Well, it's OVER! The conference was a great success, despite some tech glitches at the last hour! We hope you all enjoyed your time at Maryland, and Katie and Maggie would like to sincerely thank everyone who attended and helped make the event fabulous. Our sessions were nearly packed at times, and the height of the conference saw nearly 70 people! Sarah Sillin won the Best Paper Award, and she'll be receiving a certificate to recognize her achievement.
David Shumway's keynote talk, "Crossing Social and Generic Borders 'Up in the Air'" explored the way in which the titular film uses but revises the traditional archetype of the lone hero. Shumway argued that Alex, the love interest of Ryan (played by George Clooney), actually remains the film's lone hero at the end, returning happily and seemingly without regret to her home and family in the suburbs. Meanwhile, the old-western-esque figure of Ryan is left to roam the skies with a clear articulation of loneliness. Shumway also argued for the film's distinction between class and status, as we find our main character's enticed far more by one another's frequent flier miles than actual economic class. In fact, the liminal space of air travel (and travel in general, as Shumway's clips from classic film showed) provides a unique opportunity for individuals to substitute status for class.
We hope you enjoy the pictures below, and thanks again!