10 Things I Learned at #pcaaca16

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1] Twitter is the actual best (and kind of like academic crack): at cons, it’s the best way to distribute info about upcoming panels, to share what’s being said in panels, and to communicate with/meet other scholars in your field.

2] That said, tweeting at Misha Collins may have…unintended consequences.

3] Fan studies scholarship is a tres small world: in FS, it’s not unusual to have undergrads, people new to the field, and some of the biggest names in our field all in the same room–hell, on the same panel! And that’s one of our greatest strengths.

4] I am never drinking rum at a conference again.

5] Ever.

6] Hanging out with fandom + scholarly friends for three days spoils you for real life.

7] Supernatural is everywhere. It’s the textual kudzu of fan studies. I’ll never be free.

8] The most productive work at aca cons happens outside of panels: in the bar, at breakfast, while walking down to the waterfront. I’ve heard this idea many, many times before, but this is the first con where it’s been true for me. It was great, if unexpected.

9] Twitter is the actual best (and my saving grace): a space to keep those conversations going–to talk about the next con, to wax at length about Hannibal, to keep each other’s spirits up when academia is at its greatest drag.

10] Never underestimate the power of a fucking unicorn.

The Possible Futures of Fan Studies: Harmonic Convergence of SCMS and PCA/ACA

Over the past two weeks, I’ve had the opportunity to be in the room for two amazing and productive conversations about the future of fan studies. The first was at the Society for Cinema and Media Studies (SCMS) conference in Montreal, and the second was at the Popular Culture Association/American Culture Association (PCA/ACA) conference in New Orleans. For the most part, these discussions were comprised of entirely different groups of scholars, and yet many of the same themes, questions, and concerns were raised in both.

Given that many members of our field will be gathering again at the Fan Studies Network conference in July, this post is my way of pointing out some of these connections in hopes that the FSN can a) keep up the momentum generated by the discussions SCMS and PCA/ACA and b) begin to move those discussions forward from talk into concrete action.

Some quick context:

At SCMS, the conversation was centered around efforts to have fan studies recognized as a “scholarly interest group” (SIG) within the larger SCMS organization. Such recognition would allow fan studies to sponsor panels at the annual conference, hold an official business/interest meeting, and (implicitly) be recognized by SCMS as a legit subfield of media studies. Check out Lori Morimoto’s excellent Storify of that conversation here.

At PCA/ACA, the discussion was hosted by the Journal of Fandom Studies (JFS) and led by journal’s editor and editorial board. Although ostensibly focused on the future directions of the journal itself, conversation turned inevitably to larger questions about the field and what role the journal might play in it. You can read my Storify of the discussion here.

Here are the three key themes/questions that united these two conversations: Continue reading “The Possible Futures of Fan Studies: Harmonic Convergence of SCMS and PCA/ACA”

They’re Singing Our Song

Two awesome calls for papers (CFPs) came my way this week, and I wanted to kick them out there to you, dear reader, in hopes that you’ll consider diving into the increasingly fascinating discussions of sex, kink, and female desire that are knocking around now in academia.

But Catchclaw! (you might say). I’m not an “academic.” Thus, this crap is irrelevant to me.

Hey: trust me, still, and read on.

1.  BDSM/Kink/Fetish Studies Area
@ the National Popular Culture Association/American Culture Association Conference
April 16-19, 2014 in Chicago, IL
Submission Deadline: end of November-ish

We are interested in any and all topics about or related to the study of BDSM, sexual kink, or sexual fetishes in all genres, all media, all countries, all kinds, and all eras. All representations of BDSM, Kink, and fetishes in popular culture (fiction, stage, screen—large or small, commercial, advertising, music, song, dance, online, real life, etc.), from anywhere and any-when, are welcome topics of discussion. We also welcome any academic discussion of the real-life practice of BDSM, sexual kink, or sexual fetishes, as well as the lived experiences of people identifying as kinky.

Come on, slash people. They’re singing our song.

The national PCA/ACA is one of my favorite conferences: lots of interesting people from many different fields talking about things I didn’t even know I was interested in. I always walk away from this conference, both as a presenter and an attendee, with something unexpected and useful–which is as good as it gets at an academic confab, I think.

But you don’t have to be an “academic” to submit a proposal; independent scholars are very much welcome. Trust me: nobody looks at your freaking badge to measure your intellectual worth here. The quality of your work is what matters.

And, and, the BDSM/Kink/Fetish Studies area is brand-new; 2014 will mark its second appearance at PCA/ACA. I’ve met a few folks involved in this area, and they’re smart, interesting, and happily smutty scholars. Hard to beat that combination.

If you’re interested in submitting a 200-300 word proposal for a paper or a panel (a collection of four papers linked by a theme or key concept), or if you have questions, contact:

Michelle Martinez
Sam Houston State University
mmartinez@shsu.edu

2.  Feminist Un/Pleasure: Reflections on Perversity, BDSM, and Desire
Feral Feminisms
Submission Deadline: November 15, 2013

Feral Feminisms, a new independent, inter-media, peer reviewed, open access online journal, invites submissions from artists, activists, scholars and graduate students for a special issue entitled, “Feminist Un/Pleasure: Reflections on Perversity, BDSM, and Desire,” guest edited by Toby Wiggins. Submitted contributions may include full-length academic essays (about 5000 – 7000 words), shorter creative pieces, cultural commentaries, or personal narratives (about 500 – 2500 words), poetry, photo-essays, short films/video (uploaded to Vimeo), visual and sound art (jpeg Max 1MB), or a combination of these. […]

This special issue of Feral Feminisms aims to complicate, untame, queer and radicalize tumultuous legacies of pleasure and unpleasure by reflecting upon the current intersections of feminist desire and BDSM sexuality.

Go read the full description. It’s amazing. And it looks like fun.

If you’d like submit a piece, or if you have questions, contact

Toby Wiggins
wiggins.yorku@gmail.com

An Engine of Discursive Pleasure

This post is a metatextual exorcism: me trying to get the stupid out, as my directing teacher used to say, in re: my research project about the rhetorical tactics of the Overlord. It’s also an excuse for lots of pictures of Misha, so. If that turns you off, you know, I’d suggest you check for a pulse.

Ok, so. Here’s why it’s been hard for me to wax academic about Misha Collins:

It was easier for me to [gleefully] objectify the dude than it was to take him seriously.

Like, bro: I could write some smoking hot RPS about you without breaking a sweat, but put on a Random Acts video and I went all Crayola.

Fangirling over his body? Fine. Fangirling over what he actually did with that body in real life?

Oh hell no.

Continue reading “An Engine of Discursive Pleasure”