(May 2003 - March 2007.) Tama's thoughts on the blogosphere, podcasting, popular culture, digital media and citizen journalism posted from a laptop computer somewhere in Perth's isolated, miniature, urban jungle ...

CSAA Wrapup

Monday, December 13, 2004
The Cultural Studies Association of Australiasia conference is now a thing of the past. I heard some outstanding papers, and some very average ones. My own paper was pretty well received, I think, albeit by a very select (read: small) audience. There was actually a lot of cross-over between my paper and another on the same panel: Chris Moore's paper "Common Concern: Internet Cultural and intellectual property alternatives" which also examined the important role that alternative copytight structure like the Creative Commons. Also in our panel, Olivia Macassey gave a really dynamic and fun paper on 'Pirates of the Everyday' which looked at the intersections between images of piracy, especially Pirates of the Carribean, and the contemporary re-casting of piracy as the great digital threat from those naughty, naughty users.

Of the other papers I heard there were a few standouts: Kris Cohen have an engaging paper looking at blogging, the mundane and the specificities of digital media; Melissa Gregg wrapped blogging and the role of the cultural studies public intellectuals together in a very provocative way (furthering my own view that more academics should blog!) and Kathleen Ellis traced the images of people with disabilities in Australian cinema (and how disability is divorced from "Australianness").

There were also some great keynotes and so forth: Ben Highmore from from University of West England have a great talk on banal technologies and the everyday, and I can't help by trying to imagine things from "the carpet's perspective" now(!). The highlight of the conference was the combined 'Media and Everyday' plenary panel in which Barbara Creed recounted the shifting sands of the Australian everyday in relation to academica; Alan McKee sexed it up with a paper on the shifting relation between pornography and the everday, convincingly deconstructing a lot of past research, and reveling in the fact that "John Howard is funding me to study porn!"; and finally Andrew Urban of Front-Up fame gave a great talk on the journalistic drive to find the interesting in everyone and how their everyday lives are always fascinating if you just know how to ask the right questions!


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