Wednesday, 06 December 2006

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MLA 2006: The Schedule, Part I (I didn't intend to post this yet, but I have little choice: I'm still forced to copy-and-paste the letter "t," and after half a sentence all that Ctrl-v'ing chafes the soul.) In an effort to create a tradition someone will one day pay me to uphold, I present to you the first of three posts documenting the panels I'll be attending at the 2006 MLA convention in Philadelphia. Unlike last year, this time I'll linger a moment and describe the reason I want to attend these panels particular panels (and mourn the fact that I cannot be in two places simultaneously). That said, I'm on the fence about a number of them. If you know some compelling reason I should attend another one—or if I overlooked one you think I'd fancy—state your case in outrageously laudatory prose. (Being that this is the MLA, I would be remiss if I failed to provide loyal readers the opportunity to practice trumpeting the importance of their soon-to-be-called seminal work.) To the itinerary! Wednesday, 27 December 5:15 p.m.: What Form Means Now to Postcolonial Literature (Deepika Bahri, Weihsin Gui, Indira Karamcheti, John Marx) As most of you know, I'm interested in the intersection of non-literary "theory" with notions of a uniquely literary aesthetic. Bahri's "New Aestheticism: How to Read the Postcolonial Novel as Literature" looks particularly interesting. Attending this panel means skipping Alexander Gelley's Modernist Wisdom, but I've taken a seminar with Gelley in which Benjamin and Kafka—the subjects of his talk—were discussed in great detail. 7:00 p.m.: What is Comparative about Medieval Literary Studies? (Seth Lerer, Cary Howie, Rita Copeland, Sara Suzanne Poor) I live with the Little Womedievalist and one of my closest friends is a medievalist, so I think and talk about the contours of medieval studies more frequently than your average Americanist. Given her infuriating ear for language and his professed difficulties with learning foreign ones, the extent to which medieval studies is or should be a comparative discipline regularly interrupts meaningful arguments about, say, whether My Chemical Romance's embrace of Queen's sound and sense of theatricality on The Black Parade contributes to or celebrates the vast homosexual conspiracy's victory over traditional American values. (Liza Minelli ever appears on one track. How is that not gloating?) I've been mentally drafting a post about The Black Parade for the better part of two weeks now, but writing it would require a more robust defense of cultural studies than I can currently muster. Why? Because academic blogging will only acquire a hyphen (academic-blogging!) or be neologized awkwardly (acablog! academog!) when it describes more than the mundane act of academics blogging. Anyone can write about popular music, but only a unique breed of bore can imbricate it in a discourse defined by its word-fervor for the verb "imbricate" and its cognates. My other reason for wanting to attend is the reverence heard in the Little Womedievalist's voice when she mentions Rita Copeland. She once referred to Copeland as "beyond intimidating," a phrase whose...

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