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Postmodern Village
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The Mainly Annual
EastWesterly Review/Postmodern Village
Conference 2011

Conference 2011
by E.W. Wilder

Location Information (and a Bit of Grunching):

While it was awfully generous of the University of Idaho to host this year’s Postmodern Village Conference, especially given these times of tight budgets, conservative outlooks, and neo-tribal/traditionalisms, this reporter is unsure of his ability to handle dorm life and industrial food at his current age and in his current state of tune.

Wallace Residence Center - BasementWallace Residence Center, for all its glamor and the -- I’m sure more or less genuine -- attempt at Mid-Century Modern furniture in the basement, still managed to fail at being just-past-middle-age friendly, and the permanent scent of scorched microwave popcorn did not agree with this reporter’s sensitivities and propensity toward GERD.

Complicating matters, the proximity of gorgeous mountain vistas and abundant recreational opportunities turned the constant grind of workshop attendance and logistics into something of a cruel joke, juxtaposing the beauty of nature with the brutal nature of business.

Thesis! Antithesis! Synthesis!
Hooray for beer! Still, some fun was had when some miracle presented a keg of beer, perhaps the result of a bit of dormitory-inspired nostalgia? The breach of our contract with the University of Idaho was temporarily overlooked by conference organizers as they, too, were seen hoisting a plastic cup to fallen theories and formulations of the literary canon.

A Chaos in Search of a Conference
These past few years have seemed to lend themselves to the tight categorization of conference papers. There’s something about a common enemy to focus the mind. But perhaps reflecting the upheavals in the markets and the marketplace of ideas, perhaps the de-centering effects of a world in which Lady Gaga is a cultural icon and Michele Bachmann can out-poll Barack Obama, perhaps the inexplicable popularity of the Planet of the Apes prequel or the apotheosis of Cormac McCarthy, perhaps all these have conspired to make this year’s batch of papers meander the cultural scene like an inebriated junebug. This year, even the ardent Marxists seemed inexplicably rattled.

But for good or ill, and for the lack of anyone’s ability to tell the difference, there were these:

Papers, Part 1