Last week I was at the Cultural Studies Association of Australia annual conference, which is conveniently on my home campus in Sydney. As far as I can remember, it was the first time I've been to a conference on my own campus in ten years of tertiary studies and work. I gave a paper about RaceFail 09, using Eduardo Bonilla-Silva's schemas from Racism without Racists to explore the dynamics of the blog posts and comments on them.
This week I've gone back to a conference paper I gave a few months ago to try to turn it into an article for publication. I went to a couple of research planning days given by my school earlier this year, and one of the things they talked about was how important it is to get the most out of each piece of work/writing you do. I realised that only one of my publications (articles and chapters) began life as a conference paper. I'm not sure how many conferences I've been to over the years but it's more than 20, and possibly more than 30. Even if I'd only converted 1 in 5 of those into a publication I'd had a much stronger track record. I like to think what I have is OK, but more wouldn't hurt.
There have been three main topics I've given paper on this year: representation of orcs/monsters (this includes my Shakespearean digression); the idea of an authentic Middle Ages in online discussions of fantasy racism; and the Racefail dynamics I mentioned before. The last one is still too nascent to be ready to write up properly, and may turn out to be a chapter in the book I'm planning, but I aim to have the other two sent off as articles by February (which is when my next conference is). I'm in a position at the moment where I don't have a lot of deadlines imposed on me from outside, so this is, in part at least, a challenge to myself. I've called life as a full-time researcher 'living the dream' before, and for me it really is.But I still have to make sure it heads in the right direction.