All panels and roundtables will take place in the University of Texas at Austin’s Student Activity Center; visit the Conference Site page for more information. If you have additional questions, please talk to someone at the Registration and Check-in desk located in front of the SAC Legislative Assembly Room (2nd floor).

The organizers of the 2014 Flow Conference are excited to announce that, for the first time in the conference’s history, three Core Conversation sessions will be included in the schedule. Marking the beginning, middle, and end of the conference, these panels will punctuate the conference’s standard schedule of roundtables.

2014 Conference Schedule

Click on the day or session to be taken directly to a detailed listing.

Thursday, September 11
1:45pm-3:00pm: Session 1
3:15pm-4:45pm: Core Conversation 1
5:00pm-7:00pm: Opening Reception

Friday, September 12
9:30am-10:45am: Session 2
11:00am-12:15pm: Session 3
1:45pm-3:00pm: Session 4
3:15pm-4:45pm: Core Conversation 2
7:30pm-8:30pm: Screening
8:30pm-10:30pm: Reception

Saturday, September 13
10:05am-11:20am: Session 5
11:30am-12:45pm: Session 6
1:45pm-3:00pm: Session 7
3:15pm-4:45pm: Core Conversation 3
5:00pm-7:00pm: Informal Happy Hour

Thursday, September 11

Session 1 — 1:45pm-3:00pm

(1A) Political Television and Perceptions of American Politics
SAC 1.118 Meeting Room
Moderator: Paul Stekler

The popularity of the Netflix TV-series House of Cards has been attributed, in part, to its depiction of a corrupt U.S. political culture. At the same time another show with a loyal following, Shonda Rhimes’s Scandal, also focuses on power relationships in Washington. Other shows, including Homeland, Veep, and The Americans address this political culture as well. Given the popularity of political dramas, how are these shows engaging with perceptions of American politics? Do they provide viewers with new ways of thinking about political culture in the U.S.?

Chuck Tryon, Fayetteville State University
Nick Marx, Colorado State University
Kristina Busse, Independent Scholar
Amanda Nell Edgar, University of Missouri-Columbia
Daniel Marcus, Goucher College

(1B) Looking Forward by Looking Back: The Role of Historical Inquiry in Current TV Studies
SAC 2.302 Legislative Assembly Room
Moderator: Kathy Fuller-Seeley

Television studies flourished in the 1980s and 1990s as a field concerned with historical inquiry. However, as television has acquired new cultural status in the 21st century convergence-era, TV scholarship has become increasingly present-focused. This roundtable seeks to consider the implications of this shift for our understanding of television and to explore what might be gained from a rejuvenation of a historical focus. In other words, what are some of the limitations of a presentist framework? What are some potential new pathways of historical inquiry? How can historical research inform contemporary understandings of television? What challenges does it face and what opportunities can it draw upon in the digital age? What historical questions about television remain unanswered?

Deborah Jaramillo, Boston University
Jennifer Porst, University of California-Los Angeles
Josie Torres Barth, McGill University
Philip Sewell, Washington University in St. Louis
Kayti Lausch, University of Michigan

(1C) Plug & Play: The Intersections of Television Studies and Game Studies
SAC 3.116 Balcony Room C
Moderators: Kathleen Tyner and Lyz Reblin

In his seminal work Television: Technology and Cultural Form, Raymond Williams considers the different forms or genres that television programming takes in the cultural move from radio to television. Yet forty years later, we know that other technologies intersect with the television, borrowing from, adapting, and hybridizing television interaction and aesthetics. In this roundtable, we invite scholars and practitioners to consider the material dialectics of video and computer games on the television medium and in television spaces. How might the television-based video game transform space or interaction when considering class, gender, sexuality, age, and so forth? Ultimately, this discussion builds from this key question: How can, and should, television studies and game studies intersect? And, how do these intersections further illuminate their objects of study?

Carly Kocurek and Jennifer DeWinter, Illinois Institute of Technology and Worcester Polytechnic Institute
Julia G. Raz, University of Michigan
Christopher Hanson, Syracuse University
Racquel Gonzales, University of California-Irvine

Core Conversation 1 — 3:15pm-4:45pm

“Television: Looking Back, 1970-2014”
SAC 1.402 Auditorium
Moderator: Horace Newcomb, Emeritus Director Peabody Awards

Please see the Core Conversations page for more information about this session. Participants in this panel are listed below.

