hi, good post!
i’m looking forward to hearing about david graeber’s presentation… please post soon
Great post about the conference. I was there as well and in conversation with many of the other academics there, we came to the same conclusions. As regards the reading of papers… It really was, on occasion, literally that, as presenters failed to turn up, and other people read out their papers in their places! Come on, we are all perfectly capable of reading, but a conference should be about dialogue, shouldn’t it? I mean, I always thought of conference papers as a work in progress? I presented in a panel, and felt that the questions people asked were really helpful. I did not read my paper, but presented the main points.
But the other side of the conference was great. Eating and drinking in good company, and the opportunity to socialize and network, particularly over dancing at the gala dinner!
Cool, you’ve been there too! Yes, I agree, the social part of the conference was great! I don’t regret the journey!
Concerning the presentations: Maybe there is a need for an anthropology of anthropology in order to review (and renew) our practices and rituals on conferences and other occasions. Most people seem to take part in ritual practices they are critical of.
David Graebers paper is more than 50 pages long… But yes, I’ll write about it!
Pnina Werbner [Visitor]
I’m really glad people enjoyed socialising at the conference - that was one of its main aims.
Personally I thought the plenary addresses were of a very high standard and the forthcoming ASA volume based on them should prove this. There were also some very good papers presented at the parallel workshops, and summing up of the conference by David Parkin and four other workshop leaders were all superb. We were sad that Jonathan Friedman and Ken Brown were hospitalised and couldn’t make it. Reading their papers was obviously not a substitute for the real thing. Hart arrived two days late and missed our discussion of world affairs and the relevance of cosmopolitan and anthropology to wider world and events the renewed question of empire in our time.
No-one mentioned the brilliant Hohodza Zimbabwean band.
Thanks for the comment. Yes, you’re right Pnina. The were many very good papers (but the presentations were bad) and we all enjoyed the band (and watching dancing anthropologists).
[Coming here late after getting here from a later post on academic conferences which linked to my blog.]
I’ll post more on my blog but here’s my knee-jerk reaction to the “If you want to be considered a serious academic” comment. Isn’t anybody else tired of being told what a “serious academic” is supposed to be like as a human being? I don’t usually like to spew opinionated rant but this is one of the issues that may easily get me. I might be way off but, to me, a serious academic is someone who does serious work within academia. Personality matters, in many respects. So does presentation style, especially when you go for an interview or when you happen to care about teaching. But what link is there between “academic seriousness” and conference strategy?
Ok, ok… I’m getting off the sandbox, for now.
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