Monday, April 5, 2010

Why I am excited about the upcoming conferences

As I mentioned below, I am excited about the upcoming critical animal studies conference and the PIC conference. I just wanted to take a minute and explain why I'm excited.

The ICAS conference at SUNY-Cortland will be the first critical animal studies conference I have ever been to. And that really has changed how I wrote the paper for the conference. And for now, at least, it has been remarkably freeing. To give one example, I spend time in each conference paper trying to explain why talking about other animals is a philosophically and politically important subject. This part of the paper isn't there, and (hopefully) isn't necessary. I'm not saying there are not unique constraints for speaking at a CAS conference, but because they are new they are completely productive and useful for me. I have high expectations for this conference, but I am pretty sure most of them will be met.

The weekend after the ICAS conference will be the PIC conference at Binghamton. Now, this will be my fifth time in attendance at the PIC conference, and I have to say that it isn't like any other conference I ever attend. The participants so frequently come from such radically different backgrounds from each other, and yet there are such sincere and real conversations that occur at that conference. It is not common that the conferences I have attended elsewhere have such a pluralism of intellectual backgrounds.

In this sense I'm excited about the conferences for the reasons they are different from each other. In one the epistemological object is the same, and therefore the conversation will have a certain level of agreement that allows the disagreements to take place in different and interesting places. Meanwhile, the other one might make me justify the importance of what I am speaking about, but will also force me to have a rigorous and multiple intellectual traditions to think through. I am expecting to have a good time at both, and to be challenged in productive ways at both.