conferences = exchanges

I’m booked to do a paper in Sydney the weekend after MLX5 at the CSSA conference. I’m keen to listen to some papers (oh, how naive of me!) but I’m also a bit unkeen about the wanky cultural studies bullshit. I’m sure I’ll meet some nice people and have a lovely time, though.
The paper is on camps and exchanges as ‘fixes’ (a la the theme: culture fix). Which is kind of interesting as I’m coming straight from running MLX. We only have 30 mins all up (or is it 20…?) so, after clippage (which is mandatory), I’ll only have about 15 minutes to talk. Which is a shame, as I love to talk. And I love to give loooong, boring papers. But it’ll be a relief for the punters…. I hope I can narrow it down to just the one point.
What will that point be?
Something about how camps and exchanges are like fan conventions I think. Something about the appeal/addictiveness of camps/exchanges and the en masse and utterly intense experience of a camp/exchange? Surely I can make some sort of comment about wild men’s weekends and immersion events…
Heck, it’ll be fun: I’ve scored $$ for the fare, I’m staying with local swingers (yay!) and I’m going to see if I can get in for free/cheap for volunteering. It will be a nice break after MLX I think.
Or perhaps it’ll be all about the parallels between academic conferences and lindy exchanges… or is that too painfully wanky even for a cultural studies conference? It’ll certainly make the point about the arbitrary (and ideological) demarkation of ‘the field’ and ‘the academy’, or ‘subjects’ and ‘researchers’ …

man. do not let me be that type of writer

I have recently read ths article and I have some issues with it.
Having read the blog entry to which the article referrs, and having read that bloggers’ site for a while, I suspect the article’s author has gotten hold of the wrong end of the stick.
Not one to pull my punches, I’ve no trouble with public scuffling. in fact, i quite like it. most of the time. the age article, however, seems misinformed. the blogger – who i don’t actually know in person (though i think we’ve met), but who’s blog i read and who i’ve ‘spoken’ to online in blog comments and other discussions, is one of the least confrontational and least stroppy bloggers i know. the article’s author is kind of, well, wrong in the things she’s read. down with her. up with everyone else.
to return to the age’s article.
that piece is fairly sorry-arse in content and thought. i’ve only read through it once or twice (quickly) and am writing this entry quickly (i want to return to this topic, though), but i was struck by this bit: the article’s author apparently sees the rise of blogging as part of the

democratisation of debate

i sigh.
i shake my head.
really: are we still buying that old line? i mean, really, who’s believed that the internet and blogging is in any way a demonstration of democracy?
the ‘internet’ … wait, … the Internet … is hardly a democratic place, with all voices of all citizens present in any type of equitable discourse. it’s the territory of white middle class kids. and most of those are blokes.
i want to mention that i read that age article online.
i want to talk about journalism and blogging and blogging as ‘journalism’.
i want to talk about public and private talk (and the bullshit myth that the two were ever different animals).
i have so much more to say about this article, but i have to go to a party and i don’t want to go cranky. plus i have a new dress to go try on. priorities.
but if the slandered blogger is reading this, please: ignore that rubbishy article. it’s a bundle of crap. and the clearest case of bullying i’ve read in a while.

this’ll be a piece of cake

it’s time to get into the chapter writing hardcore. no more stuffing around. no more reading exciting things. there are a couple of references i’d like to chase down (mostly stuart hall stuff, but heck. there you go), but it’s time to say Stop. Get On With It.

so i am. yesterday i wrote a chapter outline. today i’ve looked at the chapter outline. i know it’ll be a good chapter. i know it. now i just need to get into it.
this is the hard bit. starting to write. i know i can pull 13000 words out of my bum hoo-pah! no worries. but getting started… and i need to get it done because editing will take ages. it always does.

i’m also thinking about getting involved in this. the deal is that you write a 50 000 word novel in a month. not that hard for me, actually. that’s about 1600 words a day. piece of piss for me.
so of course, to procastinate over writing the thesis (55000 words or so left), i decide to write 50 000 words worth of a novel.
nice one, sistah. very clever.
maybe i should take the challenge and write my thesis’s 50 000 words in this one month? over november.
hmmm. now that’s likely. the mlx is on at the end of november, so i can write a week off there, what with visitors and dancing and all. my birthday is on the 11th, so there’ll be some days there where i’ll be 100% distracted. my mother is coming up to stay on the 14th or so. my dad is up on the 9th or thereabouts.
sure, this’ll be a piece of cake.

i just read a paper called ‘the anti-political populism of cultural studies’

by todd gitlin (in cultural studies in question, edited by marjorie ferguson and peter golding, 1997). i’m not really sure how i feel about it.
i mean, i’ve had troubles with the work done by quite a few people in cultural studies programs in the unis i’ve been at – they just seemed depoliticised in a worrying way. especially to me, whose always done feminist work where i’ve really tried to make my research practical, have some sort of political use-value.

and gitlin is echoing all that, but he seems fairly tough. and he’s really getting into the cultural studies people of today. his key point is that they shouldn’t pretend that they’re doing ‘politics’ just because they’re doing popular/populist stuff. that doing ‘politics’ is actually a bit more complicated (and he places ‘politics’ right over there in the activist camp, doing things like rallying and protesting and writing pamphlets and so on).

i’m a bit torn…

he’s very critical of things like radway and modleski’s work on women’s romance novel reading, and pretty much says that we shouldn’t treat that as political activism.

… i don’t know. on the one hand i agree with a lot of the things he has to say. and on the other, i wonder if he’s being too harsh.

either way, his concerns are very similar to the ones i have when i read the horrid wench’s blog, and when i heard her speak about her work on bogans.

i’m not in that gang. i’m with the people who still want to politicise stuff (which she doesn’t – she confesses that she has no interest in politics – stink of ‘politics’ much?). i also want to get feminist in this sort of work…

hm. dilemma. i need to find a response to this article.

What’s a PhD?

The short answer? A PhD is a big long essay. More like a book than an essay. An academic book. An academic book that has do fulfil a whole truckload of requirements, the biggest of which are a) contributing new knowledge to the field and b) demonstrating a clear and excellent understanding of the literature (stuff that’s already been written) in the field of research.

The long answer?…

Continue reading “What’s a PhD?”

What exactly am I doing in my PhD?

Well, firstly, I’m doing my PhD thesis on swing dancers. Mostly Melbourne ones. I’m framing them as a fan community (a la Henry Jenkins, Matt Hills, Camille Bacon Smith, etc), and am most interested in their media uses. This media use is centred on the internet and online technology – I’m interested in talking about how swingers use online media in their face to face fan activities. I also talk about swingers as performing their fandom. That’s an idea I’m borrowing from stuff Matt Hills suggested, which dove tails nicely with Judith Butler’s work, and I think there’s one guy – Kurt Lancaster – who’s into this, that I should follow up.

Continue reading “What exactly am I doing in my PhD?”

my djing paper

a revised version of the djing paper. Down load it here.

i’m going to keep editing it til it’s in a more deliverable form – like 3000 rather than 4500 words. i could cut out the djing bit altogether and make it a paper about swing culture generally. or i could edit out the djing bit and start again. oh well, i’ve given it another bash, and i’ll leave it for now…