Wednesday, February 24, 2010


Two weeks ago, my friend Kj and I, among many other popular culture enthusiasts, descended upon the Hyatt Regency in Albuquerque New Mexico for four days of academic investigations of film, television, literature, technology, music, and more. This was the annual conference of the Southwest/Texas Popular Culture and American Culture Association. Presenters included graduate, PhD students, professors, and authors as well as some undergraduates and independent scholars.

The conference conference more than lived up to the expectations we had coming into the event for a second time. It's hard to imagine a better way to spend a week than holing up in a hotel with one of your best friends, listening to 50 some papers, drinking lots of coffee and smoothies, attending screenings of some of the best episodes of your favorite television shows, and visiting three restaurants on rotation. In the few hours we had outside of the conference, we filled our time with mozzarella sticks, episodes of Angel and an afternoon double-feature at the local cineplex. So much joy. My heart ached when the week came to an end.

Here are the panels I attended-most of which coincided with my conference companion. Following the panel title is my choice for the standout paper of said panel.

Science Fiction & Fantasy 19: Battlestar Galactica and Narrative
Standout Paper: Your So-Called Dance: Combative Narrative in Battlestar Galactica
Paul Zinder, The American University of Rome

Myth & Fairy Tale 2
Standout Paper: Once Upon a Not so Unique Time: Reconciling Individualism and Literary Borrowing in Oscar Wilde's "The Nightingale and the Rose"
Ashley Benson, University of New Hampshire

Science Fiction & Fantasy 3: Whedon, Sexuality and Gender
Standout Paper: Anya's "Disturbing Sex Talk": Breaking the Pattern of Punished Female Sexuality in Buffy the Vampire Slayer
Tamy Burnett, University of Nebraska, Lincoln

Science Fiction & Fantasy 5: Sex and Violence in Twilight
Standout Paper: "Why Are You Apologizing for Bleeding?": Confronting the Evangelical Embrace of Twilight
Kj Swanson, Mars Hill Graduate School

Religion 3: Conservative Christianity and Culture
Standout Paper: Sacred and Sexular: Ann Veal in Arrested Development
Brandon Barnes, Texas A&M University

Computer Culture 7: Game Studies 7
Standout Paper: Beyond the Button: The Nintendo Wiimote Interface and its Implications for Embodiment, Performance, and Play
David O' Grady, University of California, Los Angeles

Science Fiction & Fantasy 8: The Dangers of Twilight
Standout Paper: Un-Biting the Apple and Killing the Womb: Genesis, Gender and Gynocide in Stephenie Meyer’s Twilight Saga
Colleen Orihill, Cleveland State University

Science Fiction & Fantasy 9: Whedon and Genre
Standout Paper: Firefly: Between the Noir Frontier and the Final Frontier
E. Charlotte Stevens, York University and Ryerson University

American History & Culture: Rethinking Suburban Sense of Self: Identity and Memory in the Suburbs
Standout Paper: Everything’s Bigger in Texas: Mega-Religion in Lone Star Suburbia
Charity R. Carney, Stephen F. Austin State University

Computer Culture 11: Game Studies 11
Standout Paper: Hyper-Ludicity, Contra-Ludicity and the BFG
Steven Conway, University of Bedfordshire

Science Fiction & Fantasy 12: Whedon, Technology and Ethics
Standout Paper: There's an Echo in this Horrible Dollhouse, Doctor: Memory, Identity and Neurotechnology in Riley, River, Gunn, Echo, and, of course, Spike
J. Douglas Rabb and J. Michael Richardson, Lakehead University

Horror (Literary & Cinemantic): Affective and Imaginary Machines of Horror
Standout Paper: Manufacturing Images: Allegories of the Factory in Tomb Raider
Craig Bernardini, Hostos Community College

Science Fiction & Fantasy 14: Whedon's Re-Visioning
Standout Paper: "Look Where Free Will Has Gotten You": Brave New World and Angel's Body Jasmine
Mary Ellen Iatropoulos, State University of New York, New Paltz

Computer Culture 14: Ethnography, Writing, Second Life, and Film
Standout Paper: The Sex Life in your Second Life: An Ethnological Study of Women as Sexual Objects on Second Life
Alexis Waters, Northeastern Illinois University

Science Fiction & Fantasy: Whedon & the Body
On this panel, I had the privilege of presenting my paper: “I Like My Scars”: Joss Whedon’s Dollhouse and the Narrative of Flesh
Standout Paper: Postmodern Anxiety: Androids and Cyborgs in the Whedonverse
Susan J. Wolfe and Lee Ann Roripaugh, University of South Dakota

Computer Culture 16: Theorizing Internet Forms
Standout Paper: “Wizards and Witchcraft in the Wired World”: Magical Thinking in Popular Culture
Nicholas Goodman, Northeastern State University


Nikki Stafford said...

Great rundown of the conference!! It sounds fantastic... I'd like to get to it one of these years. I love that picture of you!! :)

And the KJ Swanson paper on Twilight sounds fantastic. I wish I could have seen it!

Nikki Stafford said...

I've got to stop using the word "fantastic." It makes it less fantastic. ;)

Ian said...

Thanks, Nikki! It was a great conference!