– Michael Zinberg, Television Director/Producer (The Good Wife, Quantum Leap, The Bob Newhart Show)
– Howard Rosenberg, Pulitzer Prize winning former Television Critic for the Los Angeles Times
– David Milch, Television Writer/Producer (Deadwood, NYPD Blue, John from Cincinnati)

Opening Reception — 5:00pm-7:00pm

Please see the Conference Events page for more information.

Friday, September 12

Session 2 — 9:30am-10:45am

(2A) “Branded Entertainment”: Digital Advertising and New TV Business Models
SAC 2.120 Meeting Room
Moderator: Alisa Perren

Interstitial interruptive commercials became predominant only in the 1960s. During the radio and early television eras, advertisers and their agencies controlled and produced most programming, using single sponsorship, product placements, brand integrations, and cast commercials. Television’s higher production costs led to the networks’ takeover of programming. Today, advertisers are not only returning to these earlier forms of “branded entertainment,” they are also using digital media, such as social media, mobile apps, and games, to reduce their dependence on interruptive television commercials. How are television business models and programming strategies changing in response to advertisers’ evolving needs, particularly demands for branded entertainment? How is advertisers’ use of digital media affecting television’s role in the “marketing mix”? Do current forms of branded entertainment compare with historical instances? What are the advantages and disadvantages for advertisers in using branded entertainment? How are some advertisers disintermediating networks to reach audiences directly? Is advertising that draws audiences independently of programming a form of “content” or advertising?

Cynthia Meyers, College at Mount Saint Vincent
Caroline Leader, University of Wisconsin-Madison
Kimberly Owczarski, Texas Christian University
Darcey Morris, Towson University
Lara Bradshaw, University of Southern California
David Gurney, Texas A & M University-Corpus Christi

(2B) Streaming and the Return of Williams’ Flow
SAC 2.302 Legislative Assembly Room
Moderators: Mike Rennett and Julian Etienne Gomez

The 2010s have seen the rapid rise of broadband streaming services as both supplements to more traditional distribution methods (e.g., BBC iPlayer, HBOGo, Comcast Xfinity) and as significant cultural and industrial forces on their own (e.g., Netflix, Spotify, Amazon). This roundtable will ask how, if at all, streaming has changed media culture, focusing in particular on its relationship to Raymond Williams’ concept of flow. Does streaming in the 2010s serve functions similar to Williams’ flow in the 1970s? Does streaming alter prevailing conceptions of media form, from the pop song to the long-running television series? How does consumption via streaming differ from earlier modes of consumption (broadcast, cable, physical media, etc.)?

Derek Kompare, Southern Methodist University
Andrew J. Bottomley, University of Wisconsin-Madison
Casey J. McCormick, McGill University
Nicholas Benson, University of Wisconsin-Madison

(2C) Music Made for TV: Reassessing the History of Pop Music in/on Television
SAC 3.116 Balcony Room C
Moderators: Colleen Montgomery and Phil Oppenheim

In his 2003 article, “Look! Hear!: the Uneasy Relationship of Music and Television,” Simon Frith notes that TV has had significant impact on popular music performance, but has never really been part of popular music culture. He suggests that despite popular music’s nuts-and-bolts use in television programming, it is a curious fit on television. But given that some of pop music’s most significant moments have occurred on television, how might we map significant social, cultural, and industrial impacts that the two forms have had on each other? Frith suggests that while the relationship between music and television has been of crucial importance, the two remain in an “uneasy” relationship. Is this still accurate? The music and television relationship has changed in recent years with the emergence, return, or redirection of music in and on television and related media platforms. But is Frith’s assessment of the music/television relationship still accurate? Does the relationship remain uneasy or is an altogether new relationship emerging?

