Sunday, December 10, 2006

MLAs I have known

I'm going to MLA, in a completely new capacity for me: I'm neither being interviewed (which is the usual reason I find myself at MLA), nor am I giving a paper (which I've done a couple of times). I'm going to MLA, totally on my department's nickel, because I'm on a search committee.

Since I wasn't sure what my schedule would be like before the interviews were set up, I hadn't even bothered to look at the program. I didn't want to find a panel that I really wanted to go to, and then end up not being able to go.

As it is, I'm not sure I'll be able to get to the big blogging panel Saturday morning, which I had heard about (via Collin), but I'm going to try. (And is that really Bitch PhD on the program? Somehow I had expected, when and if her true identity was finally revealed, to think--oh! so *that's* Bitch PhD! Of course! But I had no such moment. And, in retrospect, I'm not sure why I thought that.) And I'd like to make it to my colleague Elizabeth's panel on Saturday at 1:45 (because I think she's going to be talking about visual intertextuality in The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen, even though the title might not directly say that), but I think I might not have time to go to it and make my flight out of Philadelphia. And the interviewing schedule will make it impossible to make the big CCCC-sponsored panel on Thursday morning.

But, the good news is that I should be able to make it to Collin's panel on Wednesday. And I have open time around noon on both Thursday and Friday, so I can make it to the wiki panel Thursday. (Which combines my interest in wikis with my former passionate interest in language poetry!) As Collin notes, though, the wiki panel is at the same time as a panel on blogs with Michael Bérubé. So still can't do everything. But I can catch the panel with Katherine Hayles talking about "The Death of Postmodernism and the Rise of Informationalism" at noon on Friday.

I'll need to browse some more. But I'm happy to find that I'll be able to go to a few panels that promise to be interesting. I realize I'm going to reveal myself to be some sort of oddball here, but I have to admit that I actually like going to MLA. Because of my long and varied history in English, I have interests (like the one in language poetry) that I seldom get to to pursue. MLA offers me the opportunity to dip back into areas that still pull on me, and also to get to panels on rhetoric and such that often have better attendance than similar panels at CCCC. So MLA is ok with me. Call me crazy.

I also should have some time for socializing. So that's nice, too.

3 comments:

Nels said...

I assumed that Bitch, PhD, used a fake name on the panel description, but I could be wrong. I will be able to make that panel as we're only interviewing on Thursday and Friday, but I also know me. The motivation to get up on Saturday and go to a panel will probably not be there. There are couple on Wednesday night that are right up my alley, so I'll be able to make a couple of good things. I can't believe that MLA is coming up so fast!

John Walter said...

You're not crazy at all. This will be my 4th MLA and I love the conference for exactly the reasons you mention. There's always so much to see and do, so many topics to acquaint or reacquaint oneself with. And, quite honestly, while I've heard horror stories about hostile Q&A sessions, I've not seen them, not as a presenter nor as a member of the audience. I got some tough questions once and questions asked by people with a particular axe to grind, but they weren't hostile.

I hope to see you there!

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