March 25, 2011 Leave a comment
At SCMS 2011, I participated in a panel titled “Digital Television, Analog Memories” along with Karen Lury and Amy Holdsworth, both of the University of Glasgow. The panel explored themes of memory, materiality, and everydayness in relation to the digitalization of television. Amy kicked off the panel with a presentation titled “Nostalgic Frames: Televising and Teaching Television History and Memory.” Drawing on research for her forthcoming Palgrave book Television, Memory, and Nostalgia, Amy raised a number of provocative questions about the political economy of nostalgia programming (e.g. BBC4’s TV on Trial and Channel 5′s Greatest TV Comedy Moments) before concluding with some observations about the pedagogical challenges television’s current “memory boom” presents. Karen closed the session with her paper “‘Close’ Viewing: Stories of Technology in the Move from Analog to Digital Media,” a refreshingly original presentation that many attendees (including this one) agreed was one of the most exciting of the entire conference. Karen went door to door in her Glasgow close (the Scottish term for tenement-style apartments) photographing her neighbors’ media set-ups and interviewing them about their families’ media habits. The result was an engrossing story that was as much about neighborliness as it was about technology. Lury’s tour through her neighbors’ flats invited the audience to recall the ethnographic studies that had defined television studies during its formative years, and to consider how these familiar research methods might complement or complicate more recent industry-focused scholarship on digitalization and convergence.
In between these stellar papers I presented some new work on the changing cultural meanings of the cathode ray tube (CRT) television. The paper follows below, a .pdf version is available here. This is still a work in progress, and I would very much appreciate any feedback anyone felt like offering. And since this is an unfinished work, I ask that you please contact me directly before citing it.