Sunday, November 15, 2009

NCA 09: Putting the "Munitions" in Communication Studies

I just pulled into my place after about three days in Chicago for the 2009 convention of the National Communication Association (NCA). For those not familiar with how academic conferences work, the main attraction is panel presentations by scholars in the field, a great opportunity to present your ideas, catch ideas from others, and dialogue about them. There are also other elements including a trade show of new books and a job fair where schools looking for new faculty are available to talk with those seeking work. NCA is a huge organization, representing an incredibly diverse group of scholars, some of whom have essentially no theoretical or methodological common ground. As such the convention seems unable to satisfy all of the people all of the time (in general, the organization is pretty riven with controversy). But this year’s convention was a really good experience for me, even though (because?) I wasn’t presenting any work of my own, and despite an extremely controversial decision about early registration that cut hundreds of panelists and isn’t worth going into detail about here.

Two high-profile panels turned out to be winners, one featuring Robert McChesney, a well-known critic of media consolidation, and the other Lauren Berlant, essentially a feminist philosopher of identity. What I admired about both scholars . . .

Solange Knowles, "Stillness is the Move"

You read that right. This shit is pretty amazing.

Links are going up and down pretty fast, but here's one for now.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Let's warm this thing up again.

It's time to get rolling again. I haven't posted here in far too long, but I'm committing to getting back on track. This is late, but in a gesture at content, the centipede in a bottle over there is in reference to my participation in the Naked Lunch @ 50 celebration in Iowa City last week. It was a mess of fun, though we were all sad that our honored local noise-collage weirdos LWA weren't able to play due to illness.