Kyle Barnett, Bellarmine University
Norma Coates, The University of Western Ontario
Brian Fauteux, University of Wisconsin-Madison
Alyx Vesey, University of Wisconsin-Madison

Session 3 — 11:00am-12:15pm

(3A) The 21st Century Television Classroom: How, Why, & Why Not
SAC 2.120 Meeting Room
Moderator: Kathy Fuller-Seeley

The last 15 years have brought significant changes to the way we watch, talk about, interact with, and define products we consider to be television. As our jobs are no longer reliant on the sage on the stage’s ability to compile an enormous personal VHS collection of off-air television, how can we incorporate new distribution and interactive environments into our classrooms while balancing a respect for the past and embracing what the present has to offer? This roundtable focuses on the ways in which we as teachers of television go about sharing knowledge, encouraging discovery, delivering content, and choosing materials. The following are some possible questions to consider. Can we use the wealth of television content available online—legally or otherwise—to build classes around a selection of shows rather than a codified list? How can we use online resources—discussion boards, wikis, online rooms, and online television content—to give students a sense of ownership within the classroom? What kinds of agency can we allow students while still accomplishing the pedagogical goals at hand? How can we use online environments to bring the industry into the classroom? Such questions present us with a range of challenges and opportunities, and their answers will guide us further into higher education of the 21st century.

Kelly Kessler, DePaul University
Conner Good and Sharon Ross, Columbia College Chicago
Jonathan Nichols-Pethick, DePauw University
Ethan Thompson, Texas A & M University-Corpus Christi
Laurel Westrup, University of California-Los Angeles
Erin Copple Smith, Austin College

(3B) Attend the Audience: Changing Audience Analysis
SAC 2.302 Legislative Assembly Room
Moderator: S. Craig Watkins

Audience analysis played a key role in the foundation of the television studies project (e.g., “Encoding/Decoding,” The Nationwide Audience). Audience analysis, however, has proven to be the methodological path less taken in a field primarily focused on textual and contextual analyses, political economy, and (more recently) production studies. Important exceptions exist and, to some extent, work on fan cultures emerged as a stand in for attention to audiences, but a wide range of questions remained unasked. What insights could the field gain from a radically renewed attention to audiences? How should audience analysis change (or not) in response to the changing nature of television culture? What methods need to be (re)introduced to the field in order to enable TV studies practitioners to do the kind of audience work that would be most valuable? And practically speaking, what could we do to bring about the kind of audience studies that seem unimaginable or at least unimagined today?

Ron Becker, Miami University
Kit Hughes, University of Wisconsin-Madison
Angie Chiang, University of Calgary
Ethan Tussey, Georgia State University
Sarah Murray, University of Wisconsin-Madison

(3C) Reconsidering Formal Analysis
SAC 3.116 Balcony Room C
Moderator: Tom Schatz

On March 24, film and television critic Matt Zoller Seitz wrote an article entitled “Please, Critics, Write About the Filmmaking,” in which he argues that reviews and critiques of visual media ought to address form, otherwise they become nothing but “book reports or political op-eds that happen to be about film and TV.” This prompts the question: what is the place of form in television criticism and television scholarship? In the turn away from formalism, have television scholars pushed the analysis of form too far into the margins? More to Setiz’s point, what is the effect of the tendency of television critics and audiences to overlook form, except in cases when they see it rising to the level of the “cinematic?” Does this reinforce certain taste hierarchies? Does it hide the work that formal choices do in genres like Reality TV or comedy? Has this tendency changed at all over time?

Stephanie Brown, University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign
Drew Morton, Texas A&M University-Texarkana
Sean O’Sullivan, Ohio State University
Daniel Baldwin, University of Southern California
Justin Horton, Georgia State University

(3D) Race in 21st Century Television: How Much Has Changed
SAC 3.112 Balcony Room B
Moderator: Keara Goin

Race and television studies scholars might unanimously agree that the problem of 20th century television was limited and lacking portrayals of people of color. But now, what is the problem of 21st century television? To what degree do minoritized peoples face the same issues of symbolic annihilation and stereotyping? Has narrowcasting helped solve or simply created additional problems of diversity and representation? Moreover, what does 21st century television reveal about the fallacy of a post-racial America?

Brandeise Monk-Payton, Brown University
Linde Murugan and Janani Subramanian, Northwestern University and Indiana University-Purdue University-Indianapolis
Mary Beltrán, University of Texas at Austin

Session 4 — 1:45pm-3:00pm

(4A) Policy Matters: Exploring Opportunities for Media Policy Scholars in Public Debates
SAC 2.120 Meeting Room
Moderator: Sharon Strover

Media policy, long the purview of the wonk, is becoming the stuff of popular culture. From “Team Edward” t-shirts that portray Edward Snowden’s face to CBS’s The Good Wife’s ongoing storyline depicting government wiretapping of its main characters, policy has become sexy. This panel seeks to understand the through lines uniting seemingly disparate policy matters—Edward Snowden, the PRISM program and privacy; network neutrality, FCC authority, and common carriage; Comcast, Apple, trust busting, and the Department of Justice; Verizon, YouTube, and copyright—these are just a few examples of recent news stories that testify to the increased importance of understanding not only the disruptive power of digital technologies but also the ways corporations, government agencies, and citizens are responding to disruption through policy creation, implementation, and enforcement. Public awareness of these issues has created an opportunity for media scholars to shape these debates.

