Thursday, 4 October 2007

Week 0

Still not a substantial post from me, I'm afraid. It's Week 0 (Fresher's week) and the last few days have been solidly busy, but things are starting to come together: I actually have students on the MA in Reception and Critical Theory, and I'm very much looking forward to starting the real work of teaching after two years of planning and form-filling and determining 'learning outcomes' and 'unit aims'. (Please do spread that link around to potential students, by the way - we're looking to increase our number of MA students.)

Things I've been thinking about lately include a theory of reading/reception based on the idea of 'pellets' or 'rewards'. What intrigues me about, eg, deconstruction and reader-response theory is that you can read any text as meaning anything, in theory: so how, in practice, do readers make meanings out of texts? And at the moment I think one of the ways is that readers get rewarded by the text for certain interpretations: it's like video games unlocking levels or giving you 'easter eggs' if you figure out how to do a secret task. Like if you think the main romance in Singin' In The Rain is the Don Lockwood/Cathy Selden one, you get a treat at the end of the movie, you get to see your pairing kissing on a hill; if you think the main romance is Don Lockwood/Cosmo Brown, you don't get a treat. Which is, of course, where fanfiction comes in: we give ourselves treats for our own readings! We don't rely on The Man Author to do it for us! We own the means of production of treats!

I've also just started reading 1000 Plateaux, or at least reading bits of it that I hadn't read before: I always forget that Deleuze & Guattari are actually really good, because they got taken up mainly within a particular, very macho, style of academic discourse which annoys me. But I'm reading about nomadology and the war-machine and smooth and striated space, and thinking that really this needs to get integrated into Now and Rome immediately.


glitterboy1 said...

It's the start of term here, too, this week, so you have my sympathy for the busy-ness. Hurrah, though, for actual, real-life students turning up to do your course! That must be satisfying, exciting...and maybe a bit scary, too. But this is your course, and that means they'll have a whale of a time - and so, I hope, will you. Good luck!

nixwilliams said...

heya! i can't believe i forgot to reply to this the other day! PELLETS AND REWARDS! this is really, really cool. i'm very into it, and i've been thinking about it a lot. have you written about this before (i.e. anywhere i can reference?)

Ika said...

Hey! I thought you would like the pellets-and-rewards thing, actually, so I'm glad you do. No, I haven't written about it anywhere yet, am still cogitating, but let's talk about it here on the interwebs!

(I caught up with your blog in a big whoosh the other day, btw - you've been busy!! sorry for no comments along the way.)