Good news to share! This morning, I got the news that my proposal for the conference had been accepted! This means that, provided I can arrange the details, I will be presenting on Joss Whedon's Fray in October. Oh, did I mention the conference takes place in Istanbul, Turkey? That's the flag over there.
Here's the link with details and so forth.
Now, the two main concerns I've already heard from people are:
1. A conference on what? Are you serious?
2. Turkey - hmmm. Is that safe?
Let me address both of these concerns.
1. A international conference on Buffy the Vampire Slayer with a wider emphasis on the works of Joss Whedon. Yes, I'm serious. I've had this question a lot, so I can give a thumbnail answer to this - I can also rattle on at great length, but I'll spare you that. In general, look - popular culture ("popcult" to be trendy and short) is well worth studying. Why wait sixty years for someone else to tell you what was important today? And, face it, where we put our attention indicates in no small part what we value as a society. Further, television is a big part of our society. Is most of it near-worthless trash? Sure. But a small fragment of it not only isn't trash, but is something lovely and transcendent - and that's ALWAYS worth a closer look, regardless of the medium.
More specifically, Whedon took some very traditional ideas and turned them inside-out. Was he the first person to do this? Heck, no. Does he do it very, very well? The answer is a resounding "yes"! Strong female characters who fight hard and still retain their femininity; families that never let go of each other, even though their bonds are seldom of blood (it's a post-modern thing - the notion that we create our own, quite legitimate, families); the idea that we have to look out for each other and create meaning out of a life which often seems random and cruel unless and until we assign meaning to it - all of this is in Whedon's work. The dialogue is also quick and quippy and delightful to watch.
So yes, I'm serious.
2. Turkey is the most Western of the so-called Islamic countries. They are almost aggressively secular and have, for the most part, avoided the radical elements that are found in most other countries (including ours). I'm not packing a burqa, although I promise as a matter of simple respect to cover my head if I sightsee in a mosque.
See the link. I know it's to Wikipedia, which isn't the best academic source, but for a quick overview, it'll do nicely.
So hey - Turkish Delight, here I come!