Yesterday, on the…

Yesterday, on the Immigration panel, I completely mangled my recollection of Benedict Anderson's definition of a nation as an imagined community. Particularly embarrassing because I just tested my students on this a month ago! But in my defense, I had fallen asleep in my hotel room just before the panel and woke up five minutes before it was supposed to start, so I was a bit panicked and groggy to begin. It got much better. But for those who were totally confused, I do think his definitions are really useful and interesting to think about. The nation is imagined and limited, sovereign and a community. But really, you need to know what he means by those terms. It's just a page from his introduction, but a fascinating one, I think.

Other than that fumble, I thought the panel went really well; we had some great contributions both from panelists and from the audience, and managed to touch on a host of interesting topics, including problematizing the term 'assimilation', giving some historical examples of interesting immigration conjunctions (I was fascinated by Ay-leen's description of the situation faced by Punjabi men, very young Mexican women, and land rights; need to look it up so I can use it in my classes), considering what constitutes 'worth' in an immigrant (or refugee) body, and discussing what additional duties, if any, immigrants 'owe' to their host nations. We didn't get to fiction at all, except for a very few examples at the end (so, clearly, we should have had a second panel immediately following when we could just talk about fiction), but we did mention Shaun Tan's amazing graphic text, The Arrival.

Other than that, it's mostly just been good food, good friends, good fun. Laotian lunch at Ventienne Palace, where I discovered that I actually like the bean thread noodles even better than the spicy plate. POC dinner here at the hotel, and can I say that it was just astonishing to see 55 people in that room, and know that there are quite a few more POC at this convention that didn't even bother to come to the dinner. That's great! From the early days when there were six of us (Nalo, Victor, Ian, Diantha, M.J., me) out of a crowd of a thousand, I think we may actually be close to one in ten at WisCon now. It really changes the feel of the convention, and I think in a good way. Of course, I would think that. :-)

After dinner, some lovely hanging with Jessie and Jed in the lounge, and then it was all karaoke all the time. I had a blast dancing, which reminds me that I wish I knew a good way to incorporate more dancing into my life. I don't really think I'm at the life stage for going out to night clubs anymore -- none of my friends do that in Chicago. And house parties tend to be more dinner parties and kid things right now. But I do love shaking my booty in a totally incompetent way. I can't really dance, but what I do, I do with enthusiasm. :-) Which I suppose also applies to my rendition of Total Eclipse of the Heart, accompanied by many very dramatic back-up singers and by Ben, who also throws himself (and his whole body) into everything he does. The crowd went wild, because really, when faced with Benjamin flinging himself about in a fine, mad frenzy, how could you not?

I collapsed, exhausted, after midnight, and woke up at 6. I have a packed day, so I suspect no nap, so tonight may be a bit painful. But, y'know, it's WisCon. Even with a little pain, it's all good.

2 thoughts on “Yesterday, on the…”

  1. Your dancing was awesome! You looked like you were having a blast, and I think that’s really ll it takes to make for competent booty shaking (of course it’s possible I say this because I throw all caution to the wind and shake incompetently whenever there happens to be a beat).

    Also, “Total Eclipse of the Heart” was a crowd pleaser! Everyone was singing along and loving your dramatization.

    And, finally, as a first timer, I have to say I love that there are so many POC here. It makes me feel really comfortable.

  2. re: increasing numbers of visibly PoC — sure feels wonderful to this white person. Fulltime in Madison provides a twisted outlook on what the human race loooks like. It’s reassuring as WisCon becomes a little more realistic. (Realism in an SF/F con?)

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