PCA observations


I like that PCA is an open and laid back conference. The national PCA/ACA conference is not known for it’s selectivity. This means some papers are wonderfully researched, argued, and presented while others are underdeveloped, poorly researched, and inarticulately presented. I heard many papers in which authors merely went through a series of observations or summaries about whatever their paper was meant to be on, or heard presenters who made arguments about the internet or television that may have been very interesting 10 years ago. My fellow grad student colleague and I began thinking about why this might be the case. One of the things that we noticed is that many of the presenters where not popular, media, or television scholars (since we both work in television, many of the panels we attended were television panels). Instead they had written their papers as side projects, fun distractions from the “real” research they normally conducted on political science or literature. Engaging with some of the arguments was frustrating because there was no frame of reference for the presenter within in which to formulate a response to my questions, frames that I would consider essential knowledge for anyone working with televisual texts. This lead me towards wondering what might happen had I, on a lark or as a fun distraction from my real work on television, presented a paper on Wordsworth at something like MLA that failed to reference pertinent or even basic research or utilize a recognized method of analysis. The proposal probably wouldn’t even be accepted, and I wouldn’t expect it to be. So, I wonder, why is it acceptable to do on television or pop culture?


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