Thursday, October 06, 2005


Check Out this Call for Papers

If you're in academia, you know what a CFP is--a call for papers, generally for a conference.

Well, here's something that came over the English CFP list out of UPenn. I cannot believe the audacity of this individual, and I hope that if you're reading this blog and you're a blogger, that you'll report this atrocity on your blog and get the word out. This is quite possibly the most blatant admission of academic bias I've come across in a decade and a half in academia, and certainly the most pathetic excuse for an academic panel I can possibly imagine.

Citizens of Kansas--your tax dollars are paying this guy's salary, and have been since the 1970s.

Date: 5-Oct-2005 16:40:47 -0500
Subject: CFP: The Secret Lives of the Conservatives (10/24/05; KSU CSC, 3/9/06-3/11/06)

I invite papers for a panel to be held at the fifteenth annual Cultural
Studies Conference at Kansas State University, Manhattan, Kansas, March
9-11. Papers can be on a wide variety of topics related to the conference
theme of privacy and secrecy and the public sphere.

Papers on specific instances are welcomed, and papers considering a
variety of issues and concerns: tabloidization and the neutralization of
the political; the personal as political; hypocritical Puritanism; the
defense by offense; vast right wing conspiracies; "outing" as a political
tactic; scandal amnesia; "spin" and tactical framing; true evil beneath
the compassionate, Christian front; why nothing makes a difference; left
tactics and despair; the politics of denial and shame; business secrecy
vs. personal secrecy; liberal vs. conservative secret lives; sexual dysfunction in conservatives; Laura Bush's private life; scholarly muckraking and shockjocking.

Send brief, 200 word abstracts by email, not attachment, to Don Hedrick,
along with a very brief bio, to Don Hedrick, Department of English, Kansas State University, at, by October 24. Inquiries welcome.

Don Hedrick

From the Literary Calls for Papers Mailing List
Full Information at
or write Jennifer Higginbotham:

UPDATE: A comment over at Critical Mass points out the propensity among the Democrats to "out" their political opponents--such as outing Mary Cheney's daughter, but the comment didn't go where I thought it was going to go, something I wish I'd thought to point out last night. Doesn't this bozo appreciate the irony of asking for people to come and whine about outing as a political tactic and in the next breath to come and talk about Laura Bush's private life? The comment skirts around this fact, but I was waiting for the skewer, so I went ahead and provided it here.

Good catch there. I've put an article with a link up at my blog.
Un. Friggin. Believable.

Thanks for posting this, Winston. I plan to link and comment over at my blog.
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
^^Just to let you know--I'm not censoring opinions with the above deleted comment, just spam.

What's with all the comment spam on Blogger? And how do I stop it?
W -- You can stop it but turning on "word verification" in Blogger/Blogspot, so that commenters, even anonymous ones, have to enter a machine-unreadable alphanumeric code if they want to post a comment. To their credit, Blogger appears to have responded pretty quickly to the problem as it became more common in the past couple of months.
^^Thanks, Jeff. That option wasn't there the last time I played with the settings. I was wondering how Elephants in Academia had added that feature to the comments function.

Somebody needs to write another Canto for Inferno, and add a circle in hell for spammers. What would their eternal punishment be?
Punishment? Being forced to attend the Cultural Studies Conference for all eternity...
the irony of asking for people to come and whine about outing as a political tactic

Actually, my first thought was that he was suggesting papers on the usefulness of outing conservatives as a political tactic. Your interpretation is a possible one as well, but I wouldn't assume he's against outing, at least when used against his political opponents. "By any means necessary..."
Oh, I'm sure that outing is evil when conservatives use it, but the necessary revelation of the truth when "liberals" use it.

But I assumed at first that he was lamenting the outing of Democrats.
How long has it been since the Modern Language Association's focus was on Language (papers on the Past Preterite in Jane Austen's Earlier Novels). I suppose by extension, the MLA can be about anything, but if they're going to stray from the study of language, they ought at least to change their name. Perhaps the Modern Liberal Association.
I call them The Marxist-Leninist Association, myself. Very little is liberal about the MLA, at least in the sense of liberalism being about openness to ideas.
liberal vs. conservative secret lives; sexual dysfunction in conservatives; Laura Bush's private life; scholarly muckraking and shockjocking.

This must be a joke, mustn't it? I can't believe anyone, no matter their political persuasion, would seriously call this panel an academic forum. You don't think he's just checking to see if anyone's paying attention? It sounds like he's deliberately trying to stir people up.
I don't think it's a joke. I will do some more investigation, and see whether or not the conference itself has a website.

Given the crap I saw at MLA 2003, this is not surprising save in that it is so blatant.
As a mid-conservative Kansan who just attended the conference that has been called a four-day festival of anti-Bush, anti-conservative, anti-Christian propaganda, I am quite disappointed. There was no anti-anything propaganda. The conference was on Privacy and Secrecy, a subject I at least think is intriguing on several levels and think everyone would be at least interested in. All the papers involved (including one by Hedrick himself) were inquiries into secrecy and the public sphere. Even those papers who had a political edge to them (such as Hedrick's) ended up asking more questions than answering them, and were linked clearly to pertinant and troubling trends for ALL people, not just right or left-wingers. I am troubled that asking these questions, or calling for papers adressing these issues would be seen as an attack. After all, isn't the discussion of issues what academia is supposed to be all about?
Actually, no, academia isn't really about a discussion of "Laura Bush's private life, hypocritical Puritanism, the true evil beneath a compassionate, Christian front, sexual dysfunction in conservatives" etc. If you think academia is the place to have such discussions, then you have one warped view of the academy. Academia isn't talk radio.

I'm willing to believe that the tone of this conference was dialed back, particularly given the attention given this CFP and Horowitz's address to the Kansas State Legislature yesterday.

But if you can't see a problem with the CFP, which is what I was addressing, I weep for "mid-conservatism."
Cool article as for me. It would be great to read something more about this topic. The only thing I would like to see on that blog is some photos of some devices.
Alex Karver
Cell phone blocker
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