This April, when I return to the States and visit my family in Texas, I also am going to attend the huge conference of the Popular Culture Association/American Culture Association, held this year in San Antonio. I’m reading fiction there, and I’m planning to reconnect with a bunch of scholars and colleagues I used to hang around with at PCA/ACA back when I went every year (living outside the States has meant I’ve missed it the last three times).
But I never go to PCA/ACA just for the socializing: I’m there to work, and I’m there to learn. In fact, the last two years I did attend, back in 2007 and 2008, I was teaching my freshman composition/research classes as courses in pop culture, and I had my students assign me panels to attend. It didn’t matter if I was interested in the subject or not (though, at PCA/ACA, it’s awfully hard not to be fascinated by everything on offer!) — I attended whatever panels the students chose, because they wanted to learn about something and it was my job to take notes and report back to them when I returned to the classroom. I loved doing this, because my students often sent me to panels I might not ordinarily have made time for, and I wound up learning a LOT of truly fascinating things on behalf of my students.
This year, I have no students to assign me homework, so I get to choose whatever panels I want. But this conference is HUGE, and the schedule tends to get rather overloaded every year, so I’m flush with choices and cannot decide which panels to pick.
So I turn to you, dear readers. Read through my shortlist on the PCA/ACA in SA page, and then assign me my homework! Send me to panels! Make me learn! And I promise to report back to you, here in this blog, just as I would report to my students.
You can find the polls page in the Popular Culture section of my Teaching tab, or just click the link above.