An inside look into an English professor's academic conferences and conventions
Dr. Niamh O'Leary is Xavier University's resident Shakespeare scholar. Teaching upper-division and graduate Shakespeare courses, Dr. O'Leary has been sharing her love of Shakespeare with students since she began in the fall
- of 2010.However, Dr. O'Leary doesn't just share her Shakespearean knowledge with Xavier University students. She attends multiple Shakespeare Association of America (SAA) conferences, where she dialogues and connects with other Shakespearean scholars from across the nation. I recently had the pleasure of sitting down with Dr. O'Leary to find out more about an academic Shakespeare conference.
- Xavier Newswire: What is the general setup of an academic conference?
- Dr. Niamh O'Leary: The SAA academic conferences can take many different shapes and sizes. In the humanities, in particular English and literature, you tend to have panel presentations with three or four speakers. They present papers or arguments thatare about 20 minutes in length. They're all organized around a specific topic. However, the Shakespeare conference I'm going to over Easter weekend hosts seminars. There are about 12 people in a seminar and everyone writes a paper to pre-circulate via email before the conference. You read the papers and you have all of these virtual discussions. Then, at the seminar, you meet and talk for about two hours. This leads to a rich conversation that can result in book or article projects.
- XN: What are the other professors and scholars like?
- NO: There is a wide range of experience. There is young faculty, like myself, as well as emeritus faculty who are incredible heavy lifters in the field who have tons of books out, but everyone is on a level playing field. Everyone brings new work on a related topic, so the conversations can be really rich and helpful.
- XN: What was one of the most influential or interesting seminars you attended?
- NO: One of my favorite and most productive seminars for research was from a seminar titled "Shakespeare's Female Icon." Every paper looked at Shakespeare's most notable female characters. One of the papers investigated Manga Macbeth, a comic book version of Shakespeare's tragedy. Another observed representations of the drowning Ophelia posted by users on Flickr, and it was really interesting to see all of this pop culture intrigue in these female figures. These papers influenced my work on my upcoming publication with Upstart Crow titled "Ambition and Desire: Gertrude as Tragic Hero in Feng Xiaogang's The Banquet. The seminar made me examine all of these incredibly frustrating female figures and learn how to teach from a pop culture angle.
- XN: Are there ever any arguments between professors or scholars at these conferences?
- NO: Well, there is an ongoing argument between scholars who see Shakespeare as awriter for the stage and those who see him as a writer of the page. During my first conference, this panelist stood up and talked about the poems and sonnets. His presentation talked about Shakespeare as an author invested in his publication and crafting a literary career. During this presentation, this woman stood up and started yelling, "What about the plays?" and wouldn't shut up. It was just absurd. My friends and I were in grad school and we just looked at each other.
- XN: Do you have any final comments you would like to share?
- NO: I keep saying the word "rich" over and over again. A good conference can be such a wonderful experience because it can be a reunion with friends whom I haven't seen in a long time as well as an opportunity for some stimulating conversation and dorking-out. It really renews my enthusiasm for what I already do. That's why I come back from these conferences re-energized to teach.
Get Top Stories Delivered Weekly
Recent The Xavier University Newswire News Articles
Discuss This Article
GET TOP STORIES DELIVERED WEEKLY
FOLLOW OUR NEWSPAPER
LATEST THE XAVIER UNIVERSITY NEWSWIRE
- Unknown Mortal Orchestra's II
- Bullet to the Head misses its target
- Casual Vacany leaves the reader feeling unfulfilled
- Songs in the Key of... "LOVE" : Players' new show to be annual event
- Respect yourself first
- The future of Xavier
- An inside look into an English professor's academic conferences and conventions
RECENT THE XAVIER UNIVERSITY NEWSWIRE CLASSIFIEDS
FROM AROUND THE WEB
- The Importance of Protecting Patents
- Zulily Helps Moms Navigate the "Fourth Trimester" in Style
- Veteran Raises Capital Via Alternative Financing
- Stop Pests This Spring With These Safe, Simple Steps
- Have a Blast This Spring Break With These Must-Have...
- Seniors Find That Doing Good Is Good For You
- University Students Take Top Honors at CME Group's Annual...
- Telecom and Cloud Service Options Expand in Africa
- Depression Sufferers Find Hope With New Sound Technology
- Going With Your Gut -- Virtual Colonoscopy Simplifies...
COLLEGE PRESS RELEASES
- Deadline Approaching for Phi Kappa Phi Award Programs
- Applications Available for Phi Kappa Phi Student Leadership Summit
- GREEN AMERICA: ONE MILLION TREES COULD BE SAVED EACH YEAR IF UNIVERSITIES SWITCHED TO ONLY RECYCLED PAPER FOR ALUMNI MAGAZINES
- Deadline Approaching for the Phi Kappa Phi Fellowship Program
- Entries Are Open for 9th Annual SVG/NACDA College Sports Media Awards