Well, as I announced about six weeks ago, I participated in the Clarion West Write-a-Thon again this year, I think the first time since 2007. I pledged something insane: to write three academic papers in six weeks, to the point of them being ready to send out at the end of the six weeks.
Well, the result was: close, but not quite, but I’m still quite chuffed by what I did achieve, and a few things got thrown into the mix that I didn’t expect, so I’m overall quite pleased with what I did manage:
- The first paper I worked on was only very tangentially related to SF: it was on using creative projects in the Korean classroom. One of the projects the students wrote as a kind of SFnal allegory of an English-centered cult, and I did an exegetic analysis on that and another project, focusing on how the projects not only explicitly critique the effect of the English-language learning industry on Korean society, but also implicitly diagnose problems in everyday classroom TEFL practice. The paper applies Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs, and some research on the topic of Creativity, to attack the question of how the projects themselves, and other creative projects like them, could rectify the problems discussed by the students. It’s the one paper that’s seriously unfinished, with the final section of the argument (on Creativity) and the conclusion waiting to be written. That’s for a conference in October in Seoul, though a copy of the paper is due next month.
- The second paper is for the Utopias conference at Monash University in Melbourne. The paper deals with the politics of the Korean blockbuster The Host, in terms of ecological politics and political ecology from within the discourse of the minjung movement, also mapping the conservative, techno-futurist/developmentalist discourse that has evolved in opposition to it. The paper’s basically done except a few little citations that need to be checked and sorted out.
- The third paper, which I finished drafting last night, is for presentation later in the same week as the Utopias conference, at WorldCon 2010 (also in Melbourne). That paper deals with the uses of SF in the Korean classroom — both as a window on Anglophone (and especially American) culture, and as a kind of mirror on Korean culture. I focus on uses of Blade Runner and Avatar, though Nalo Hopkinson’s Midnight Robber and Larissa Lai’s “Rachel” also come up along the way, as I attempt to demonstrate that SF’s marginality in Korea makes it more, not less, useful for such purposes here. There’s some interesting stuff linked to the theory of Azumi Hiroki (on the links between SF and 19th-century “grand narrative”-type philosophy) which I ran across and which are heklpful here, as well as in my questioning of why SF is so marginal in Korea. There are, again, a few references and commnents from an interview that need to be integrated into it, but it’s basically done.
- Along the way, I was asked to give a talk at the KOFAC (The Korean Foundation for the Advancement of Science and Creativity). The short deadline was such that I had to throw something together, and while I’d probably have presented it differently if I’d known what the audience was going to look like, I think there were a few interesting ideas in among what I said.
So that’s the results in terms of writing. In terms of fundraising, I only garnered $110 dollars in donations, though anyone interested in supporting the Clarion West workshop — the workshop that gave me my start as an SF author! — is still able to make a contribution on my page for the Write-a-Thon.
If anyone who made a donation wants to see the papers, feel free to email me and you can check out the final drafts. (It’s very academic stuff, though, be warned!)