Karen Petruska, University of California-Santa Barbara
– Becky Lentz, McGill University
Melissa Zimdars, University of Iowa
Danny Kimball, University of Wisconsin-Madison
Andrea Ruehlicke, University of Illinois-Urbana-Champaign

(4B) “Not in the Margin Anymore”: The Transnational Turn in Contemporary TV
SAC 2.302 Legislative Assembly Room
Moderators: Shanti Kumar and Lucia Palmer

Television is now more transnational than ever. The international television MIP market and conference in Cannes has dedicated an entire venue to format sales, with unlikely newcomers like the Netherlands, Turkey, Brazil and Denmark. Internationally, local shows crowd U.S. programming out of its traditional prime-time slots. American network and cable broadcasters increasingly develop content based on foreign concepts. Additionally, the most cutting edge multi-platform formats are beginning to emerge from places like Israel and South Korea. Meanwhile, anglo-centric television scholarship remains under-equipped to make sense of these trends. This roundtable invites scholars to map out and explore the significance of this new range of transnational television and media flows. Who are the newcomers to keep an eye on in contemporary transnational TV trades? What the trends are taking over the industry worldwide? How are they challenging long-held conventions of “best practices” in the international television business? In what ways does the proliferation of transnational media flows affect the long-established American dominance in international TV? Are established theoretical models such as cultural imperialism, flows/counter-flows, media capitals and trans-locality still holding? If not, how can we help reorient the field to accept more globalized perspectives?

Sharon Shahaf, Georgia State University
Şebnem Baran, University of Southern California
Tim Havens, University of Iowa
Biswarup Sen, University of Oregon
Georgia Cowan, Independent Scholar
– Juan Piñon, New York University

(4C) Theory: How Can Media Studies Make “The T Word” More User-Friendly?
SAC 3.116 Balcony Room C
Moderator: Charlotte Howell

“Theory” often operates like a reviled other in media studies: students frequently claim that they hate it, scholars sometimes say that it’s impenetrable and intransigent. But “it,” theory, is just an attempt to explain a series of phenomena. In that sense, all media scholars “do” theory in some way; they attempt to explain patterns in and relations between different objects. At the same time, there is a subset that is often branded as being “theoretical” and, thus, unappealingly dense, difficult, and narrow. What does theory—“The T Word”—provide to media analysis? What are some emerging theoretical paradigms in media scholarship and what do they bring to more entrenched modes of critique? How might instructors bring such frames into the classroom in provocative, accessible ways? For example, what does affect or governmentality bring to cultural analysis? More specifically, how the work of Gilles Deleuze or Jacques Ranciere nuance existing frames used to interrogate media forms and practices?

Shane Denson, Leibniz Universität Hannover, Germany / Duke University
Drew Ayers, Northeastern University
Hunter Hargraves, Brown University
Philip Scepanski, Vassar College
Ted Friedman, Georgia State University

Core Conversation 2 — 3:15pm-4:45pm

Television Restoration:  Pragmatic Realities and Implications for Media History
SAC 1.402 Auditorium
Moderator: Caroline Frick, University of Texas at Austin and Executive Director of the Texas Archive of the Moving Image

Please see the Core Conversations page for more information about this session. Participants in this panel are listed below.

– Ryan Adams, Director of Multimedia for CBS
– David Grant, Vice President of Multimedia for CBS
– Derek Kompare, Southern Methodist University

Screening and Reception — 7:30pm-10:30pm

Please see the Conference Events page for more information.

