My god, who are all these people? I never knew there were so many anthropologists! And so many books, panels, sub-fields, panels, etc. how to navigate it all? Maybe I’ll run out and do some sight-seeing instead…
I’m giving a paper this time, but luckily it’s scheduled at a time nobody except my adviser will be there. Now that I’m in grad school I know some people who can help me navigate. I follow them around like a baby chicken.
OMG! OMG! OMG! I’m organizing a panel and people might actually show up. They do! The room is packed because of our famous discussant… Oh no… Turns out he was viciously attacked by a panel he thought was going to honor him and he’s in a foul mood. He takes it out on a bunch of grad students (the first-session panelists). Everyone leaves after his rant and nobody sticks around for my paper.
Job interviews that go nowhere. AAAUnite seeks support for striking hotel workers. Departmental politics in the corridors. Old friends and new ones meet up for drinks. What the hell is a “poster session” and why haven’t I noticed them before?
I have a job! I’m on an “executive committee”! My film wins a prize! People are starting to read the blog! Savage Minds has Open Access T-shirts! Maybe I’m getting the hang of this thing? Panels? Who goes to panels?
I go to panels. After twenty years of AAAs I think I’m finally starting to master the art of picking out one or two sessions to see each day. (You can read my live-blog of these sessions here.) I also organize a panel I’m really proud of, even if it’s overshadowed by a double session on the same theme by a group of much more famous scholars. Oh, and I meet with book publishers – but for a translation project. I still don’t have my own book to pitch. Maybe at the next AAA?
*The numbering is purely stylistic and impressionistic. My memory isn’t good enough to recall how many AAAs I’ve attended over the past 20 years, or what happened at which one. I just wanted to convey how one’s experience of academic conferences changes over time.