Tuesday, January 08, 2008

Liz & Carlie are presenting at the YA Lit Symposium!

YALSA is holding its first YA literature symposium in Nashville from November 7-9, 2008, and the theme is "How We Read Now." During the infamous weekend where I introduced Liz to her TV boyfriend, Don Eppes, we put together a proposal for the symposium. We thought that with the popularity of teen participation in book worlds (check out the Twilight fandom and/or Stephenie Meyer's website for a shining example of this), this conference would be a great time to discuss fandom, fan life, and what Henry Jenkins calls "participatory culture." We wrote up a proposal and it was accepted. We're very excited and honored, because YALSA only chose 14 of the 40 proposals they received.

The plan (subject to change as the date of the conference draws closer) is: At the symposium, Liz and I will talk about what fandom is, who writes fanfiction and why, and how librarians can do easy, fun fandom programming at their libraries that will encourage teens to participate in a book's world. Our third panelist will be Amy Tenbrink of Narrate Conferences, Inc., who will talk about planning Harry Potter conferences and how they encourage participatory culture. Who knows, we might even have a drabble contest.

(And of course, we already know what we're wearing.)


Jill said...

I presented about this topic at a conference for school librarians recently (although without the cool connections you guys have) and was shocked to see how new this stuff was to my audience. I wound up skipping a lot of my planned material just to explain to them that fandom was a legitimate way to relate to texts (versus vocabulary lessons or whatever else teachers do).

Ah - I'm jealous. This would be my dissertation topic if there wasn't such vicious anti-HP sentiment in my department.

Jen Robinson said...

Congratulations, Liz and Carlie! It sounds like a lot of fun. And of course you already know what you're wearing.

Anonymous said...

Congrats! I hope to be there!

Jill said...

Hmm. I've been thinking about this second half of what I wanted to say for a while, and have finally decided that the only way to get a dialogue going is... to get a dialogue going.

I think it's excellent that you got this gig. :) But I'm wondering, in a world where practicing librarians present scholarly-themed programs, what the role of the professional LIS academic is becoming. Being the scholarly, meta-programmatic voice was once part of our unique nitch; I think it's great that we can share this role, but am curious about what'll define us when this doesn't. We do teach - and teaching is valuable - but what else?

I've been spending some time recently thinking about the emerging roles of professors/doctoral students in LIS, and in particular in ALA, and would be interested in you-all's perspectives.

Liz B said...

Jill, I think these are intriguing questions and I wonder about this, also. I'd love to do more schooling just for the sake of school; I like research etc. But would I want a phd in LIS or some other area? Why the one and not the other? What is being studied; how is studying HP, for instance, different in a folklore program v childrens literature v lis v writing program?

Hm, what would I expect from a presentation similar to this but given by a PhD/candidate for PhD?

Off the top of my head, I think I would expect to see something with a deeper and more scholarly approach. For example, perhaps researching diaries and letters going back a 100 years to see if things we now call "fandom" existed and to what degree (I know Mary Sue fanfiction has 19th century roots, for example, documented in girls stories etc; so what about other aspects of fandom?)

Or, again, a scholarly approach to human needs, and what psychological/community needs are being met.

Add, perhaps, how fandom did exist before the Internet but how has the internet changed it -- Comparing preInternet cons with current cons, for example. Frankly, I'm not sure how one would get that type of data; but I guess that's what I'd see as more scholarly.

And all this with tons of footnotes, etc.

And I wouldn't see one as better than the other; but different, with different approaches.

Will think more on this later; and I wish you were coming to ALA if for no other reason than to talk in person!