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Southern Culture and Community: Literatures of Modernity Students in New Orleans

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April 15, 2015

In Volume 1 of his Chronicles, Bob Dylan writes that “Everything in New Orleans is a good idea.” Certainly the 2015 Annual Conference of the Popular Culture Association/American Culture Association held in New Orleans was a good—make that a great—idea for the more than 3,000 scholars from around the world in attendance from April 1 to 4. More pointedly, several Ryerson graduate students joined Department of English professor Liz Podnieks for a Louisiana jaunt, presenting scholarly papers in the PCA/ACA’s Motherhood/Fatherhood Area, of which she is the Chair.

Current Literatures of Modernity classmates Adele Graham and Rebecca Thursten delivered their respective papers “Father of the Year: A Cultural Analysis of Thomas Beatie” and “‘Sometimes my mommy doesn't smile at all’: Exploring Presentations of Maternal Mental Illness in Fiction for Children.”

The value of the experience is registered by Adele: “I thoroughly enjoyed my time at the PCA/ACA Conference in New Orleans. It was a wonderful opportunity to meet and interact with academics from a variety of levels, interests, and locations. I appreciated the opportunity to present my ideas and arguments, and to hear about the different research and opinions of other seasoned academics. I was very happy to be surrounded by warm and friendly people (Becky included!) and not to mention the delicious food and music that Louisiana offers. It was a wonderful learning experience and I encourage my peers and future LitMod students to attend an international conference, like the PCA/ACA, to enjoy all the benefits of the experience.”

In like spirit, Rebecca comments, “I was so grateful to be able to attend the PCA/ACA conference: I'm very lucky that my first conference experience was with such a friendly and welcoming academic community. My paper went down well, and I was really glad to be able to answer questions from my peers and more senior academics. The sheer breadth of the conference was stunning: across the three days that I was there, I was able to watch panels on topics from the Dickensian influence on slave narratives, to the role of the sewing machine in horror cinema, to the music of Captain Beefheart. I walked away with lots of new ideas for papers! Plus we couldn't have asked for a better location: New Orleans is a stunning city, and I'll be thinking back to the food, music and culture very, very fondly.”

Other Ryersonians presenting in the Area include former LitMods Walter Lai and Mimi Choi, as well as Communication and Culture candidates Andrea Schofield and Natalie Morning.