My apologies for the unexplained absence—some of you know that I was busy with another form of production, the production of another human being: something I can’t quite get over. So yes, Penelope Lane Stein was born on August 28th, 2007, and has since viewed an inordinate amount of TV, including a 6 hour marathon of Gossip Girl.
Over the last few months, I took a (not entirely voluntary) pause in my normal media consumption and analysis, as I found myself inexplicably drawn to watching an unusual set of programming for me. I could have sworn that during the latter months of my pregnancy I would be eating up marathons of Roswell, but instead I watched hour upon hour of What Not to Wear, America’s Next Top Model, Flip This House, and of course let’s not forget A Baby Story and Bringing Home Baby. Future posts may revisit these excursions into reality/self-improvement programming.
But what has finally inspired my return to blogging was the invigorating Unboxing TV symposium at MIT this past weekend. What fascinated me most about this conference was how it functioned as a moment of self-definition for TV studies, and yet what we all seemed to recognize most clearly is how necessarily eclectic and non-institutionalized TV studies is in this moment—and most likely will remain. I was also especially glad to see this conference serve as an opportunity for scholars who include in their work an exploration of fans, fannishness, and fandom (I’m not going to say fan studies scholars, because this was primarily a TV studies conference, and so didn’t include many of the scholars who are studying fans primarily rather than the media primarily) to engage in dialogue with TV scholars whose work focuses on the industry and institutionalized discourses of TV. I hope that the conversations that occurred on day two, rather than fracturing further this community of scholars, revealed the complementary and shared interests of these different approaches to media and its reception.
I’m sure many of the participants will be blogging (or have already begun to do so) about the symposium, and I will have more to say as well as I go through my notes, but here’s my back on board note—I want to say thanks again to the organizers for such an invigorating experience. It snapped me out of bouncers and bottles mode, and now I’m raring to talk about TV, fans, and more TV. Plus, now I have a little fangirl to inculcate into the ways of fannish <i>and</i> academic overanalysis.