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parrot_knight [userpic]

The Unsilent Library: browsing the catalogue

March 12th, 2011 (02:37 am)

The Unsilent Library, edited by Simon Bradshaw, Antony Keen and Graham Sleight (SFF Foundation' £10) is dangerous bedtime reading. Anyone prone to academic treatment of Doctor Who will probably enjoy it, but be prepared to be kept awake by new ideas. This particularly goes for technocratic humanists brought up by the 'old series' in the 1970s. Going to Una McCormack's essay on Gridlock (the episode which reconciled me to the tenth Doctor), we are bid to read Foucault, and probably advisedly given how my own quasi-instinctive understanding of society would probably be dismissed as 'carceral' by Foucauldians. Watch out for much chewing over the role of quasi-Messianic Time Lords in a non-metaphysical universe. This is a book on Doctor Who, as showrun by Russell T Davies, to develop opinions and change minds. It's tremendous that the series can inspire books like this; there's a thriving school of acafandom now concerned with Doctor Who, and long may this continue to be the case.

Comments

Posted by: Altariel (altariel)
Posted at: March 12th, 2011 08:55 am (UTC)
Doctor not redeemed from time

Glad you found the essay interesting (awake till 2.37am?!).

Posted by: parrot_knight (parrot_knight)
Posted at: March 12th, 2011 08:58 am (UTC)

Another round of flat-tidying had kept me awake too - but I'm a great fan of Gridlock, and also think that you've identified an underlying reason why so many fans of a particular generation are unsettled by RTD's Doctor Who.

Responses to other essays in the book might follow in a few days...

Posted by: Altariel (altariel)
Posted at: March 12th, 2011 10:30 am (UTC)

an underlying reason why so many fans of a particular generation are unsettled by RTD's Doctor Who

That was something I particularly wanted to explore.

Posted by: muuranker (muuranker)
Posted at: March 12th, 2011 11:07 am (UTC)

acafandom - term filed under U for Useful.

Posted by: parrot_knight (parrot_knight)
Posted at: March 12th, 2011 01:06 pm (UTC)

Not my coinage - I think I first came across it in an article or a book by Matt Hills.

Posted by: widsidh (widsidh)
Posted at: March 12th, 2011 02:28 pm (UTC)
K9

I love the term. Not being the writer-type fan, I can identify with it. Not that I am engaing in it meaningfully moment, but this is pretty much what I did for B5 in the 1990s, and I wish I had time for more!

Posted by: parrot_knight (parrot_knight)
Posted at: March 12th, 2011 05:49 pm (UTC)
Sheldonian

It's a great term - there have been articles contrasting 'aca-fan' and 'fan-academic', too...

Edited at 2011-03-12 05:51 pm (UTC)

Posted by: widsidh (widsidh)
Posted at: March 12th, 2011 07:33 pm (UTC)
dunwich

At a wild guess what the difefrence might be, I think I still was/am the former - the latter would requires a lot more commitment, more your kind of thing :-)

Posted by: parrot_knight (parrot_knight)
Posted at: March 12th, 2011 10:24 pm (UTC)

I think I am probably a fan who dabbles in an academic approach. I know that my longer Tides articles would need more development, awareness of theory, and simply more knowledge of broadcast context and literary roots, let alone apparatus, to be considered of academic standard. louisedennis's review of my piece in Time And Relative Dissertations In Space alerted me to the lack of anything to apply to my research so that one reader at least didn't feel particularly enlightened.

ETA: That was a bit negative, but I'm very aware of the holes in my reading. altariel's article made me re-evaluate what I've written about season seventeen, for example - humanist, or poststructuralist?

Edited at 2011-03-12 11:50 pm (UTC)

Posted by: sensiblecat (sensiblecat)
Posted at: March 14th, 2011 01:19 pm (UTC)

I certainly think there's a place for those of us who enjoy academic-type meta and conversation without exposing ourselves to the full rigour of publication. Also would be interesting to exchange resources, interesting publications, etc.

I notice Cardiff Uni have a two-day conference on Folklore and Myth coming up - their call for papers has a very wide remit and I'm sure some enterprising postgrad could slot in DW somewhere. Those deprived of the facilities of a TARDIS would need to work fast to make the deadline date.

http://www.h-net.org/announce/show.cgi?ID=183190

Posted by: sensiblecat (sensiblecat)
Posted at: March 12th, 2011 05:26 pm (UTC)

I've already had a good debate going over at my place on the Donna essay. I did notice from some of the comments that not everyone sees DW through the lens of literary theory - there were various sincere protests, "But the Doctor wasn't being sexist when he mind-wiped Donna!" Not necessarily the same point as whether the script was sexist.

