This year’s Congress has been a long story (which you don’t get) and a short trip (which you do): just yesterday afternoon and today, but nevertheless full of good things.
For starters, there’s clearly a lot more online back-channel activity than there was even just a year ago, especially on Twitter. Following #congress11 updates has helpfully pointed me to some recordings of events that I missed: the ESC round table on social networking and the humanities, for example; or National Chief Shawn Atleo’s lecture on First Nations education.
In a quick debriefing, what I did reach included:
an ACCUTE joint panel with the International Gothic Association, with talks about Mary Shelley’s Last Man, True Blood, and a Peter Pan adaptation;
the traditional President’s Reception (the real cornerstone social event of any Congress, the attraction being free food and drink), where, for a change, I actually worked the room and caught up with some good people: former professors, mentors, peers, and other colleagues from the different places I’ve studied and worked — even Prof Dr Kuester from Marburg, for whose McLuhan centenary conference I’d given a virtual (webinar) talk barely two weeks ago (“the ambassador liked it,” he said…oh good);
the first plenary talk for the Society for Digital Humanities (which I’ve been meaning to check out), which Jon Saklofske delivered, on what Disney theme parks can teach the designers of virtual worlds (both of which I haven’t been meaning to check out, actually);
then the ACCUTE-NASSR session on genre, in which my talk on the cento and copyright joined talks on Ann Radcliffe and Frankenstein, with a good audience and a great discussion on subjects common to our talks (like the power of the claims of the dead over those of the living, and the implications of stitching together things from diverse sources);
followed by lunch with a delegate at that session, an erstwhile colleague at Guelph who’s also studying copyright history, making said lunch a bit of a brainstorm (the kind of serious keener conversation I’ve often seen others at Congress getting into informally, but never thought I had neither the knack or attention span for, outside formal proceedings);
a “Career Corner” panel on publishing scholarly books, with reps from academic presses and the ASPP … amidst the Athabasca UP rep’s pitch for open access, another editor’s discussion of permissions, and my questions about quotation length and fair dealing (which can be used to defend a published book — a point I hadn’t been sure about), copyright (including the death and expected re-animation of Bill C-32) surfaced here as a bigger topic than many in the room had likely expected;
the ACCUTE annual general meeting, which I had to leave as it went overtime;
and, to wrap up the day, a couple of drinks in the beer tent with a former student of mine from UNBSJ, now at UNBF and holding down a resident DJ gig in Fredericton. Amazing to learn what your students get up to — another social serendipity that a big production like Congress can often yield. Before he took off to join the performers in this week’s Macbeth production, I asked him where I could find an ABM.
–I don’t know, I go to UNB. This is STU.
–STU is like twenty feet from UNB.
–Twenty feet up the mountain.
About AcademicalismIt's the scholarly blog of Mark A. McCutcheon, Associate Professor of Literary Studies at Athabasca U.
E-mail: academicalism[at]gmail[dot]com This blog is Creative Commons 2.5 (Canada) licensable.
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