Friday, July 31, 2009

In Conversation

Kj and I are so pleased at the response we've been receiving toward our paper since we first distributed it amongst friends and colleagues then at the annual meeting of the Southwest Texas American Popular Culture Association where we shared it on a panel with several other academics in the Sci-Fi/Fantasy area of the conference, "Philosophy and Religion in the Whedonverse." Our original intent was to write a paper exploring a lesser-developed character in the Firefly series, Shepherd Book, through the text of Firefly and themes of identity, faith and fundamentalism. It soon became evident that this was a conversation we didn't want to have end at the conference.

This Monday we were able to strike up a dialogue once more with the help of Kj's place of scholarship, Mars Hill Graduate School-no relation to the church of the same name in Seattle. We hosted: "Theology.Psychology.Spaceships", an event comprised of a screening of the original pilot for Firefly, a presentation of our paper, "Not Very Christian of Me: The Escapist Faith of a Lost Shepherd" and discussion. The opportunity not only allowed us share our work with our community in Seattle but continue this valuable conversation. We are both very grateful for the support for the event, our paper, and the keen interest and passion with which our audiences have responded.

It's been just about one year since I received a call for papers for the SWTX PCA/ACA conference and approached Kj for a possible collaboration for what proved to be a greatly enjoyable endeavor. From entire days spent in coffee shops pondering the ins and outs of character and narrative, to four days of papers on popular culture, to "Theology.Psychology.Spaceships", we have had an incredible time. We look forward to hearing more of your questions, comments and ideas about topics we've brought forth here and others that arise from the rich worlds of Joss Whedon and other instances of culturally significant works of entertainment. Thank you for reading, watching, listening and asking. We hope to see you at the conference next year: February 10th-13th, 2010.

You can read "Not Very Christian of Me: The Escapist Faith of a Lost Shepherd in Joss Whedon's Firefly" here.

Kj's account of the year-long journey and presentation is here plus, that and more on her blog.

We'd love to hear from you via any number of conversational outlets including the comments board on Whedonesque.