Passions: Promises and Perils
The conference is hosted at the University of Massachusetts Amherst, and will be held October 16-17, 2009. The keynote speaker for the event will be Dr. Rey Chow. Dr. Chow's talk is entitled "How Critical Thinking Becomes Obscene". Drawn from a longer theoretical work-in-progress, Dr. Chow will discuss how the obscene (or the pornographic) has become a mode of critical thinking in the evolving relations among modernist reflexivity, mediatization, and sensual pleasures.

The conceptual framework for the conference derives from the organizers interests in the variety of ways our committments and investments arise from passions. The call for abstracts elaborated this intereste in the following way: "These passions form the basis for promise and peril, peace and violence, oppression and liberation. Yet why is it that passions can contradict self-interest? How are passions constructed and manipulated to various ends? How are they both “natural” and naturalized? Where are passions enacted, to what ends, and for whose benefit?

"Passions inform and mediate communication in both limiting and enabling ways. Passion(s) viewed as a cultural performance is/are bounded, identified, and interpreted variously depending on locations of race, ethnicity, gender, and sexuality. They influence patterns of consumer culture and behavior in both material and virtual worlds. Passions mobilize policy decisions. They prevent and promote intercultural dialogue. The communicative lives of fantasy, imitation, play, sport, and representation begin and end in passions."

The organization of the conference process breaks from the traditional paper-delivery conference format in an effort to refocus our involvement from a reportive to deliberative frame. We have modeled the organization, with some modifcation, off other sucessful conferences we believe have managed to reach the level of dialogue we seek to produce. The call details this effort in the following way: "Invited participants will be asked to submit short position papers on an issue related to the subject of their abstract. Position papers will be made available to attendees on our conference website, requiring each participant to present only a brief summary of their paper at the conference. Panel time will be devoted to guided discussion among panel members and the audience.

"We are also soliciting submissions of alternative format research presentations and creative works, including but not limited to: performance, multimedia installation, and film and video work dealing directly with social themes (such as social documentary, ethnography and auto-ethnography, and experimental audio-visual works which encode social, cultural, political, and economic issues). Abstracts describing the presentations are due on Monday, June 29, 2009."

Conference Coordinators
Ellen Correa
Matthew Ferrari
Brion van Over

Conference Organizing Committee
Anilyn Diaz
Fadia Hasan
Liliana Herakova
Hari Stephen Kumar
Dawn Lovegrove
Rachel Thibault

Faculty Advisor
Michael Morgan

The conference staff would like to thank the following organizations without whom this conference would not be possible:
Department of Communication, University of Massachusetts Amherst

Graduate School, University of Massachusetts Amherst

Graduate Student Senate (GSS), University of Massachusetts Amherst

College of Social & Behavioral Sciences, University of Massachusetts Amherst

Film Studies Program, University of Massachusetts Amherst

Center for Caribbean, Latin American, and Latino Studies (CLACLS), University of Massachusetts Amherst

Department of Languages, Literatures, and Cultures (LLC), University of Massachusetts Amherst

College of Humanities and Fine Arts, University of Massachusetts Amherst

Department of English, University of Massachusetts Amherst

Media Education Foundation


The Communication Graduate Student Association has a history of hosting exciting and well-organized conferences at the University of Massachusetts. What was initially conceived as a mildly ambitious, regional conference has bloomed into an international affair, featuring presenters from Australia, New Zealand, Portugal and Canada.


Past conferences include "Mainstreams and Margins" (1992), "Interfaces [CFP]" (1998), "Borderlands [CFP, program, and panel list]" (2001), and "Communication in Crisis [CFP]" (2006).


The last conference "Communication in Crisis" took place on campus March 31 - April 1, 2006. The conference critically examined the concept of "crisis" as it shapes the study and practices of communications, and featured keynote speaker Mark Crispin Miller, professor of media studies in the Department of Communication and Culture at New York University. Please read about the conference details at the College of Social and Behavioral Sciences Newsletter here.

Miller’s keynote speech based upon his book “Fooled Again” was aired on the C-SPAN2 program “Book-TV.” Miller was introduced by Prof. Sut Jhally of the UMass Depart of Communication and spoke about serious problems with the 2004 presidential election, and other important topics not reported by mainstream media outlets. The entire speech is available here.

