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"In the city of my birth, I had a dream..."
Post-Spring Conference Circuit Reflections 
21st-Apr-2010 03:45 pm
One month: three conferences papers and one invited lecture. Suffice it to say that it has been a thrilling but exhausting trans-Atlantic ride.

Some highlights:

- The ESS meeting's programming. "Just" a regional conference, you scoff? Well. Besides being twice as big as the national-level BSA conference here in the UK, the quality of the scholarship was outstanding. Talk after talk, even in the regular sessions, left me wanting to grovel in hero-worshiping awe at the presenters' feet. It was inspiring. It made me feel jealous. American sociologists have something great going, and they ought to be proud of it.

- Great keynote speakers. With a bit of luck, they can be found anywhere. Loic Wacquant at the BSA conference was one of the most entertaining academic speakers I've ever seen. And Mel Gibson at the Graphic Novels and Comics Conference had a silly yet fiery style that made me care about a genre of comics I didn't even know existed.

- Getting my work out there. The talks I gave at the ESS and BSA conferences were side projects unrelated to my thesis research, i.e. just ideas I wanted to try out. But the ones given at Mount Holyoke College and at the Graphic Novels and Comics Conference, on the other hand, were based upon already published peer-reviewed research, and I am pleased to report that the reception seemed good. Although I'm by no means the most brilliant public speaker, I know that I'm at least competent and reasonably easy to follow. A reputation of that sort is the best I could ask for.

- New potential opportunities. I met sooooo many people doing fascinating work and received word of still more. Plus, all three of the conferences may have opened up some new publishing opportunities--everything from modest but relatively sure things to awesome, pie-in-the-sky things. Who knows what will actually come to fruition...? I have to believe, barring all else, that doing good work--subtle analysis combined with clarifying insight--will take me the distance.
21st-Apr-2010 02:47 pm (UTC)
Congrats on the success! :)
21st-Apr-2010 03:28 pm (UTC)
Thank you. I don't know what constitutes "success," precisely, but I didn't die, so I'll take that. ^_~
21st-Apr-2010 03:38 pm (UTC)
The volcano didn't interfere with your travels?

And presenting and multiple conferences seems like success to me. :)
21st-Apr-2010 03:43 pm (UTC)
The volcano didn't interfere with your travels?

Nope. I was back in the UK before it all started, and all of my UK travel was by bus.

And presenting and multiple conferences seems like success to me. :)

I guess... ^^;;
21st-Apr-2010 03:21 pm (UTC)
Also wanted to give my congrats! Sounds like you are working very hard and getting some really great results.
21st-Apr-2010 03:36 pm (UTC)
I keep telling myself that conferences are work, but...now I'm feeling kinda burnt out and the "real" work is getting pushed off. *sighs*
21st-Apr-2010 03:50 pm (UTC)
I can see that -- it seems like you scheduled a very intense conference "tour" (I tend to go to one conference a semester at most, but I'm not as hardy as you are!)
21st-Apr-2010 04:08 pm (UTC)
Whereas my institutional responsibilities are not nearly so time-consuming. It means that I end up feeling so guilty all the time--like I should be doing **more**, not less...
21st-Apr-2010 07:53 pm (UTC)
Banzai Banzai Banzai! I so wish you'll feel happier at Cambridge at some point.
21st-Apr-2010 11:28 pm (UTC)
As for "happier," well, a degree of dissatisfaction comes with the grad student territory...and as for Cambridge, I'm not even going to be here much longer. (If all goes as planned, I leave return to the US for over a year starting in June.) ^^;;;

(Uhh, I meant to say that geographic location and psychological state are not related in my case.)

Edited at 2010-04-21 11:30 pm (UTC)
22nd-Apr-2010 05:52 pm (UTC)
I take that to mean you're doing the year in the US within your grant for Cambridge, or did you have to give the whole thing back? As long as you feel like you're getting somewhere at some point, I won't worry.
22nd-Apr-2010 06:29 pm (UTC)
I take that to mean you're doing the year in the US within your grant for Cambridge

Yes, this. I'll be "working away," the official terminology for it. I think your worrying is entirely out of proportion.. I'm just feeling a bit worn out right now, and the fact that I finished my first year progress paper well before it was officially due means that I now have time to kill--time I'm basically spending doing 1) extracurricular reading and 2) complaining about feeling worn out, ha ha.
22nd-Apr-2010 09:27 pm (UTC)
I'm a worrier *nod nod* and feel cheered to hear that you think it's out of proportion ^^.
22nd-Apr-2010 10:26 pm (UTC)
But still, it's nice to know that somebody's looking out for me! So thank you. (^o^)
25th-Apr-2010 08:32 pm (UTC)
It's the mother hen and Cambridge enthusiast in me ^^ and the aimless female academic who admires your drive and wishes you to succeed to your heart's content.
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