A long-overdue update following the terrific ‘Politics of Superheroes’ conference I attended at Yale a few weeks ago. All the start-of-semester activity got the better of me since my return, and robbed the planned update to this blog of some of its urgency. At any rate, the second (and last) day of the small conference was certainly worthwhile, culminating in a closing round-table discussion, which was sometimes annoyingly unfocused (like much of the conference), but which did re-emphasize many theoretical concerns central to the topic of superheroes in popular culture.
My own paper was a modest success, but since the panel’s chair wasn’t very strict about enforcing the 20-minute time limit on presentations and the first paper was plagued by a computer crash and other technical problems, there was only very little time left for Q&A, most of which was then directed at another presenter, whose misapplication of Freudian terminology drew some heated remarks.
What I got out of it for my own work was firstly a new network of strong contacts, not only from some of the better universities in and around New England, but also from France and the UK; secondly, a number of tantalizing ideas on re-thinking and conceptualizing the superhero figure and how this relates not only to politics, but also to the city, to digital ontologies, to globalization, and to race and gender. So now the time has come to feed some of those ideas back into a new draft of my research proposal as I begin to catalogue funding options for the next academic year(s).