Interfaces (1998)

Keynote Speech
Dr. Ella Shohat and Dr. Robert Stam
March 27, 4:30pm
University of Massachusetts, Amherst
Thompson 104
The authors of Unthinking Eurocentrism will present a talk entitled:

"Contested Histories Towards a Multicultural Media Studies"

One recurrent aspect of the "culture wars" concerns differing, even opposite conceptualizations of history. Our lecture/presentation will focus on the audio-visual media and the representation of history, or more accurately, the representation of diverse, even contradictory, points of view on history. The multidimensional discussion will deal with a number of issues: 1) representations of history per se (i.e. history as a set of events); 2) the question of history as story-telling, as modes of narration and aesthetics; and 3) the potentialities of audio-visual media for not only enlivening history but also for communicating a multicultural, polycentric approach to historical questions. We will illustrate a multicultural audio-visual pedagogy with a number of clips (ranging from Hollywood to experimental performance) having to do with a series of historical and historiographical issues: 1) the European conquest of the Americas; 2) slavery and resistance; 3) colonialism and imperial display; 4) representations of the history of the cinema itself as story-teller and history-teller. How can the past, now almost always presented in a monocultural and Eurocentric manner, be presented alternatively? What are the prospects of a multicultural media studies and audio-visual pedagogy?

Preliminary Schedule
Interfaces: Communication and Connectedness
in an Age of Fragmentation

Friday, March 27
All events will take place at the Campus Center (CC), with the exception of the Keynote Presentation, which will be held in Thompson 104

9am Registration table opens

I. 1-2:30
CC901 A. Questions and Directions: New Theoretical Perspectives
1. William W. Sokoloff, University of Massachusetts, Amherst
Derrida's Politics
2. Christopher M. Kuipers, University of California, Irvine
The Major Renovations of Conceptual Metaphor: The New Philology as a Disciplinary Interface
3. Dora Martinez-Ramos, University of Massachusetts, Amherst
What is Missing in this Picture?: The Elusive Gaze in the Study of Visual Media

CC902 B. Cyberspace: Questions of Community and Support
1. Matthew Wysocki, Northwestern University
The Chat-Room Condition: Interpersonal Computer-Mediated Communication
2. Monica Rangel-Hinojosa, University of Monterrey
The Virtual Me and the Virtual Other
3. Sherry P. LaCoursiere, University of Connecticut
Kuhn and the Information Age: Has the Pendulum Shifted? Quantitative and Qualitative Aspects of Social Support in Cyberspace


II. 2:45-4:15
CC178 A. Reading the Nation and the Law
1. M. Michael Schiff, York University
Histories and Theories of Nationalism: A Semiotic Reproach
2. Louis Marquis, University of British Columbia
Rethinking the Local-Global Nexus in an Age of Fragmentation: A Juridical-Communicational Perspective
3. Maria Spirova, Central European University
Cultural and Religious Stereotypes in the Bulgarian Media: the Images of Serbia, Croatia and Bosnia

CC901 B. Democracy, Technology, Utopia.
1. Carlos Salsedo, University of Massachusetts, Amherst
Interfacing Democracy
2. John Bracken, University of Pennsylvania
WWW.Jesus.Com: The Christian Right, Mass Communications, and the World Wide Web
3. Nicole English, University of Missouri, Kansas City
Fancy Interfaces: What Are They, and Why Do We Need Them?

CC902 C. Imagining Public Space: Carnivals, Crackdowns and Carnage
1. Hans Sagan, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill
"We're on a Road to Nowhere": Space, Community and Utopia at Burning Man
2. Lynn Comella, University of Massachusetts, Amherst
Sexual Retrenchment and the Rise of Gay Puritanism: The Politics of Public Sex
3. Esteban Del Rio, University of Massachusetts, Amherst
Representing Race and Space: Falling Down and Spatial Segregation in Los Angeles

-Break- (registration table closes)

III. 4:30-6:30 Keynote address: Dr. Ella Shohat and Dr. Robert Stam
THOM104 Contested Histories: Towards a Multicultural Media Studies
Sponsored by the Department of Communication in collaboration with the Graduate School, the ALANA Graduate Student Network, the Center for the Study of Communication, the Media Education Foundation, the Graduate Student Senate, the Interdepartmental Film Studies Program, the Women's Studies Program, and the Departments of History, English, Afro-American Studies, and Comparative Literature.

