Conference Presentations
“You Can’t Have Your Cake and Eat It Too”: Dawn Meehan and the Rejection of Matriarchal Social Play in Survivor: Caramoan (2013 Popular Culture/American Culture South Association)

(I discuss the representation of Dawn Meehan, a participant on the reality TV competition Survivor: Caramoan. I argue that both the representation of Meehan on the show and the fan reaction to her “betrayal” of a fellow contestant essentially deny her the ability to be respected as both matriarchal figure and cunning competitor. In the process, Meehan’s character represents a rejection of matriarchal social play in the realm of capitalism manifested as interpersonal game).

Two Cities, Two Countries, One Team, One Forum: Sports Relocation and the
Transference of Online Space
(2012 Southern States Communication Association)

(I discuss the online hockey fan forum and its response to the 2011 move of the Atlanta Thrashers to Winnipeg, Manitoba. I argue the redesignation process of the Atlanta /Winnipeg space on HFBoards demonstrates the continued importance of networked identification for sports fans despite increasingly individualized options. It also reinforces arguments that diasporas provide a unique negotiation of home in online space.)

A (Telling) Detour to Nowhere: How the Rory “Smart Mob” Challenged the NHL’s All Star Hegemony (2009 Southern States Communication Association)

(This presentation discusses a fan movement to vote NHL journeyman Rory Fitzpatrick to the 2007 All-Star Game. It positions this as part of an emerging pattern of technologically aided fan behavior that rejects Marxist notions of consumerist passivity. I compare the fans’ use of “smart mob” strategies to “derail” conventional expectations of the All-Star Game to de Certeau’s concept of spatial detours.)

‘He’s a Rattlesnake but He’s One Tough S.O.B.’: Establishing the Fluidity of
Professional Wrestling Character Types
(co-presented with Shane Toepfer)
(2008 Popular Culture/American Culture Association)

(This collaborative presentation discusses how the characterization in professional wrestling functions. In particular, we suggest that the “face/heel” narrative dichotomy (similar to the conventional “hero/villain”) used to analyze wrestling is useful– but moreso as fluid descriptions of narrative actions moreso than static descriptions of characters. To read a response to the presentation notes from Convergence Culture’s Sam Ford, click here)

Marrying Decade Nostalgia with Nostalgia for the Present: The Transformation of VH1
(2007 Southwest Texas Popular/American Culture Association)

(Here I discuss the evolution of VH1, from its 1980s founding as a “soft pop music” channel to its celebreality status in the mid-2000s. I argue that the station’s transformation embodies Frederic Jamison’s concept of the “nostalgia for the present” by gradually blurring the lines between present-day and past celebrity.)

Bambino Beats the Black Sox: How Chicago’s “Curse” Failed to Captivate a Nation
(2007 Popular Culture/American Culture Association)

(A narrative comparison between representations of the 2004 Boston Red Sox and 2005 Chicago White Sox World Series victories. Despite each franchise having similar “droughts” and supposed “curses” prior to their victories, the Red Sox’ curse narrative proved to be far more resonant in popular American culture. I review the reasons, and discuss how narrative curses function, in this presentation.)

File Sharing in Canada vs. The United States: A Laissez-Faire Alternative or a Different Path to
the Same Place?
(2005 Association for Education in Journalism and Mass Communication)

(An analysis of the differences, to that point, between the Canadian and American justice systems’ approaches to the phenomenon of file sharing. Specifically, I compare the American concept of fair use to the Canadian equivalent (fair dealing) and argue that the American approach is more ill-advised due to its reactionary nature to a problem that evolves very quickly, thus rendering legislation such as the Digital Millenium Copyright Act anachronistic in its own time.)

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