Doctor Who Cuttings Archive

A Celebration of Doctor Who

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University, and organized by Paul Booth, this interdisciplinary conference celebrated Doctor Who's 50th anniversary with the intention of sparking debate and discussion about the changing values, meanings, and contexts of Doctor Who across its first half-century. In an effort to speak to multiple groups, the colloquium featured both fan and scholarly speakers, and both academics and fan groups were in attendance. Speakers and audience members explored the nuances of the program, discussed its mysteries, and debated the show's treatment of the enigmas of time and space.

The keynote speaker was Doctor Who author Robert Shearman, who spoke about his writing process, offered anecdotes about his experiences working with Russell T. Davies and Steven Moffat, and articulated his personal history with Doctor Who. During his hour-long interview/talk, Shearman revealed aspects of the production process, including how particular scenes are constructed in the editing room. He also performed a live commentary on his episode "Dalek" (14 April 2006) and read one of his short stories.

In addition, over 150 participants attended six roundtable discussions during the daylong celebration. Each roundtable featured six speakers presenting multiple viewpoints and illuminating both scholarly and fan discourse. Topics included "The Long Appeal of Doctor Who," which focused on the changing fan base of the show; "Doctor Who and Philosophy," which examined the series' moral and ethical dimensions; and "Doctor Who Aesthetics," which looked at design challenges throughout the show's history. In the afternoon, thematic panels included "Doctor Who and Gender," "Doctor Who and Fandom," and "Doctor Who and Narrative," each of which offered analyses of the show's impact on fifty years of cultural studies.

Speakers at the colloquium ranged from academics who integrate Doctor Who into their research to fans who have published about the show. As befits the academic/fan amalgam of the conference, speakers were encouraged to discuss and debate rather than present scholarly papers. In many ways, speakers at the colloquium embodied what Matt Hills has termed the "scholarfan" model of academia and the "fan-scholar" model within fandom.

The fan-scholars in attendance included Erika Ensign and Lynne M. Thomas, contributors to the Verity! Doctor Who podcast. Thomas also coedited, with fellow roundtable participant Tara O'Shea, the collection Chicks Dig Time Lords (2010). Other contributors to that collection who participated include novelists Mary Robinette Kowal, Kathryn Sullivan, and Jody Lynn Nye, and author Tammy Garrison. Additional fan-scholars in attendance included Philip Sandifer, author of the TARDIS Eruditorum blog and book series, Doctor Who columnist Rob Levy, and Jennifer Adams Kelley, coordinator of the Chicago TARDIS fan convention.

Scholar-fans who spoke came from varied interdisciplinary backgrounds, including professor of design and author of TARDISBound (2011) Piers Britton; philosophy professor Ann Hetzel Gunkel; religious studies professor Scott Paeth; historian and author of Doctor Who in Time and Space (2013) Gillian Leitch; television scholar Derek Kompare; rhetorician Ashley Hinck; media professor Cary Elza; humanities professor and author of The Doctor Who Franchise (2012) Lynnette Porter; cinema professor Michele Leigh; psychologist Sherry Ginn; professor of English Gerry Canavan; and writing professor Carole Barrowman, author of a novel set in the Torchwood universe. Her presence at the conference was exceptional, as her personal connection to the program (her brother is John Barrowman, who played Jack Harkness) facilitated a special video message from Captain Jack himself.

The "Celebration" also hosted screenings of key episodes from the series' fifty-year history, selected by a Facebook poll of attendees before the event, a book signing, and Doctor Who music played live by a fan Who-themed band, The Well-Tempered Schism. The "Celebration of Doctor Who" marked the first in an annual series of popular-culture colloquia at DePaul University intended to spark debate and discussion between the academic and fan communities surrounding cult or iconic texts. Future topics include the works of Joss Whedon, the Star Wars universe, and the enduring popularity of Star Trek. For more information about the "Celebration of Doctor Who," as well as downloadable versions of all the roundtable discussions, go to the DePaul College of Communication website.—Paul Booth, DePaul University

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  • APA 6th ed.: (November 2013). A Celebration of Doctor Who. Science Fiction Studies p. 579-600.
  • MLA 7th ed.: "A Celebration of Doctor Who." Science Fiction Studies [add city] November 2013, 579-600. Print.
  • Chicago 15th ed.: "A Celebration of Doctor Who." Science Fiction Studies, edition, sec., November 2013
  • Turabian: "A Celebration of Doctor Who." Science Fiction Studies, November 2013, section, 579-600 edition.
  • Wikipedia (this article): <ref>{{cite news| title=A Celebration of Doctor Who | url= | work=Science Fiction Studies | pages=579-600 | date=November 2013 | via=Doctor Who Cuttings Archive | accessdate=14 July 2024 }}</ref>
  • Wikipedia (this page): <ref>{{cite web | title=A Celebration of Doctor Who | url= | work=Doctor Who Cuttings Archive | accessdate=14 July 2024}}</ref>