6:30-7:30 Drinks at the Campus Center Graduate Lounge
CC-Across from the Bluewall, Concourse Level

7:30-10:00 Buffet Dinner hosted by the Media Education Foundation
CC11th Floor Top of Campus Restaurant

Saturday, March 28
8:00 Registration table opens

IV. 9:00-10:30
CC178 A. Framing Sexualities: Identity, History and Hysteria.
1. Alicia Kemmitt, University of Massachusetts, Amherst
Sex, Soul and Secrets in Working Class Dublin: The Expression of Irishness in the Barrytown Trilogy
2. Brian Curtin, Cheltenham and Gloucester College of Higher Education
Erotic Masculinities and the Representation of Sexual Difference
3. Matthew Soar, University of Massachusetts, Amherst
Andrew Cunanan, in the Houseboat, with the Bloody Versace Scarf: The Media and the "Gay Serial Killer"

CC901 B. Giving a Face to Cyberspace
1. Theresa Peverly, Illinois State University
Communicating with Artificial Intelligence? What Computer Mediated Communication Can Tell Us
2. Scott Forbes, Pennsylvania State University
Hacking HCI: Constructing a Typology for Human-Computer Interfaces
3. Wenshan Jia, University of Massachusetts, Amherst
The Disappearance of the Face with the Growth of Interfaces

CC902 C. Designing Women: Feminism and Commodity Culture
1. Ann Johnson, University of Massachusetts, Amherst
Audience Research and Feminist Texts
2. Sherrie A. Inness, Miami University
Girls and Dolls: Commodity Culture and New Visions of History
3. Melissa Click, University of Massachusetts, Amherst
"The Greatest Show on Earth": The Evolution of the Fashion Show From Royalty to the Masses


V. 10:45-12:15
CC178 A. Lights! Camera! Nation! Popular Culture and National Identity
1. Alissa Sklar, University of Massachusetts, Amherst
Due North: Intersections of Popular Culture and National Identity in English Canada
2. Mike Gasher, Concordia University
From Here to Ubiquity: Situating British Columbia as Hollywood North
3. Leona Geudens, Vrije Universiteit
Exploring the Possibilities for a European "Interface." Should Europe See the United States of America and their Films as an Example to Become the United States of Europe?

CC901 B. Theatre, Community and Difference
1. Sharon Green, City University of New York
2. Patricia Herrera, City University of New York
This panel combines paper presentations with an interactive workshop.

CC902 C. Disabling Discourses: In Theory, Media, & Institutions
1. Leslie Harris, Rand Afrikaans University
Towards a Semiotics of Disability
2. William Pritchard, Bowling Green State University
New Media Technologies, the Untrainable Mentally Handicapped, and Marxist Political Economy: An Exploration of Relationships
3. Paula Gardner, University of Massachusetts, Amherst
En-Gauging Mental Disorder: Traumatic Experience Questionnaires as Surveillance Technologies

-Lunch at the discretion of participants- (registration table closed)

VI. 1:30-3:00
CC178 A. S/He's Gotta Have It: Media, Race and Resistance
1. Bill Yousman, University of Hartford
Blurring the Boundaries: Mainstream, Alternative, and Oppositional Media. A Case Study of Two Films by Spike Lee
2. Linus Abraham, University of Pennsylvania
The Black Woman as Semantic Marker of Hypersexuality in Western Mythology: Its Contemporary Manifestation in the Film The Scarlet Letter
3. Demetria Rougeaux Shabazz, University of Alabama
Julia and her Brothers: Media and the Construction of Black Identity in 1968

CC901 B. The Parenthetical, Pointillistic Carnival of Casualism
1. Jeff Grieneisen, Clarion University
The (Casual) Parenthetical Y
2. Jennifer Peachy, Clarion University
Casualistic Fragmentation and the (dis)Connected Art of Pointillism
3. Scott Burns, Clarion University
Modern Carnivals of Communication and Casualism

CC902 C. Sex and Excess: Bodies and Taboos
1. Tina Lund Anderson, University of Pennsylvania
Censorship and Self-Image: An Ethnographic Inquiry Into Art World Practices Surrounding Taboo
2. Katie LeBesco, University of Massachusetts, Amherst
Rethinking Medical Discourses: What Fat Can Learn from Black and Queer
3. Doug Rice, University of Pittsburgh
The author will read from his book Blood of Mugwump: A Tiresian Tale of Incest