Saturday, September 13

Session 5 — 10:05am-11:20am

(5A) Enunciative Fan Production and Social “Flow”
SAC 2.120 Meeting Room
Moderators: Suzanne Scott and Natalie Bograd

The television industry’s growing embrace of live-tweeting as a mode of fan engagement demands that we revisit and reconceptualize Raymond Williams’ “flow” as a key tenet of television spectatorship. This roundtable suggests that any discussion of social media “flows” also requires us to revisit the taxonomy of fan productivity presented in John Fiske’s 1992 essay “The Cultural Economy of Fandom.” Specifically, this roundtable will focus on Fiske’s category of “enunciative productivity,” broadly defined as “fan talk,” but a category that also includes sartorial expressions of fan affect (e.g. wearing a Batman t-shirt). This roundtable will revisit the concept of “enunciative” fan production, and ask: How is it shaping television industries and narrative, as well as spaces of material fan production and fan merchandising? Topics might include but are not limited to: live-tweeting (its impact on television narrative, its connection to “liveness” and “flow,” its function for media industries and fans); fan talk shows as programming trend (Watch What Happens Live, The Talking Dead, etc.); podcasting culture or podfic; etsy and amateur material fan production spaces and/or efforts to reclaim material fan production through licensing (e.g. Think Geek’s version of Firefly Jayne hats); Fan-oriented fashion and make-up lines (Twilight, Hunger Games, etc.), or gendered fan fashion sites (Her Universe, shirtwoot!, etc.).

Suzanne Scott, University of Texas at Austin
Louisa Stein, Middlebury College
Jacqueline Arcy, University of Minnesota
Kitior Ngu, University of Michigan
Brian Ruh, Independent Scholar
Katharine P. Zakos, Georgia State University

(5B) Toys, T-Shirts, and Tumblers: These Are Not the Paratexts You Are Looking For (Hint: The Films Are)
SAC 2.302 Legislative Assembly Room
Moderators: Phil Oppenheim and Charlotte Howell

Character licensing and merchandising are essential components of how the contemporary entertainment industries operate, generating and sustaining cross-media franchises and cultivating investments amongst globally dispersed brand communities. Today, many franchises, characters and story worlds are developed for their toyetic potential, with the initial and foundational involvement of consumer products divisions. Toys and other merchandise not so much extend the story as they act as the primary means through which consumers integrate themselves into the story and thus, in many ways, these products are the story that media franchises are designed to tell. Disney has restructured its merchandising around franchises rather than individual products, Hasbro is attempting to transform itself from a toy company into a branded, cross-media conglomerate, and LEGO now comprises not only toy blocks, but a franchised film and merchandise. As intellectual properties eclipse the products bearing their names as the primary purveyors of both meaning and value for producers and consumers, there needs to be an accompanying shift in focus amongst scholars towards investigating consumer products as driving creative and brand extension practices. This roundtable looks to take the products off the shelf and give them a closer inspection.

Avi Santo, Old Dominion University
Morgan Blue, Independent Scholar
Amanda D. Lotz and Kathryn Frank, University of Michigan
Lauren Sodano, National Museum of Play
Courtney Brannon Donoghue, Oakland University

(5C) Television Labor: Historical Trajectories and Contemporary Concerns in Global Contexts
SAC 3.116 Balcony Room C
Moderator: Alisa Perren and Sean Malin

The division of labor is a concept that rarely appears in the literature of television studies. Indeed, both scholars and the general public tend to see television employees as a labor elite, working in artistic, sometimes glamorous settings, where they earn top wages and enjoy high levels of job satisfaction. Tellingly, that’s an illusion that major television studios have always tried to promote: television is both fun to watch and fun to make. Yet the conditions of labor in the television industry have changed dramatically since the late 1980s and today many feel that their work is increasingly burdensome, bureaucratized, poorly compensated, and precarious. This roundtable invites respondents to consider more explicitly the historical trajectories and present-day conditions of television’s global workforce. Indeed, workplace conditions and creative dynamics are not concerns exclusive to Southern California but are issues that confront workers in media hubs around the world—from London and Miami to Prague and Budapest. Respondents are highly encouraged to consider television labor’s past and/or present in relation to the following topics: precedents in radio, vaudeville, and theater; labor movements, organizing, and conflict; creative authority, autonomy; wages, benefits, casualization; skills and training, education; gendered labor, racialized labor, queer labor; creative, professional identities; new International; division of Cultural Labor; media capitals, emergent media hubs; alternatives to US commercial television’s division of labor; creative industries, policies, cities; “emergent” technologies; conglomeration; regulation.

