How to Conference: Writing the Paper Proposal 2

I had a professor in graduate school – a Big Name, highly respected in the field, and also a very nice man – who came to every department colloquium, every job talk, and frequently asked the same question at the end of every presentation:

“So what?”

It sounds terrifying, but he really wasn’t asking for the sake of being a jerk. Rather, he was holding the speaker to the bare minimum of what must be communicated in a presentation; why should anyone care about this?

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How to Conference: Writing the Paper Proposal 1

The idea of presenting at a conference can feel intimidating and nerve-wracking when you’re first getting started, but with a little demystification conferencing can become something to look forward to as well. In this series of posts, I’ll be talking about how to write your proposal, the differences between paper and panel proposals, how to present your paper effectively, and how to negotiate conferences themselves (especially if you suffer from anxiety). As I work in media studies, that’s the field to which these posts are targeted; that said, a lot of what I include here holds true for many other kinds of humanities conferences.

Writing the Paper Proposal 1: The ‘Elevator Pitch’

Conference presentations in media typically run from fifteen to twenty minutes; so, imagine the pain of hearing, “In this presentation, I will…” at the fourteen-minute point of a paper (true story!). With very few exceptions, a conference presentation is not an essay, and treating it as such – complete with intricate prose and complex sentence/paragraph structure, exhaustive literature review, and so on – does little more than secure your place in the annals of bad conference papers that scholars use as cautionary tales. We all want our presentations to be memorable, of course, but usually more for our brilliant ideas than inept preparation.

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Year in Review: 2018

I’ve been doing this every year since 2015, and it’s a good way of kind of charting for myself what I’ve managed to do over the course of the previous year… although I’m a bit hard-pressed to remember exactly what it all was, tbh. So we can start with:

  • ongoing peri-menopause, which continues to be an unequivocal pain in the ass, and I am so. ready. to. be. done.

Continue reading Year in Review: 2018

Catching Up

Despite the fact that I’ve managed to do nothing productive for several weeks now, it’s actually been a busy month or two. I presented a paper on the online fandom of Yuri!!! on Ice at the Society for Cinema and Media Studies annual conference in Toronto; while there, I was also able to hang out a bit with Janice Poon, an artist and the food designer for my beloved Hannibal! I also did a short pilgrimage to Hannibal’s office building on my way to the train station, and it… looked exactly like Hannibal’s office. 🙂 Continue reading Catching Up

Unconventional Conventionists (not quite a Fannibal Fest recap)

*warning for show-typical gore/violence

At the first entirely fan-run convention for NBC’s Hannibal (2013-2015), Fannibal Fest Toronto, guest Vladmir Cubrt (who played serial killer Garrett Jacob Hobbs in the series) observed that he had originally expected Hannibal fans to be like other horror genre fans, only to find that we have more similarities to the participatory fans of The Rocky Horror Picture Show (Jim Sharman, 1975). He didn’t elaborate much on what specifically RPHS fans and fannibals have in common (and I’m not entirely sure what distinguishes horror fans) but the comparison has lingered on a back burner in my mind for the two weeks since Fannibal Fest ended. It feels like a particularly apt comparison, but I’ve been struggling to articulate the reasons why. Continue reading Unconventional Conventionists (not quite a Fannibal Fest recap)

Spoiler Alert: It’s All Transcultural

It doesn’t sound sexy. It isn’t the story of enthusiasm or passion or creativity or love or anything like that. No one particularly wants to talk about it – at least in my experience – because it’s perceived to be outside most people’s experiences of both fan studies and fandom. But, let me tell you, fandom is all transcultural – and so too should fan studies be.

The argument that ‘transcultural’ is not necessarily synonymous with ‘transnational’ is an old one, and you’re welcome to have a look at the essay I co-authored with Bertha Chin if you need a more detailed explanation. But one thing few people ever seem to really get into is what transcultural might be when it’s not being transnational, and my answer – especially in this age of intensifying media and fan convergences* – is that it’s inherently transcultural. But understanding fandom as transcultural requires understanding the many ways we might understand ‘culture’. Continue reading Spoiler Alert: It’s All Transcultural

Are You Kidding Me? A Response to “Podcasting in Plain Sight”

The Chronicle of Higher Education – that behemoth that still locks articles about academia behind a paywall where they cannot be sullied by the unwashed adjunct and independent masses (I’m only being a little sarcastic here) – has done it again. In a piece by Hannah McGregor entitled, “Podcasting in Plain Sight,” we’re introduced to the apparently radical concept of embracing one’s love of a thing as an academic – in this case, the Harry Potter novels. It’s actually a story I’m 100% behind in terms of what she and her collaborator, Marcelle Kosman, accomplish in and through their Witch, Please HP podcast. As anyone who follows me on Twitter (@acafanmom) knows, I am ALL ABOUT the open embrace of what I love as an academic. Continue reading Are You Kidding Me? A Response to “Podcasting in Plain Sight”