What happens at the AAA, stays at the AAA

Unfortunately the title is not a joke, since none of the conference papers are available online for public viewing. I also can’t talk much about my own experiences, since I was busy with job interviews. But there are a couple of things I do want to share:

First of all, I finally met in person: Rex, Ozma, Museum Freak, Karen Nakamura, Danah Boyd, Biella, Noah, and Scott Jaschik. Not to mention all those readers who came to the Savage Minds party sans domain name. Such face-to-face encounters are one of the great joys of blogging!

Secondly, I was shocked how few people showed up for the labor forum I mentioned here earlier. Maybe more people need to read why unions matter. I also urge everyone to sign this petition to NYU president John Sexton regarding the putative measures he is threatening against striking graduate students.

I did make it to about four panels, including two with a strong Taiwan focus, one on indigenous language education, and a wonderfully irreverent festschrift for Jay Ruby. There were a few duds, but most of the papers were fairly strong and well presented. Still, anthropologists need to kick the power-point habit. Except for Karen Nakamura, whose skill as a photographer made for some excellent slides, most people’s bullet points were more distracting than useful. My favorite presenter was Sarah Elder, whose talk was a fifteen minute experimental video. It seems to me that there was a time when anthropologists were more willing to experiment with form…

Regarding job interviews, I’ll be able to write about it more freely when the process is over, but I did want to share this one incident:

As I was walking out of an interview, a committee member turned to me and said: “I just wanted to let you know, I’m a big fan of Savage Minds.”

Take that, Ivan Tribble!

I leave the country tomorrow to go shoot a film in India, so I’ll not be writing much over the next two months. (I’ll try to pop in when I can.) However, I have arranged for a few guest bloggers to fill in for me while I’m gone. The first one should be logging on sometime next week.

3 thoughts on “What happens at the AAA, stays at the AAA

  1. WANTED: Help, consultation, advice concerning network visualization software for study of social networks among advertising creatives in Tokyo.

    I post this message here because while following the links that Kerim posted about the people he met at the AAA, I was particularly fascinated by what I found following the Danah Boyd link and learning about her work on Vizster. Unfortunately Danah has a notice up that she is currently unable to take on new projects and months behind on her email.

    Then, as I continued to peruse other links, it began to seem to me that any of several people here may either know what I need or be able to point me to people who do.

    The project as currently configured is a combination network analysis and ethnographic study of the world of advertising creatives in Tokyo, a world in which I have been immersed for over two decades and have the personal contacts to facilitate the ethnographic side. The data for the network analysis is coming from advertising contest annuals, which contain the credits for each winning entry: roles (copywriter, creative director, art director, etc.), the names of the individuals who filled them (and may, in fact, get multiple credits, e.g., as copywriter and as creative director), the advertiser and the agency and production companies involved.

    I am now in the early stages of entering this data into a Filemaker Pro database from which it can be exported in a variety of standard formats (Excel, etc.), hoping to get at least two annuals (Tokyo Copywriters Club 2000 and 2004)done within the next few months to begin pilot exploration of the data.

    My dream is a program that will do for this data what Vizster does for online networks, i.e., make it easy to display and explore networks from multiple perspectives. I would love to hear from anyone who knows of relevant software, especially if it runs on Mac OS 10.4.

    To reply privately, please send email to john.mccreery@gmail.com

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