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Kindred Academic Spirits and Runs Through the Quarter

Posted By Anne Helen Petersen, Friday, March 11, 2011
Just a brief note between panels to relate my incredible conference experience thus far.  

This may out me as a huge geek, but I always wake up at conferences with a feeling not unlike that of a child on Christmas morning -- I get so excited for the panels I'm preparing to see, workshops I hope to attend, and people I plan on running into that I usually cannot sleep much past 6 a.m., regardless of when I went to bed the night before (which was actually at a decent hour -- after gumbo and the Tweet-Up at a brew pub down the street).

So when 6 a.m. rolled around this morning, I decided that instead of trying in vain to fall back asleep, I'd take advantage of the people-less streets and explore the quarter in my running shoes.  I was treated to an absolutely gorgeous run along the waterfront and exquisite early morning light (try googling "French Quarter running routes").  It's a brilliant way to orient yourself with the city.  

I returned for a panel I have been anticipating quite a bit -- "Hollywood Goes to Court" -- featuring papers on the contracts of Hollywood stars in the 1930s (Emily Carman), "libel tourism" to Britain (Philip Drake), and Fair Use "communities" (Peter Decherney).  [Two of the panelists -- Eric Hoyt and Ellen Seiter -- were unable to attend].  

I was particularly excited to see the papers on stars/celebrity, in part because I have been absolutely starving for some interaction with others who work explicitly in my field.  For while my home university (UT-Austin) features a tremendous diversity of scholars on both the professorial and graduate level, I'm the only one currently doing work in star studies.  As such, Emily and Philip's research -- and chatting for a good two hours afterwards over breakfast -- was incredibly invigorating.  These are the sort of connections forged only at conferences, and the exact reason so many of us come to SCMS.  

Now to rush off to a panel on Movies and Money, the Women's Caucus meeting, and the Media Industries Interest Group, and Grrrl's Night Out with over a hundred women in the field.....good thing I got my run in EARLY.  

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