3:15-4:45 VII. Closing Plenary
CC174-176 Learning From Interfaces: Composing Strategies for the Classroom and Beyond
Moderator: Dr. Leda Cooks, University of Massachusetts, Amherst
Five-College Faculty Participants TBA

8:00 Closing party hosted by CommGrads (location TBA)

Borderlands (2001)

Keynote Speech
Rajagopalan Radhakrishnan
Professor of English, UMass-Amherst
Friday, March 30, 2001
University of Massachusetts, Amherst

"We Are the World, but Who Are We and How Do We Know?"

Professor Radhakrishnan has written about and lectured extensively on the topics of postcoloniality, globalization, nationalism, ethnicity, hybridity, and diaspora. He is the author of Diasporic Mediations: Between Home and Location (University of Minnesota Press, 1996) and Theory in an Uneven World (forthcoming, Blackwell, 2001). His work has been widely published in a number of academic journals and books. Recent publications include "Postmodernism and the Rest of the World" (in The Pre-occupation of Post Colonial Studies , eds. Fawzia Afzad Khan and Kalpana Seshadn Crooks, Duke University Press, 37-70, 2000) and "Globality, Desire, and the Politics of Representation" (Rethinking Marxism, Fall 00/Spring 2001).

Communication in Crisis (2006)

FRIDAY, MARCH 31, 2006

SESSION A: 10:00 – 11:30 AM

A1: Curriculum, Class, and Crisis in Pedagogy

“Curriculum in Crisis: Building the Field in Critical Communication Studies”
Robert Bodle (UC San Diego)

“Communication Crisis and Technology: Re-Imagining Undergraduate Education”
Jeff Ritter (La Roche College)

“Accumulating Objects Rather than Knowledge: The Struggle of the Lower Class in Education”
Stephanie Wheeler (Rhode Island College)

A2: Queer Politics in Crisis

“Presumed Crises of Homosexuality: Becoming Ordinary in Japan”
Max Saito (UMass Amherst)

“The Validity of LGBT Film Festivals in a Brokeback Era”
James Nadeau (M.I.T)

“Rethinking Hardt and Negri’s Conceptualization of the Crisis of Democracy in the Era of Globalization”
Viera Lorencova (UMass Amherst)

A3: Language and Diversity/Hybridity

“Lexical Fidelity and Interlinguistic Hybrids in Crescent”
Mazen Naous (UMass Amherst)

“A Better Democracy? Interpretation and Linguistic Inequality in the European Parliament”
Stephanie Kent (UMass Amherst)

“Reconsidering Depictions of Crisis in the Public Sphere”
Joanna Brook (UMass Amherst)

SESSION B: 11:30 – 1:00 PM

B1: Free Speech in Crisis

“CNN vs. Fox: The New Cola Wars”
Charisse Corsbie-Massay (University of Southern California)

“Drunken Monkeys: Propaganda, Empire and the Politics of Crisis”
Thomas Taaffe (Franklin Pierce College)

“A Crisis of Imagination: What Can’t Be Recognized - or Spoken - By the Media”
Jeffrey Wallen (Hampshire College)

B2: Gauging Crisis

“Perceptions of and Attitudes Toward the Female Action Hero Among Young Adults”
Jeff Steblea (UMass Amherst)

“Mass Media and Content Homogenization: A Public Information Crisis”
Gregg A. Payne (Chapman University)

“Perceived Control and Television Viewing: a Cultivation Analysis Perspective”
Fernando Rodriguez (UMass Amherst)

B3: Negotiating Crises of Difference

“The Media as Moral Agents in the Time of Social Crisis: A Case Study”
David Boromisza (UMass Amherst)

“Difference as Crisis in Cross-Cultural Communication”
Tatjana Chorney (Saint Mary’s University, Canada)

“Otherness To Go: The Imperial Intentions of Chinese and American Restaurants Worldwide”
Adam Cantor (McGill University, Canada)

“Crisis and Communicating Tolerance”
Zorica Tomic (Belgrade University)


SESSION C: 2:30 – 4:00 PM

C1: The Logic of Crisis

“Unfolding Language: the Productive Tension of Translation”
Natalia A. Mikhailova (SUNY Buffalo)