And that's just the one essay. I think we could probably run an academic meta community on the book as a whole.

Posted by: parrot_knight (parrot_knight)
Posted at: March 12th, 2011 05:48 pm (UTC)

Agreed! The Doctor is asserting power, I'd argue, and denying Donna the right to determine her own fate. The act can be interpreted within the text as an act of self-aggrandizement on the Doctor's part - he likes being the Last of the Time Lords, and enjoys both the power and the self-pity - and also one of self-destructiveness - isn't the DoctorDonna an aspect of himself? Outside the text, the success of Donna depended on Catherine Tate's ability and experience as an actress to balance the performance of David Tennant in a way which Freema Agyeman (good as she is) couldn't do, partly because of the limitations of Martha's character. There is something in Donna's degradation at the end of 'Journey's End' which can be read as misogynistic in terms of the programme.

Still, I've not read the essay yet...

Posted by: daniel_saunders (daniel_saunders)
Posted at: March 12th, 2011 08:01 pm (UTC)

I'd be interested to hear more about the book, although I will probably have a break from fan works after I finish Timelink (almost done with volume 1, with volume 2 hopefully on the way - I hope to write a review at some point).

Speaking of acafandom, I have tentatively agreed to do an 'information audit' of Doctor Who fandom for one of my MA assignments. I have no idea how this will turn out or even if it's feasible given time and word-count restraints, not to mention other factors I won't talk about on an unfiltered post. But as the Doctor said, I'll burn that bridge when I get to it...

Posted by: parrot_knight (parrot_knight)
Posted at: March 12th, 2011 10:14 pm (UTC)

Excellent - what does an information audit involve?

I might be busy with The Unsilent Library for some time; where Running Through Corridors is lighthearted and easily gone through, this book demands more consideration, particularly as I don't take naturally to the vocabulary of cultural theory.

Posted by: daniel_saunders (daniel_saunders)
Posted at: March 12th, 2011 10:31 pm (UTC)
Radcliffe Camera

what does an information audit involve?

This is where the problems with the teaching of my course that I've mentioned in more detail on my blog come in - I'm not entirely sure what it involves and need to do some reading to find out, as the classes have not been terribly helpful. I do know that in vague terms it involves working out where a particular group/organization gets its information, what it does with it, what information it puts out etc.

Posted by: parrot_knight (parrot_knight)
Posted at: March 12th, 2011 11:51 pm (UTC)
Sheldonian

In which case, be careful not to get lost on GallifreyBase...

Posted by: sensiblecat (sensiblecat)
Posted at: March 14th, 2011 12:22 pm (UTC)
Pieces of Eight!

Parenthetically adding, I think your signature icon would be perfect for any aca-fandom activity, being in itself a crossover (between Brideshead Revisited, DW and Treasure Island?)

Posted by: parrot_knight (parrot_knight)
Posted at: March 14th, 2011 12:25 pm (UTC)
Re: Pieces of Eight!
Eccleston

I'd never thought of it like that! The illustration was originally designed for issue 31 of The Tides of Time, though variants of it appeared at the Oxford University Freshers' Fair in 2005; I added the parrot when I made it into a userpic. I'm quite pleased with the one I've added to this comment, too.

Posted by: Dr Moonray (swisstone)
Posted at: March 20th, 2011 08:52 am (UTC)
Tennant Doctor

Thanks. I hope you enjoy the rest of it.

Posted by: parrot_knight (parrot_knight)
Posted at: March 20th, 2011 12:38 pm (UTC)
SarahJaneSmith

May I congratulate you on the vindication of the integrity of the Sarah Jane Smith we knew in our youth? As I growled as Sarah made the "I've learned how to fight" speech in Journey's End, our Sarah always knew.

Posted by: Dr Moonray (swisstone)
Posted at: March 20th, 2011 04:39 pm (UTC)
Sarah Jane

Thank you. If I ever update my paper, I shall remember to include a reference to "Journey's End".

I should put my other Sarah Jane article, the one I cite in the chapter up online somewhere. I think it's that one where I say that, whatever else you may say about Monster of Peladon, most of it justified, it's an absolutely cracking story for SJS.

Posted by: parrot_knight (parrot_knight)
Posted at: March 20th, 2011 04:46 pm (UTC)

Yes, please to your other Sarah Jane article. I'm curious about what it says, and about the publication in which it appeared.