Three exciting updates for March:
First, I’ve added a new page to the Teaching section of this site featuring sample video lectures like those I use in my online classes.
Second, I am thrilled to announce that I’ve been invited to give a keynote address at this year’s Slayage Conference on the Works of Joss Whedon in Vancouver, British Columbia! I will be presenting “‘I’ve Got These Evil Hand Issues’: Amputation, Identity, and Agency in Angel,” which is the chapter I’m writing for Blood, Body, and Soul, the collection I am editing with AmiJo Comeford on health, wellness, and (dis)ability in the works of Joss Whedon.
Third, I have joined the executive team of the Southwest/Texas Popular and American Culture Associations as the Public Relations Coordinator. I’m excited to start working for the association in that capacity as we begin planning the 2013 conference, February 13-16 in Albuquerque, New Mexico!
My annual trip to the Southwest/Texas Popular Culture and American Culture Associations (SWTX PCA)conference is coming up February 7-12, and we’re returning to Albuquerque this year after a detour to San Antonio, TX last year to join with the national association. Last year, I was blessed to see people I don’t normally see at SWTX (many of whom I only see every other year at the Whedon Studies Association conference), but I did miss Albuquerque! Dear, sweet, quirky Albuquerque with your always-warmer-than-Nebraska-in-February-but-never-as-warm-as-I-expect-with-your-high-altitude weather, your Noodle Bar & Brazilian Grill & awesome Mexican food (yum!), and name that I haven’t learned how to spell accurately on the first attempt in the last five years.
It’s an exciting year, both for me and for the conference as a whole. I’ll be presenting a paper that’s been brewing for a while: “(Hu)Man and Machine: The Regressive Gender Politics of Artificial Intelligence in SyFy’s Eureka.” Eureka is a funny show; it tries to be both a almost-utopic community, using the tried-and-true sci-fi approach to commenting on traditional social injustice of “it’s so not an issue we don’t even have to talk about it” (at least in relation to race and gender). But then along come the always endearing and usually slightly crazy AIs… (Spoiler!) Why, oh why, Eureka, do your AIs who are personified as female go off the rails in stereotypically “crazy lady” or “crazy wife” or “crazy mother” ways? Sensing a theme, yet?
For the conference itself, the Science Fiction and Fantasy (SFF) area, of which I am an area co-chair, has a whopping seventeen panels to our credit this year on topics ranging from general Science Fiction & Fantasy to Supernatural to The Works of Joss Whedon to SFF Literature to Game of Thrones. And speaking of George R.R. Martin’s epic novel series turned into hit HBO drama, the conference and the SFF area are hosting a special presentation by David Peterson, the linguist who created the Dothraki language for the television series. Mr. Peterson’s talk will be Friday night, February 10, 7:00-9:30pm at the conference hotel, the Hyatt Regency. Tickets will be $10 at the door, with all proceeds going to the American Cancer Society of New Mexico (OR: www.cancer.org).
Ensley Guffy is hosting “A Very Whedon Christmas” at his blog, Solomon Mao’s. In the comments on this post you can find links to a wide range of Whedon-based books perfect for gift-giving during the holiday season (or really, year round!), including The Literary Angel that I co-edited with AmiJo Comeford.
RMMLA in Scottsdale, Arizona was a success, although (as always!) I overestimated how much I could cover in a twenty-minute presentation. Or perhaps there’s simply so much fascinating information on the history of organ and tissue transplants that serves as background for the texts I’m examining that it was difficult to strike the right balance. Regardless, I’m ready to keep building on the foundation this presentation allowed me to craft. The longer, larger version of this project is next up on my docket.
I’m also aiming to revisit and expand an essay I worked on last spring for the national and Southwest/Texas joint Popular Culture Association conference–the one about defining masculinity in Angel and Supernatural. That project went on hiatus while I waited for a forthcoming volume of scholarly essays to be published in October of this year. But I now have Stacey Abbott and David Lavery’s TV Goes to Hell: An Unofficial Roadmap of Supernatural in my hot little hands, so I’m ready to move ahead there too.
All this means it’s time to start looking toward the 2012 SWTX PCA/ACA conference in Albuquerque, New Mexico in February. I have a couple of presentation ideas that I’m still kicking around. Deadline in December 2, 2011, so I’ll have to decide soon.
My next project, which you can find more info about here, is a presentation at the Rocky Mountain Modern Language Association (RMMLA) Convention on October 6, 2011. My presentation is about hand amputation and transplant/reattachment in the television series Angel. I’ve been reading fascinating historical information about the history of organ and tissue transplantation, and the paper is coming together nicely. I’m looking forward to the convention!