How to decide what panels to see at AAAs

  1. Steal an AAA program.

  2. Find page which begins each day’s listings and fold it in half in the program. Now you can easily locate each day.

3.Go through each day’s listings and turn down the corner every time the start time of the sessions change — when the listing of all the 2 pm sessions begins, for instance, then turn that page down. Now each day is broken up into discrete time slots.

  1. In each time slot, browse through all the sessions and circle the ones that look interesting to you.

  2. When you are done quickly rescan the time slot in question and compare all the titles of sessions you have circled and decide which one.

  3. Gratz! You’ve just created your time table for the AAAs!

Some people prefer to jump around between sessions in order to catch individual papers or to see which of two sessions they like better. In practice I find this rarely works and is a big pain.

The result of this method is a totally mangled program full of dogeared pages that looks like you beat it up but which is actually very user-friendly. I often clip together pages for times when I know I’m busy and rip out and smoke pages which contain the work of authors I particularly dislike. It is up to you to decide how badly you want to mangle the program you have stolen. I personally like to take advantage of the affordances that paper offers, but your mileage may vary.


Alex Golub is an associate professor of anthropology at the University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa. His book Leviathans at The Gold Mine has been published by Duke University Press. You can contact him at

6 thoughts on “How to decide what panels to see at AAAs

  1. I just did this today, except I cut and pasted the sessions I wanted to see out of the .pdf version online and printed out my own program (only 7 pages). Browsing the .pdf made it way easy to search by keywords or names. Now I just have to figure out what rooms to head to.

  2. Gooood idea. Creating a printable itinerary online in advance only worked so well because I managed only to choose a million panels that happen at the same time. And I can’t recall why I wanted to go to half of them by title alone.

  3. Supplementary step: trawl the book exhibit until you find a publisher giving away promotional post-its (MIT Press, as it happened) as a more visible alternative to dog-ears.

    Also, you already have a customized print-out if you just rip out the pages for the panels you want to go to (spotted in the Starbucks line).

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