Gerry Canavan

the smartest kid on earth

MLA Wrap-Up

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My paper for the “Oil Ontologies” panel was pretty well received today, if I do say so myself, with two other very interesting papers on oil company propaganda and petrofiction and a lot of great discussion during and after the Q&A. My paper was essentially a revised version of these two early culturemonkey posts mixed with my usual argument about how science fiction, as our ideology of the future, is Very Important. (More on this theme with regard to ecology in general will be coming soon in the Polygraph introduction, as well as in this oil paper after I revise it for eventual hoped-for publication.) I’m very glad to have been a part of this panel; I’m very convinced that understanding “oil ontology,” a concept originally developed by Imre Szeman in this South Atlantic Quarterly article from 2007, is a crucial component of any ecologically minded critique of capitalism.

Next up: a paper on zombies for IAFA.

Putting my paper off to one side, the big winner in the MLA paper sweepstakes this week was undoubtedly Brian Croxall, whose decision to deliver his paper on adjunct faculty issues by proxy has gotten the issue a tremendous deal of attention. A special honorable mention goes to the digital humanities, who really were everywhere.

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