1.- The interviewee
Dr. Mike Perschon (aka Steampunk Scholar) is a father and a husband, living in Canada. He teaches English full-time at Grant MacEwan University, researches steampunk, and blogs about SFF books and films. He is a Dungeon Master and on occasion, sits on the other side of the DM’s screen. Mike used to be an indie musician, and was “Most Promising Art Student” in high school; sometimes, he still finds time to engage the pen, pencil, and Photoshop. While he wishes he’d gone to film school instead of seminary, he’s making up for lost time now, engaging the world of creativity instead of theology.
2.- The interview
I am not going to be wrong if I say that Dr. Mike Perschon is one of the best known Steampunk connoisseurs all over the world. His academic approach to Steampunk has turned him into an authorized voice and we are thrilled to share views with him.
Q.- First of all we would like to congratulate you for your successful PhD defense. This is the culmination of a long process, what’s your next goal?
A.- More sleep, more time with my kids, more time with my wife.
Q.- Not only both Irene and I have got university degrees, I have postgraduate education and Irene has some years of experience as scholar. Besides, we have some friends who are making career as university teachers in Spain. I guess that we follow up the evolution of college education in some way and, in fact, we are very interested in the thesis of academics such as the Royal Society Research Professor Tim Gowers, who are questioning the traditional peer-review system. Does this ‘publish-or-perish’ system need a revision?
A.- Definitely. I work at a teaching institution where our workload can involve research, but doesn’t necessarily have to, and I can readily attest that it makes for a more congenial workspace. Research institutions tend to have an unhealthy tension about them.
Q.- And what do you think about initiatives like edX? May this be the future of universities?
A.- I’m unfamiliar with edX, so I can’t comment.
Q.- Taking your own experience as point of departure, does the academic world welcome the study of ‘atypical’ subjects such as retrofuturisms? How can these movements contribute to the research activity of universities?