Happy New Year, MLA 2012, and a moment off the grid


Happy 2012, everyone. I hope this is a wonderful and relatively non-apocalyptic year for all.

I’m writing this from a wi-fi-enabled AmTrak train on my way from Portland to Seattle for the MLA Convention.

I will be one of the many harried job candidates at MLA this year, and so my schedule for actual conference events is fairly light. However, I will be attending the Digital Humanities Commons workshop tomorrow (Thursday 5) morning bright and early. I will also be trying not to miss the following panels:

135A. The Future of Learning
Thursday, 5 January, 7:00–8:15 p.m., Grand C, Sheraton
A linked session arranged in conjunction with the forum The Future of Higher Education
Presiding: Tara McPherson, Univ. of Southern California
Speakers: Cathy N. Davidson, Duke Univ.; Curtis Wong, Microsoft Research

170. Queering Value
Friday, 6 January, 8:30–9:45 a.m., 619, WSCC
A special session
Presiding: Aren Aizura, Indiana Univ., Bloomington
1. “Queer Economies and Speculative Limits ,” Angela Mitropoulos, Univ. of Western Sydney, Penrith South
2. “Sovereign Debt, Queer Remainders,” Travis Sands, Univ. of Washington, Bothell
3. “Family Value(s),” Craig Willse, Coll. of Wooster
4. “Necrocapital: AIDS, Affective Accumulation, and Viral Labor,” Eric Stanley, Univ. of California, Santa Cruz

378. Old Labor and New Media
Friday, 6 January, 5:15–6:30 p.m., 608, WSCC
A special session
Presiding: Alison Shonkwiler, Rhode Island Coll.
1. “America Needs Indians: Representations of Native Americans in Counterculture Narrative and the Roots of Digital Utopianism,” Lisa Nakamura, Univ of Illinois, Urbana
2. “The Eyes of Real Labor and the Illusions of Virtual Reality,” Matt Goodwin, Univ. of Massachusetts, Amherst
3. “Digital Voices: Representations of Migrant Workers in Dubai and Los Angeles,” Anne Cong-Huyen, Univ. of California, Santa Barbara
Responding: Seth Perlow, Cornell Univ.

467. The Future of Teaching
Saturday, 7 January, 12:00 noon–1:15 p.m., Grand C, Sheraton
A linked session arranged in conjunction with the forum The Future of Higher Education
Presiding: Priscilla B. Wald, Duke Univ.
1. “Gaming the Humanities Classroom,” Patrick Jagoda, Univ. of Chicago
2. “Intimacy in Three Acts,” Margaret Rhee, Univ. of California, Berkeley
3. “One Course, One Project,” Jentery Sayers, Univ. of Victoria
4. “The Meta Teacher,” Bulbul Tiwari, Stanford Univ.

581. Digital Humanities versus New Media
Saturday, 7 January, 5:15–6:30 p.m., 611, WSCC
A special session
1. ” Everything Old Is New Again: The Digital Past and the Humanistic Future,” Alison Byerly, Middlebury Coll.
2. “As Study or as Paradigm? Humanities and the Uptake of Emerging Technologies,” Andrew Pilsch, Penn State Univ., University Park
3. “Digital Tunnel Vision: Defining a Rhetorical Situation,” David Robert Gruber, North Carolina State Univ.
4. “Digital Humanities Authorship as the Object of New Media Studies,” Victoria E. Szabo, Duke Univ.
For abstracts, visit www.duke.edu/~ves4/mla2012.

635. Queer Anachronisms and the Question of History
Sunday, 8 January, 8:30–9:45 a.m., 303, WSCC
A special session
Presiding: Kathryn Bond Stockton, Univ. of Utah
1. “Anachronizing the Penitentiary, Queering History,” Kadji Amin, Columbia Coll., IL
2. “Spinster Time (‘U Can’t Touch This’),” Heather K. Love, Univ. of Pennsylvania
3. “Anachronicles; or, Steampunking Queer Theory,” Elizabeth Freeman, Univ. of California, Davis

Finally, I thought I’d share some moments from my year’s auspicious start: a holiday in beautiful coastal Oregon, where two close friends are staying at the Sitka Center for Art and Ecology. I alternated working on various academic projects with climbing up into hills filled with roaming elk and soaring hawks. The landscape is much like the west coast of Scotland, where I went often as a child, so it felt in many ways as if I were making the trip back home I didn’t manage this year. Although Scotland has fewer elk.

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