“Too Many Conference Papers Make the Baby Go Blind: When is Neo-Futurism?” by Jon Foley Sherman, Lindsay Brandon Hunter, Chloe Johnston


Saturday, 29 June 2013
11:15 – 12:45 am
Building 550, Studio 1

Blog Response by Sarah Bay-Cheng

It’s always an odd revelation when I chat with non-academic folks about scholarly conferences on theatre. The idea that a large part of a theatre conference would be spent with scholars of theatre reading carefully prepared papers to each other rather undramatically not only strikes non-academics as odd, but my colleagues in the sciences and social sciences are similarly puzzled. (They may rely on powerpoint, but the think it quite odd that the humanities sit and read to each other when you could just as easily read the same paper for yourself.) As I try to explain in these conversations, I’ve never found it odd. I love the opportunity to hear and share unfinished work, to test outrageous ideas seemingly off the cuff, and to perform the products of often solitary research for other people. It’s fun both reading and listening, and (at least in my case) the inevitably revising on the fly during the paper session. Indeed, when attending a conference, I’m always waiting for the unscripted, improvised moments: the casual asides, digressions, and riffs.

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