Tuesday, 27 December 2005

My MLA Schedule (At Least Till The Wheels Come Off) This schedule is as tentative as it is idiosyncratic. Some panels I'm attending for the speakers, others for how they speak to general theoretical issues of interest, and the rest because they may do my dissertation some good. I'm not attending all the panels I'd like to . . . and I doubt I'll be able to attend all the panels I've listed here. I hear the whispers insisting I'll burn out. I figure if I post this here as a challenge to myself the odds of my being insanely responsible jump a good 389 percent. The schedule: Tuesday, 27 December 21. Contemporary Fiction and the Novel of Ideas 5:15-6:30 p.m., Park Tower Suite 8216, Marriott 35. English Studies and Political Literacy (Bauerlein) 7:00-8:45 p.m., Cotillion Ballroom North, Marriott 89. Walter Benn Michaels' Our America Ten Years Later (Michaels, McCann, Dimock, Warren) 8:45-10:00 p.m., Coolidge, Marriott Wednesday, 28 December 125. Marxism Now: Beyond Cultural Politics and Back to Class (Foley's "Philip Roth, Sinclar Lewis and Representing the Right") 8:30-9:45 a.m., Monroe East, Washington Hilton 146. Citizenship and United States Writing: Perspectives from the American Literature Division (Brook Thomas, Dana Nelson, Judith Jackson Fossett) 10:15-11:30 a.m., Virginia Suite C, Marriott OR 158. Covering Academe (McLemee) 10:15-11:30 a.m., Wilson C, Marriott 185. Representing Dialect 12:00-1:15 p.m., Map, Washington Hilton 214A. Spin and Political Narrative (Gillory, Corn, Frank, Garber) 1:45-3:30 p.m., International Ballroom East, Washington Hilton 268. Literature, Affect, and Anaesthesia (Ngai, Lindsay Waters) 3:30-4:45 p.m., Thoroughbred, Washington Hilton 330. Particularism and Overdetermination in the Nineteenth Century Novel 7:15-8:30 p.m., Roosevelt, Marriott Thursday, 29 December 357. Posthistoricist Approaches to American Literature 8:30-9:45 a.m., Park Tower Suite 8222, Marriott 389. Zizek and Christianity (Holbo) 10:15-11:30 a.m., Kalorama, Washington Hilton 441. Historical Frost (Hoffmann, Allen, Sheehy) 12:00-1:15 p.m., Virginia Suite B, Marriott 493. Digital Scholarly Publishing: Beyond the Crisis (Ratliff) 1:45-3:00 p.m., Maryland Suite C., Marriott 515. Popular Modernism 3:30-4:45 p.m., Hoover, Marriott 572. Report of the Task Force on Evaluating Scholarship for Tenure and Promotion (Berube, Guillory) 7:15-8:30 p.m., Wilson A, Marriott 611. Critique and Terror: The New Americanists and Cultural Politics Today (Pease, Arac) 9:00-10:15 p.m., Harding, Marriott Friday, 30 December 653. UnCritical Reading 8:30-9:45 a.m., Monroe East, Washington Hilton 697. Style and Substance III 10:15-11:30 a.m., Maryland Suiute C, Marriott 713. Hemingway's Global and Sexual Politics (Thill) 12:00-1:15 p.m., Marriott Balcony A, Marriott
MLA: The Prelude; or John & Belle Host a Dinner I haven't been to DC in fifteen years. That time I arrived in the rear-facing jump-seat of a periwinkle 1987 Pontiac Sunbird Station Wagon. Yesterday I accomplished a more stylish entrance, disembarking from an Original Boeing 737 only to find myself in a terminal built in 1958 and obviously remodeled to look "modern" sometime around 1976. My new memories feel older than my old ones. From the airport I taxi to the Marriott Wardman Park Hotel and Convention Center, which was built in 1916 by Harry Wardman, renovated in 1928 to feel "futuristic" and again 1999 to look like an unfuturistic 1928. The cumulative effect of all these renovations resembles something designed in 1974 to look contemporary. The style of this city declares its love for that cold corporate style of the 70s. Everything which should be white has a hint of grey-flannel. The slight patina on the film stock of the decade's defining films hangs in the air here. (I keeping looking for Gene Hackman and measuring my words.) I'm not sure how to define the feel of DC without writing a predictable post about American auteur cinema in the 1970s . . . so I'll gently segue to the fact that I spent the night in Maryland. Not because I couldn't stomach sleeping in a city, mind you, but because I missed the last train back into it. Where was I that I required the Metro to return to DC? Dining and chatting with John & Belle. What did we discuss? Academic blogging. Our future publishing empire. What kind of performance a costume consisting of antlers and a scarf entails. You. Your idiotic comments. Your inability to understand how totally Airwolf we are. Why you email me about what I write but not John for what he writes. How I'll probably never finish answering the 12,978 emails people (many of them lawyers looking to hitch their wagon to my absurd star) sent me when "My Morning" ruled the Internets. The sudden social acceptability of the Christian Bale man-crush. Why I don't produce material like "How to Open an Academic Essay" anymore. Anonymity. The MLA. The Future of Academic Blogging. Setting up a conference panel at MLA 2006 on The Future of Academic Blogging.

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