Episode 73: Back to Academia

Weird to believe how I am without classes or a job and I still find myself too exhausted to keep up with the blog. At least I’ve got gym and grad conference as legit responsibilities. Today I had a pretty productive meeting with my main advisor who has given me the thumbs up on the current draft for the dissertation proposal. I’m still working out the details but there was this awesome little moment that I want to flesh out in this post so indulge me imaginary intended reader as I use complex vocabulary to further develop what may just be the cornerston of my academic career for the time being.

The bullet point version of the dissertation goes as follows.I am focusing on notions of authorship in the context of serialization through the scope of different media. That little mouthful took us a good five minutes to reconstruct after its initial utterance so that it could be recorded and built upon. Let’s really look into what exatly each of these three different things in academic and common.

Author is a pretty loaded word that goes beyond the writer of a particular literary work, though both terms are often interchangeable. This is the person who ultimately becomes the entity responsible for a literary creation. Accountability, possession, and origin of anything is a hot button issue that makes academics think way too much and any group of friends argue on cue over a particular topic. Consider a sports team and who is responsible for the success or failure of a season. Is it any one athlete, the coach who provides the strategy, the trainers that make sure everyone is healthy, the owner who is actually paying for everything. You can say that it’s a team effort but one tends to highlight the individual for the sakes of showering praise or scapegoating. Authors can be the one person taking on a literary endeavor single handedly not knowing where it’s all going to end up, like a Forrest Gump who just starts running and keeps going for years not sure about what he or she has ultimately accomplished. Others have editors which have your best interests for but for which one personally still takes all the credit or blame. It reminds of a leader like a President who can get a committee of experts on something to bounce and suggest ideas but ultimately the leader is the one calls the shots and is responsible. At other times it is like a team with a lot of overlap of responsibilities where each person contributes something to the final literary output, though some roles stil have precedence over others. Movies for me have the most weird teamwork necessary where lines of individual authorship is heavily blurred. Actors, writers, directors, producers, editors, post production people, and many other individuals place their own fingerprint on the job and help make it happen, even if the viewer only gets to witness the final product and not the process. The recognition falls heavily on your headliners and stars , who are the ones that make the big bucks even when a lot of contemporary cinematography is very much steeped on after effects through CGI who are the the ones that ultimately make the intended visualization take shape. While I am very uninformed about the current protests of VFX personnel towards their being snubbed or whatever in the Oscars, this has helped bring an interesting argument over authorship and accountability of a film to the foreground of viewers and has made my research take an interesting step.

A lot of people have written about authorship in different media, I just ordered a book off Amazon that is specifically about that. What makes my stuff unique and quasi original within my niche academic field is the context of serialization. I have written about serial literature in a myriad of different ways at conferences, papers, homework, and blog posts so no need to go into further detail about it here. For authors, it means that there identity is dynamic and fluid through the publication of their work. You can easily make a clear chronological distinction of the author as a person before and after the publication of his/her work. However, serialization provides an extended window where we get insight into the narrative process through the author doing his work. Not to blow my own academic horn but there’s a line in my thesis that I think best illustrates this point, and the fact that I am paraphrasing myself is blowing my mind. If as Dante Gabriel Rosetti once said the work is a moment’s monument to the author, then work being serialized shows the construction of a collection of such literary monuments through each individual installment and how each connects towards a cohesive narrative gallery.

Wow that sounded even better than maybe the original. That or the exhaustion is kicking in. Signing off.

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