In 2012, more people around the globe will watch more television than ever before in human history. Television is without doubt a major force in politics, government, economics, and of course culture. It will continue to be so for the foreseeable future. Yet it's a safe bet that next year the U.S. academy will devote more resources to the study of, for example, British literature before 1900, than it will to the serious study of television. There seem to be more academic jobs offered with the word "digital" in the title than with the word "television."
Television is studied in universities, but uneasily so. Within the larger academy, it is neither glamorous nor established. It's disciplinary location, methods, theories and general respect are fluctuating and uncertain.
This series, "TV in the Academy," grew out of a concern about that uncertainty. Partly to make the case for television studies, and partly to better understand why we still need to make that case, the series focuses on new, emerging work and younger scholars. It provides a regional venue to discuss some of the issues surrounding television scholarship.
Beginning fall 2010, a group of scholars interested in television who work in or near the green mountains (at the University of Vermont, Dartmouth, and Middlebury, to start) have organized a series of symposia on the place of television in the academy. Our goal is to bring to the fore some of the scholarly issues that face the study of television today. These include: Why study TV? What are we studying, i.e., what is the object of analysis in television scholarship? What should be the place of television in the curriculum? What is the role of television, and analysis of television, in the humanities? What is the role of television in theory, and the role of theory in understanding TV?