e-mail me at billdeg@umich.edu


new york post-mortem

Everybody's doing a 4Cs wrap-up post, so I guess I'll succumb to peer pressure and post a few random thoughts on the conference.
  • The value of respondents. At my session, Paula Mathieu served as a "respondent" and did an excellent job of synthesizing the three papers and setting an agenda for the q-and-a session. In just two or three minutes, she reminded the audience of what each of us had said and gave the conversation that followed some focus.
  • Parody. My own personal award for favorite session goes to A.06: "Parody and Pedagogy." David Seitz and Patty Harkin each spoke on their uses of parodic texts in undergrad rhetoric classes, Harkin focusing specifically on strategies for making use of Jon Stewart's popularity. Nancy Mack gave a talk about how graduate students in her introductory comp. pedagogy class use parody and multi-genre to map out the field. One of her grad students, the hilarious Bill Bicknell, delivered his parody, which was a take-off of the academy awards' best picture nominations from two years back, in which each nominated "film" represented a teaching philosophy. Several journal editors in the room (it was a well-attended session) approached Bill about submitting his paper for publication.
  • Public Transportation. Something we'll never have in Detroit, so I enjoyed the fine NYC subways. I stayed at a Super 8 out in Queens as part of my attempt to come in under budget (my school gives a grand for conferece travel) and not have to pay anything out of pocket, which meant taking a thirty-five minute subway ride into the theater district each morning. Glad I did. Most everyone complained about their digs in Manhattan: too small, too dumpy, too expensive, lacking in basics like irons. Saved a bundle. For only two bucks, you can get from one end of the metro area to the other. At peak times, trains run constantly. Awesome.
  • Special interests. As usual, the small communities within the behemoth organization made for a productive meeting. For me, the Rhetoricians for Peace and Working-Class Studies special-interest-group are two of those communities from which I gain ideas and energy each year.
  • Likewise, getting together with former institutions. Arizona had its annual party (combined with several other schools) and it was great to see old pals from grad school (one of whom captured some incriminating photos of the revelry, I hear). After the fuzz broke up the get-together last year, Miami didn't have a room party and just went straight to the bar. I got there late, after having dinner with a group from the special-interest-group, and just missed Bill Clinton and Kevin Spacey, who went to the bar and worked the room. How did I miss that?!
  • The little things. Randy took me to services at St. Thomas, just a block from the conference, which was a quieting way to spend the hour before an editorial board meeting I had. Seeing the book at Pitt's display and hearing from a dozen or so people that they had read it and/or anticipated using some of the chapters. The smoked salmon on onion bagel sandwich at the Carnegie Deli. Good times.
  • See ya'll in New Orleans...

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