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November 05 2006

I've Got a Theory (It Could be Bunnies ... or Maybe Feminism!). The admins of UNCG's BtVS studies discussion series invite your proposals for scholarly papers to be presented at the March 16, '07 mini-conference concluding the class (which will feature a keynote address by Dr. Rhonda V. Wilcox, noted Buffyologist and school alum).

The proposal submission deadline is coming up soon -- November 17, '06 -- but papers aren't due until Spring '07. Proposal guidelines are available off the UNCG Women's and Gender Studies page. For more proposal/presentation specifics or other questions, you can contact Sabrina Boyer (SLBOYER at uncg dot edu) or Lydia Howard (lphoward at uncg dot edu).

If you've got a burning desire to explore BtVS at length (and possibly speak about it in front of other BtVS/Whedon lovers at the conference), now's your chance. Go ahead, pull a rabbit bunny out of your Buffy hat!

How's the class going, Wiseblood?
I've been enjoying it immensely, dreamlogic. After our initial two-class-a-month schedule, the demand for more discussion time means we now meet three times a month. We're basically following the arc of Buffy's journey, and how that relates through other topics to her discovery of her own power. The discussion phase usually goes on for at least 45 minutes of each class, following the viewing of seminal episodes and pertinent clips, and reminds me of a lot of the more meaty threads we enjoy here. There's the added bonus, though, of actually seeing who you're talking with, and being able to hang out afterwards. I've sat with Charmuse (hi!) a couple of times, and I just saw one of the class admins at The Prestige last night (awesome movie, btw). She said a couple of proposals for papers had come in this week already.

As a long-time fan, I thought I'd analyzed Buffy to death. How amazing to learn I'd only scratched the surface. In a lot of ways, I see that I've really only understood Buffy's development through the series as a female icon on an intuitive level, for the most part, and now I'm learning through deeper examination how richly embedded the show is with direct symbols and textual messages that work consistently to build up and support the power of women (and people in general). Her journey led her to discovering and accepting her power, and then she chose to use that power to help others. That template of self-discovery is now available to anyone who wants to learn how to grow into their own strength and use it responsibly. That's a pretty wonderful example to have in the culture, I think -- especially at a time when feeling powerless, voiceless and disenfranchised is contributing to so many of the problems we see in the world today. We also discuss language, cultural elements, set design, politics, philosophy and other stuff, but it all comes back around to how Joss and Co. constructed a TV show that embraced the gross elements of American pop culture, while at the same time elevating them and itself to an art form in a genre that, before now, has never been taken seriously. Buffy changed the whole culture through its influence, and if Joss didn't do another damn thing, he could feel justifiably proud of that as a crowning achievement. (Happily, the man is too creative to rest that easily! :)

I'd urge anyone within driving distance of central NC to come to the mini-conference next March. Greensboro is beautiful in the spring, and I can't imagine a better opportunity to meet and talk with someone of the academic stature of Dr. Wilcox in such an intimate environment. The possibility of recording her keynote speech to make it available on the web is currently being explored, but there's nothing like being there in person, is there? ;)

[ edited by Wiseblood on 2006-11-07 01:09 ]
I'm so there! Working on a paper proposal, too.
My chances of being able to attend are very slim, so I sure hope the recording of the keynote speech for the web comes through, since I'm a big fan of Wilcox's writing. I'm glad you're loving the course so much, Wiseblood, and that you'll be able to attend the mini-conference, Maeve. These things seem to keep going on, so I'll probably get to go to something like it sometime.

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