Last week I attended PCA/ACA’s national conference in New Orleans. It’s the biggest conference I’ve been to yet, although I went to the international Social Media & Society in September of last year. It ran April 1st-4th. Panels started at 8am and ended around 9:30pm. Seven sessions a day, 20-30 panels in each session; the program was almost 600 pages. There were so many panels to choose from! The decisions were difficult. Do I go see the awesome panel on TFioS, or the one that’s more in line with my field of study? Ultimately, I did a mix of both, and some of the panels I enjoyed the most were outside of my field of study. I attended a panel on tarot cards that discussed practicing tarot as a literacy and wondered how to structure the “grammar” of tarot. For more on that, you can look at her blog here.
While not at the conference, I ate lots and lots of delicious creole food including beignets and café au lait from Café du Monde, gumbo, crayfish étouffée, jambalaya, and literally the best pecan pie I’ve ever eaten (It’s from a place called Gumbo Shop, if you’re interested).
On Saturday, the last day of the conference, I presented on LGBTQIA identity construction as it occurs on Tumblr along with Dr. Kyle Moody who presented on subversion of masculinity through the story and identity politics of Grand Theft Auto V (He’s smart and awesome and you should go follow him on Twitter.). The first part of my presentation established Tumblr as a discursive space that is home to marginalized groups. Tumblr is widely recognized as a place for marginalized groups on the internet (especially if you ask folks from reddit and 4chan– Social Justice Warriors, anyone?). Through public labeling (gender/romantic interest/sexuality) and responses to asks (often anonymous), LGBTQIA Tumblr bloggers construct their identities and also educate their audiences. For particulars on this, you can look at my presentation slides here.
I also posted a version of the paper on Academia.edu. I was torn about this. On the one hand, this allowed me to share my paper with other conference goers since I didn’t bring printed copies for the paper table (where you can purchase copies of papers for $1). But on the other hand, things are still up in the air about putting things on Academia.edu. Does this mean that my paper is published? It is certainly public. Is it citable? Maybe? Since I must anonymize the data I’ve collected on bloggers, how do I cite them, if at all? And if they are not cited, how does that affect my ethos? To a stranger, I could very well just be making the examples up since there’s, essentially, no easy way to verify them as names have been changed and no citations are offered. Perhaps most importantly, will this affect chances of getting an official publication from this paper?
There are no clear answers. One of my mentors asked me my justifications for putting up a public version of my paper. In many ways, it’s an unpolished version of a seminar paper. There’s a lot of theory work done, but it’s more of a show-and-tell style than something that will happen in an article. Also, I’ve left out arguments that I will (probably) be presenting at IR16 in October. So, I justify it in a couple of ways: this version will never be submitted to a journal; it allows me to share my work since I didn’t print anything for the paper table at the conference; and other scholars regularly upload papers to academia.edu (if everyone else jumped off a bridge, would you jump too?). Is it right? I don’t know. Is it risky? Yes. Should it be? Well, in my opinion, no. It is my writing, after all. But my opinion, in this matter, is not the one that matters (ha).
Anyway… What do you think about open source publishing and publishing papers on academia.edu? I want to know.