Promoting Discussion Amongst Television and Media Scholars
Department of Radio-Television-Film hosts Flow Conference
Eight years ago, to help research keep pace with the 24/7 media and TV world, RTF graduate students created Flow – an online media research journal. Published about 22 times a year, Flow keeps media research moving by avoiding time-consuming printing and traditional peer-review procedures.
From Nov. 1-3 at the AT&T Executive Education and Conference Center, graduate students hosted the related Flow Conference. Just as the Flow journal differs from traditional academic journals, the Flow Conference is more conversational than a traditional academic conference. Instead of panels, papers and plenary meetings, the Flow conference consisted of several roundtable discussions.
Created by Flow columnists, roundtable topics included:
- "On the Next Arrested Development: Netflix as Television Producer"
- "Representation in the Post-Network Era"
- "#IHateThisShow!: Anti-Fandom in the Digital Age"
- "Toddlers, Teen Moms and Timeouts: The Role of Class in Reality Parenting Programming"
- "Head in the Cloud: Rethinking Distribution in the Digital Age"
Michael Rennett, RTF Ph.D. student and one of six graduate student coordinators
1. Why is the study of television and media culture important?
"Television and media play an increasingly important role in contemporary culture, particularly as technology becomes more mobile. Most people today can essentially participate in media culture at any time and any place, making it important to study how people use their technology and understanding the explicit and implicit ideological messages audiences receive from media texts, particularly around issues of race, class, gender and age. Since media is such an important and pervasive part of contemporary society, it is important for scholars to examine the numerous issues surrounding media and the media industry."
2. What do you hope people take away from this year's conference?
"I hope that attendees will find the conference to be an insightful and enjoyable experience. Ideally, I hope that the conference will foster discussion among academics and help provide new perspectives to the various topics after the conference is over."
3. What panels will you moderate this year?
"I am the moderator for the roundtable 'Broke Girls and Men at Work: 2011-2012's Television Gender Wars.' I'm very excited to hear the discussion surrounding this issue, which entails the gendered differences between shows that premiered last season such as '2 Broke Girls,' 'New Girl,' 'Girls,' 'Last Man Standing,' 'Man Up!' and so on. It should be a lively discussion that touches upon contemporary gender roles, the success of these female-oriented shows (and the failures of the male-oriented shows) and the history of television as a typically gendered medium.
4. What are some are some of this year's top discussion topics?
"Honestly, there are too many great topics to name them all. We have a number of diverse media topics and feature an amazing group of scholars and graduate students who will provide insightful discussion. Thankfully, our biggest issue is that conference participants will have a hard time deciding which roundtables to attend since there are so many great topics from which to choose."
Also serving as graduate student coordinators were Kayti Lausch, Colleen Montgomery, Mike O'Brien, Morgan O'Brien, Michael Rennett and Jessi Trimble. Associate Professor Mary Celeste Kearney and Assistant Professor Mary Beltrán served as faculty advisors.
Laura Byerley, (512) 471-2182