Every year, DragonCon hosts the Comics and Popular Arts Conference, which serves as a wonderful opportunity for attendees and academics to get together and discuss issues relating to comics, speculative fiction, gaming, science fiction, video gaming, tabletop gaming, and other related media and topics. The conference features presentations of peer-reviewed scholarly work and then invites discussion with and input from DragonCon attendees.
This year, GiN sat down with presenter Johnathan Flowers, a doctoral candidate in Philosophy from Southern Illinois University at Carbondale whose research focuses on Japanese Aesthetics and the philosophy of race, gender and sexuality. Flowers discussed a bit about the utility of the conference and how valuable having non-academics approaching the material presented by the academics has been to scholarship and delved into concepts of race and gender in comics.
What is really fantastic about CPAC is that it offers a forum for serious discussion about a lot of these issues in the media we, as fans of these genres, consume. Topics this year ranged from a presentation on the history of Star Trek fan fiction to the philosophy of subverting win conditions in role playing games to discussions of how stories function in anime. Sitting in on the panel on win conditions in role-playing games, I can honestly say that the discussion was lively, respectful, on point, and most importantly, interesting. So for those readers intending on attending DragonCon in the future, you might want to look at CPAC’s offerings to see what their topics are.
Where else can you see a panel featuring Ph.Ds and Ph.D candidates discussing game construction with game designers that affords you, the attendee, the opportunity to provide feedback and possible direction for scholarship on the topics that you love?