“The Function of Crisis in Communication”
John Poulakos (University of Pittsburgh)

“Transformative Communication in French Social Theory: From Durkhiem and Mauss to Debord and Baudrillard”
Apple Zefelius Igrek (Central Washington University)

C2: Coupling in Crisis

“Ritual Insulting on Jerry Springer”
Jolane Flanigan (UMass Amherst)

“Cunnilingus and Psychiatry Have Brought Us to This: The Changing Face of Masculinity in The Sopranos”
Erin Meyers (UMass Amherst)

“The Crisis of Modern Couples: Searching New Configurations for Relationships”
Jorge Frozzini (McGill University, Canada)

C3: Crisis, Rhetorically Speaking

“Atonement Rhetoric and Australian Prime Minister John Howard’s ‘Toward Reconciliation’ Speech”
Greg Ruhland (St. John’s University)

“Apologia in Crisis: The International Coal Group’s Response to the Sago Mine Tragedy”
Terence Check (St. John’s University)

“Columbine as a Focusing Event: An Alternative Approach to Understanding a Crisis Communication Situation”
Donald Fishman (Boston College)

SESSION D: 4:00 – 5:30 PM

D1: Journalism in Crisis

“The Farmers Newspaper and the Ethical Citizenship in the 1960s Korea”
Jiye Kim (UMass Amherst)

“From Media Frame to Social Change: A Comparative Analysis of Same-Sex Rights in the United States and New Zealand Press”
Linda Jean Kenix (University of Canterbury, UK)

“How American Journalism Renews Racism: Reason Enough for Change in the Production of News”
Perry Irwin (UMass Amherst)

“Agendas, Frames and Discourses in the Media During the Process of Social Construction of Crisis”
Miguel Vincente Marino (Universitant Autonoma de Barcelona, Spain)

D2: Curing the Crisis

“Crisis of Medical Apartheid: Africa’s AIDS and Drug Patients”
Euichul Jung (Rutgers University)

“Child’s Personality versus System in Sports”
Elena Khatskevich (UMass Amherst)

“The Discursive Representation of Refugee Children with Pervasive Refusal Syndrome”
Elin Nilsson (Linkoping University, Sweden)

“The Bird Flu as Political Salvo: Why America is Spending $7 billion to Fight a Paper Tiger”
Nick Muntean (UT Austin)

D3: Youth, Femininity, and the Allure of Imagery

“What You See is What You Get: Media and the Search for Un-Truth”
Jacqueline Guzda (The College of Mount Saint Vincent)

“Step Forward, Step Back: Feminism in Crisis, A Case Study of The Stepford Wives”
Lori Bindig (UMass Amherst)

“Encoding Cute: Selling Children to Adults”
Chris Boulton (UMass Amherst)

SESSION E: 5:30 – 7:00 PM
Conference Keynote Address:
Mark Crispin Miller (New York University)


SESSION F: 10:00 – 11:30 AM

F1: Race and the Crisis of Representation

“Social Rites of Race in Cyberqueer Space: Race as ‘The Other,’ Place, Body, and Culture”
Han N. Lee (UMass Amherst)

“Live From New York: Racial Formation on Saturday Night Live”
Nicki Lisa Cole (UC Santa Barbara)

“Latina/o Representation in Black Media”
Kennaria Brown (UMass Amherst)

F2: Virtual Crisis

“Breaking Down the Binary: An Examination of the Separation Between the ‘Real’ and the ‘Virtual’”
Stephanie Tuszynski (Bowling Green University)

“Communication Depolarization: A Diagram for Post-Media Communication via Deleuze and Guattari”
Jamie O’Neil (Canisius College)

“Crisis and Time: Finding Aion in the Internet”
Marta Celletti (Curtin University of Technology, Australia)

F3: Communicating the Nation

“A Peripheral Vision of Chinese Television in Globalization”
Zixu Liu (UMass Amherst)

“Global Representation of Localized Crisis: Analyzing Mainstream American Media Coverage of the Riots in France, November 2005”
Rana Husseini (Northwestern University)

“Cultural Talk about the Mobile Phone Nation”
Saila Poutiainen (UMass Amherst)

