PCA than at other conferences. Which is not to say none, and some of the panels will be deep with the jargon, but a lot of it is way more accessible than the papers at other conferences I have attended.

Funny side note: A few years ago at ICFA (International Conference for the Fantastic in the Arts) there was a panel comparing fandom to academia arguing that they each used similar methods. Of course, that was also the "I am sure they would fire me if they knew I wrote slash fic" confessional panel.
From:(Anonymous)
Date:January 11th, 2006 01:00 am (UTC)
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If I were a non-academic or completely uninterested in academia, I still won't go out of my way to go just because it's about VM. If it's just down the street, that's one thing. But if you have to travel by car for four hours and find people to stay with, etc, I'd say just stay home :P

Your story reminds me of a professor of mine who writes very popular romance novels on the side ;)
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From:bluehyacinth
Date:January 11th, 2006 01:06 am (UTC)
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Hey, me neither. Especially not for only one paper.

The story isn't mine (or rather it is mine but not about me). Academia is funny. In some circles any kind of creative writing, let alone slash-fic, is looked upon as being somewhat suspicious in an academic.
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From:bluehyacinth
Date:January 11th, 2006 12:52 am (UTC)
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Off-topic: What is your field? I am just curious to see what other people are doing.

Me, I just finished my degree last summer and am now all post-doc-y in Atlanta. My dissertation topic was representations of the human in 20th century science fiction, and was vaguely Americanist, though I have a worrying tendency to be trans-Atlantic and occasionally trans-Pacific in topic.
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From:fantome14
Date:January 10th, 2006 05:46 pm (UTC)
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Oh, sorry, it would be $55 for you. But still. Especially since you have no way of knowing if this one person is smart or a good speaker...
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From:magnolia888
Date:January 10th, 2006 05:49 pm (UTC)
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According to the PCA website:

"Non-presenting attendees who simply wish to attend panels and do not need a program or nametag may pay a $5 day fee at the registration table on site."
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From:fantome14
Date:January 10th, 2006 05:51 pm (UTC)
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Thanks, I was looking in the wrong spot. I still wouldn't go out of my way to go, though, unless I had a vested interest in pop culture studies.
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From:hillaryr
Date:January 11th, 2006 04:47 pm (UTC)
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Honestly, PCA is really friendly, in terms of academic discourse. I'm presenting on Lost and my talk doesn't have a super lot of academic jargon or discourse. I honestly think we try to make our titles as shiny as possible at these conferences.

I did want to agree with the above poster that noted that Popular Culture studies aren't really in the mainstream and won't win you a lot of accolades in the US university system. Pop Culture too often gets housed in English departments, where internal wars between Composition and Rhetoric Studies, Literature, film and pop culture converge, often with nasty results.

Of all the conferences I've been to and presented at, PCA is a friendly environment that is well worth the $5.00 a day fee. The lecture halls are ample and the discussions post paper delivery can be a lot of fun. I look forward to going to the panel on Veronica Mars.
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From:magnolia888
Date:January 11th, 2006 04:53 pm (UTC)
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hillaryr: I appreciate your input!

I saw a lot of topics on Lost on the program and I would actually like to attend some of those as well (esp. the one on Locke). I wish there more papers on VM, but knowing there is even one paper makes me happy, considering that VM doesn't get a lot of media attention compared to Lost and DH, etc.

There is also an awful lot of stuff on BSG, but I think that sci-fi tends to invite that sort of scrutiny more than other genres for some reason.
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From:hillaryr
Date:January 11th, 2006 05:06 pm (UTC)
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Yeah, the Locke paper seems really interesting-- I hope to get into Atlanta in time on Weds. to check that out. I was happy to see that VM got a conference paper too (I'm sketching out an idea for the pCAS (Popular Culture of the South) conference next October on VM-- hopefully it's not too third wave feminism, heh!)

I think BSG is also unique in that it's had many manifestations, and by all accounts the most recent is the best product of all the predecessors, so there's a lot you can do, textually speaking, when you study it. I'm happy for any kind of pop culture studies, as I'm presently trying to decide if I want to pack up and move to the UK just so I can study what I want to study, but that's a whole other discussion.

In other VM news, Roz Kaveney, who wrote extensively on Buffy has a new book coming out in the summer that features VM titled "Teen Dreams, Reading Teen Film and Television from 'Heathers' to 'Veronica Mars'. Kaveney is the keynote speaker at the Slayage conference on the Whedonverse in May (also in Altanta) and I look forward to cornering her and asking her about the book before it comes out. A promising indication, though, that more VM studies are being done!