Friday, June 01, 2007

The Curious World of Conferences and Symposia

Every now and then, in the hopes of rendering myself more employable (we will not get into the performing dog aspect), I present a conference paper. For those who don't do this sort of thing, basically this involves sending off a proposal to the conveners of a likely-looking event, waiting to see if the thing is accepted, and then if it is, writing up a 15-20 minute talk with appropriate images. Writing up the talk is the main anxiety, since while apparently in some disciplines one just says a few words to accompany the graphs and charts, in the humanities one has to get across points that can seldom be shown in charts, and it must be done succinctly. There is no time to ramble on. Consequently, the first half of the writing process involves fear that one might not fill up the space because one is leaving out so much, and the second half of the writing process involves trying to keep the thing to its time limit and replace long words with shorter words that flow more easily from the tongue.
Well, as is periodically the case, my mind has turned to conference papers.
First on the list is a little item looking at how Toyen appears to have made use of ideas from Roger Caillois' celebrated essay "Mimicry and Legendary Psychasthenia." Awhile back I checked in with some Caillois experts amd discovered that this topic seemed to be unexplored territory, so while I would like to know more about the subject than I in fact do, rest assured that I gave it plenty of thought before having the gall to propose the paper, and that I will be obsessing over it heavily during the next two weeks. Yes... on June 15 I will be one of about six surrealist specialists holding forth at the Tate Modern in London, and if my readers will promise not to throw fruit or make insulting remarks (even though that would be in keeping with dada and early surrealism), they are invited to attend this free event. That's New Perspectives on Surrealism and its Legacies: Fifth Annual PhD Symposium, 14.00 - 18.00 Friday 15 June 2007, Tate Modern (McAulay B Studio) and it is followed by drinks which I imagine all the participants will gratefully consume. While it is free to the public, one should register ahead at e j e n k i n s @ e s s e x (I assume so that there are sufficient drinks on hand). The other talks will relate to Breton, Ernst, Apollinaire, Artaud, and Aragon, and I am looking forward to hearing them.
As if this did not give me enough to think about on the public speaking front, today was the deadline for getting any changes to my upcoming AAASS panel into the preliminary program. AAASS (that's "Triple A Double S" just so everyone knows how to pronounce this fine acronym correctly), the gigantic North American Slavic studies conference, won't otherwise be on the horizon until fall, but I did think that the description of the panel could be improved from what I had cobbled together back in January. I noted, when I scanned the list of panels, that a great many people of my acquaintance will be on panels, many of them in competing time-slots. I didn't notice who would be competing with my own panel's time-slot and hope that none of my closer friends are.
But was this all? No, certainly not; I received word that my CAA (College Art Association) proposal was accepted and that I will have to turn in the text by early December. While the thought of an early December deadline is never appealing, I am very pleased at the acceptance since one can only present at CAA every two years (I have never done so), and it is very advantageous to speak at CAA when one is on the job market. (Well, assuming one does not give an unusually stupid paper or make some sort of grievous faux pas.)
With all of this on my mind, I think I will return to experimenting with placing images in a PowerPoint presentation for the first-mentioned event.

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Blogger lotusgreen said...

you are so funny!

June 02, 2007 7:57 AM  
Blogger Princess Haiku said...

Good for you doing the conference thing. Many women refrain from public speaking and I admire those who do. And you are quirky, too. :) But then, I should talk.

June 02, 2007 9:07 AM  
Blogger Karla said...

Well, I don't have a huge amount of choice in whether I speak in public or not. If I don't do it, I'm unlikely to get a job in my field.

On the other hand, I do try to be as riveting as possible!

June 02, 2007 9:21 AM  

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