Maria Boyd, Georgia State University
Myles McNutt, University of Wisconsin-Madison
Kate Fortmueller, University of Southern California
Benjamin Pearson, University of Michigan

Session 6 — 11:30am-12:45pm

(6A) Missing in Action: Quality TV and Canonization
SAC 2.120 Meeting Room
Moderator: Alfred Martin

As “Quality Television” becomes increasingly legitimized within academic spheres, it is imperative that we address what is missing from the latest “Golden Age.” Are there programs that scholars have been missing? Does the current streaming environment and the ‘immediate response model’ of TV criticism favor some shows over others, and, if so, what gets left behind? This roundtable invites scholarship that addresses programs that have largely been inaccessible because they are not available online, on DVD, or not available at all. This lack of access raises important questions about canonization and marginalization and we must remain attentive to the ways in which our curatorial viewing/writing strategies might be expanded to include a larger corpus of important texts. How do we find the gaps in our canon, what can we do to address them, and can we expand the category of “Quality TV” to include what is currently missing in action?

R. Colin Tait, Texas Christian University
Nedda Ahmed, Georgia State University
Mark Stewart, University of Auckland
Cory Barker, Indiana University
Branden Buehler, University of Southern California

(6B) Reconsidering Digital Distribution
SAC 2.302 Legislative Assembly Room
Moderators: Mike O’Brien and Anne Major

This roundtable explores the proliferation of digital distribution channels for legacy media in the early twenty-first century. From the first tentative release of TV programs and film on iTunes to the current array of streaming video platforms, digital distribution has had a deep impact on the production and reception of TV and film. How, then, has the increase in pipelines changed established distribution practices such as windowing and syndication on a national and global scale? Likewise, how have new methods and companies including over-the-top distributor Netflix changed media production and consumption? Does the current wave of Kickstarter-financed and YouTube-distributed TV and video constitute a break away from legacy media conglomerates? Finally, how do continuing disputes over infrastructure and regulation, specifically regarding broadband internet access and net neutrality, influence distribution? In assessing these questions, contributors are invited to consider previous developments that heralded shifts in distribution, such as the advent of cable television/MSOs in the 1970s.

Melanie Kohnen, New York University
Daniel Herbert, University of Michigan
Jamie Henthorn, Old Dominion University
Aymar Jean Christian, Northwestern University
Catherine Essenmacher, University of Southern California
Paul Torre, University of Northern Iowa

(6C) Comic Book Takeover: The Ubiquitous Influence of the Medium in Hollywood”
SAC 3.116 Balcony Room C
Moderators: Suzanne Scott and Laura Felschow

As a print form, comic books continue to bring in an exceedingly small audience. But their influence in Hollywood is bigger than ever. Comic titles are spreading across film, broadcast, and cable networks and are even popping up as direct-to-streaming content for platforms like Netflix. This influence arguably extends well beyond titles and characters, however, as comic book culture—its active fans, its geek-techno-savvy vibe, its narrative and visual forms—increasingly permeate our vast media landscape. This roundtable seeks to understand how and why this art form has had such a big impact on media culture in the digital age and to what extent this influence goes. Explanations for the phenomenon are likely to be aesthetic, theoretical, industrial, and also, importantly, historical; comic book culture has for decades set precedents with regards to participatory fandom, transmedia storytelling, and corporate synergies that have only recently been taken up across popular culture.

Shawna Kidman, University of Southern California
Andrew Friedenthal, St. Edwards University
Matthew A. Cicci, Wayne State University
Theresa Huh, State University of New York at Stony Brook
Andrew Lynch, University of Melbourne

(6D) “An Impermeable Structure”: Minority and Female Employment
SAC 3.112 Balcony Room B
Moderator: Mary Beltrán

Why is institutional change with regard to minority employment in the television industry so difficult—nay, impossible—even in our “post-race, post-feminist” society? Despite the consistently negative data that emerges both from Hollywood trade unions and guilds as well as from independent researchers on longitudinal trends of minority, female, and minority female employment, Hollywood’s film and television industry has yet to make more than cosmetic changes to counter these stark trends. In addition, responses to this question can also discuss ways minorities, females, and minority females circumvent this often impermeable structure.