SESSION G: 11:30 – 1:00 PM

G1: Spinning Crisis

“Framing the ACLU: How Misleading Rhetoric is Hurting our Democracy”
Donna Halper (UMass Amherst)

“Syria: On a Crossroad”
Omar Alghazzi (American University)

“The Reagan Administration’s Tar Baby: Communicating a Response to the November 1986 Iran Arms Crisis”
Danny Rigby (University of Florida)

G2: Commodification of Public Space

“The Crisis of the State’s Citizen: Analyzing Michigan’s Cool Cities Initiative”
Julie Borkin (Wayne State University)

“The Discourse of the ‘Creative Industries’ and the Crisis of Creativity: the Case of the Cultural Policy in Korea”
Jung-yup Lee (UMass Amherst)

“Refiguring an Identity Crisis: Starbuck’s Brew and a Commodified Subject”
Jenny Tatsak (Wayne State University)

G3: National Identity and the Crisis of Memory

“Binding the Nation Together: A Consideration of the United States Postal Service and Democratic Organization”
Ryan Ellis (UC San Diego)

“Canadian Nationalism and American Media: Exploring the Roots of a Never Ending Crisis”
D. Daniel Kim (UMass Amherst)

“Walls from Within: The Crisis of Israeli-Jewish Identity and the Power of Self-Representation”
Shoshana Madmoni-Gerber (Suffolk University)

“Take a walk on the wild side: Europeanizing from the centre”
Maria Silveirinha (Coimbra University, Portugal)
Cristina Ponte (Universidade Nova de Lisboa, Portugal)

LUNCH BREAK 1:00 – 2:15 PM

SESSION H: 2:30 – 4:00 PM

H1: Emergence, Response, and Policy

“’Emergency’ and Broadcast Reform: the Role of Crisis in Defining the U.S. Media Reform Movement”
Jane E. Turk (Columbia University)

“Eco-Terror, Governance and Governmentality in Media Policy Discourse on Environmental Crisis”
Ann Z. Li (Rutgers University)

“The Information Railroad is Off the Tracks: Unintended Consequences of Community Service”
Rita Kepner (Washington State University)

H2: The Subject of Crisis

“The Aesthetics of Crisis: The Red Army Faction and the Refusal of Speech”
Kimberly Mair (University of Alberta, Canada)

“On Rendition, and Bare Life”
Garnet Butchart (UMass Amherst)

“Postmodern Confession: Two Contemporary Examples of Crisis in Narrative/Narrative in Crisis”
Andrew Morgan (RMIT University, Australia)

H3: Identity Crisis Online

“What’s Going On? Managing Moral Crisis on a Listserv”
Margaret Boyko (UMass Amherst)

“Myths of Digital Representation and Virtual Connection: An Ongoing Crisis of Community on College Campuses”
Michael Griffin (Macalester College)

“Stance-Taking as a Potential Cause of Crisis in Understanding within Cultural Boundaries: Negotiations of Ethnic Identity in On-line Discussion Among Tatars”
Liliya Karimova (UMass Amherst)

SESSION I: 4:00 – 5:30

I1: At the Threshold of Scientific Communicability

“A Crisis in Science Communication? Scientists, Journalists, Citizens and Public Understanding of Science”
Linda Billings (SETI Institute)

“Scientific Communication and the Collapse of the Mertonian Ideal”
David Kellogg (Northeastern University)

“The Performance of Acupuncture as Something other than Torture”
Kevin Anderson (UMass Amherst)

I2: Laughing in the Face of Crisis

“Comic Frame: Lost in Translation”
Li Gu (UMass Amherst)

“Philosophical Leisure as a Recuperative Praxis: Response to Communication Crisis”
Annette Holba (Plymouth State University)

“Punk Piety and Vice Magazine”
Brett Ingram (UMass Amherst)

I3: Citizenship and the Mediation of Crisis

“Can Newspapers Help Communities Deal with Crisis via Letters to the Editor?”
Bill Reader (Ohio University)

“Citizen Journalism? Blogging, Citizenship, and Civil Society in India”
Sreela Sarkar (UMass Amherst)

“Return from Audience to Public: What Qualitative Audience Research Can Teach Us about Reinvigorating Civic Life”
Rebecca L. Self (Franklin College, Switzerland)

“Alternative Media and the Crisis of Voice”
Srinivas Lankala (UMass Amherst)

EVENING: Post-Conference Party