Tuesday, October 14, 2008
Whose Conference? Doctor Who's!
Academics have been known to be critiqued by mainstream media for outlandish, outrageous, or intensely theoretical topics of discussion or fields of inquiry. One could see how that is possible with Cardiff University's upcoming interdisciplinary postgraduate conference "Whoniversal Appeal." It's about the show Doctor Who and spin-offs like Torchwood. Surprisingly, the BBC seems to be taking a non-judgmental approach in its report on the conference, but considering the show is a BBC program, they presumably have some interest in supporting this. Now, I confess that when I heard about this conference, I immediately wanted to hop on a plane and go to it. While I am interested in visiting Wales, in truth I'm a huge fan of the new version of Doctor Who and I love Torchwood. Multiply that with academic interpretation, and I'm sold. Laugh all you want, but I have to agree with organizer Melissa Beattie, who sees the show's 45-year history as critical to an understanding of aspects of British culture and society. Consider, for instance, the big news released yesterday, that Prince Charles turned down a cameo appearance in the new season of the show; as a result, executive producer Russell T. Davies called him "a miserable swine" for rejecting such an important part of British culture. Alas, though, I won't be able to go to Cardiff, as I'll be at another conference that weekend...listening to presentations (and giving a presentation) on esoteric issues related to British Victorian culture.