Kristen Warner, University of Alabama
Alexis Carreiro, Queens University of Charlotte
Jessica Lee, New York University
Hemrani Vyas, Georgia State University
Danielle Williams, Georgia Gwinnett College

Session 7 — 1:45pm-3:00pm

(7A) Getting Back to “So What?”
SAC 2.120 Meeting Room
Moderator: Madhavi Mallapragada

It’s become something of a truism that generalizable claims about contemporary media — and quite possibly about and within contemporary media studies — are increasingly difficult to sustain. Humanities-based media studies emerged as a critical practice devoted to questions of ideology, meaning-making, textual form, industrial practices, cultural production, and socio-political power that were formed against a backdrop of centralized commercial mass media. As the objects and cultures we study have diversified, so too has our field — but at the cost of some of the political and cultural resonance of our arguments. This requires us to question: How does our work scale? Do we care? How do we engage questions of relevance and consequence across the diverse media and cultural environments we study? What new models might we build to reintegrate our critical conversations? In short, why do we do the work we do, and how do we communicate about its significance outside our local or academic constituencies?

Michael Kackman, University of Notre Dame
Mary Celeste Kearney, University of Notre Dame
Julia Himberg, Arizona State University
Melissa Click, University of Missouri-Columbia
Christopher Cwynar, University of Wisconsin-Madison

(7B) By Design: Material Histories of Media Interfaces and Cultures
SAC 2.302 Legislative Assembly Room
Moderator: Kathleen Tyner

The interface—the device or program through which a user interacts with a media technology—defines the parameters of that interaction and thus shapes how the user imagines that medium. Whether the interface is a keyboard and trackpad, a tuning dial, an iTunes menu, or a universal remote, it is, as the OED explains, “a means or place of interaction” where the user experiences the materiality and discursive structure of a medium and its texts. The interface is where users express desire, control, frustration, or ambivalence. How can attention to the industrial, discursive, and cultural histories of media interfaces enhance our historical understanding of radio, television, and computer- or console- based media, including their industry formations and the evolution of their genres? How do interfaces affect our experiences and cultural understandings of media texts? These questions can be approach from a number of disciplinary perspectives. Traditionally, ergonomics and communications scholars conduct empirical studies of interface design and use. But phenomenologists might consider how interfaces produce orientations towards media texts or worlds. Media historians might consider how particular interfaces reflect socio-historical and cultural trends, textual analysts might consider how media producers have responded to changes in interface design, while media theorists might study interfaces as an alternative to screen theory and cultures. How can attention to the interface disrupt entrenched disciplinary methodologies and divisions and encourage fresh approaches to our material experience of media texts and cultures?

Caetlin Benson-Allott, Georgetown University
Megan Sapnar Ankerson, University of Michigan
Amelie Hastie, Amherst College
– Daniel Chamberlain, Occidental College
Gregory Steirer, Dickinson College
Brent Strang, State University of New York at Stony Brook

(7C) Ex-Pat TV
SAC 3.116 Balcony Room C
Moderator: Anne Major

Raymond Williams’s famous encounter with television flow in a hotel room in Miami is often one of the first TV Studies texts we read as students. In 2014, when television texts, media companies, and TV viewers and scholars regularly move around the globe, it’s an important experience to reconsider. So this panel asks, what is Ex-Pat TV and what does it mean to consume TV outside it’s original geographic context? Answers might include analyses of transnational industrial partnerships, technologies that help or hinder the legal and illegal access to TV from elsewhere, or understandings of how TV created in one place, intended for a certain audience or national context, is distributed and consumed (legally or illegally) in other places.

Evan Elkins, University of Wisconsin-Madison
Chris Becker, University of Notre Dame
Bianka Ballina, University of California at Santa Barbara
Laurena Bernabo, University of Iowa

Core Conversation 3 — 3:15pm-4:45pm

TV or Not TV: The Future of the Television Industry
SAC 1.402 Auditorium
Moderator: Tom Schatz, University of Texas at Austin

Please see the Core Conversations page for more information about this session. Participants in this panel are listed below.

– Kevin Beggs, Chairman, Lionsgate Television Group
– Jordan Levin, Executive Vice President, Microsoft Xbox Entertainment Studios
– Kevin Reilly, former Chairman of Entertainment, Fox Broadcasting Company
– Rob Thomas, Writer/Producer (Veronica Mars, Party Down, iZombie)
– Judy Trabulsi, Co-Founder, GSD&M

Informal Happy Hour — 5:00pm-7:00pm

Please see the Conference Events page for more information.


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