My very late thoughts on the the AHA anuual meeting:
People were right. The meat market set-up tends to create a group of job-sekers who exude fear, paranoia, jealousy, and hatred. That said, one of the nicest people I met was interviewing for the same job, and I was glad to have met him. Oddly enough, we actually were vaguely acquainted through the blogosphere anyway.
The other thing is that there aren't nearly enough minorities in History -- I popped my head by the minority historians reception, and it was not very crowded. At the panels I attended, the only person of color I saw was my friend Annette, who gave a great paper on hostage brides. Lots of female medievalists, not many other minorities represented.
Also, conferences are good. Especially for those of us in the world of the two-year institution. Although there is definitely a kind of academic hierarchy (everybody is supposed to want to be at a Research I school and/or Ivy, although most of us get jobs that demand more teaching than research), my ego is such that I have no problems arguing points with my senior colleagues, and I enjoy the buzz I get when people find out I'm "just" a CC person. on a sadder note, I went to the CC reception, and was dismayed to find that there were colleagues who felt the need to have their PhD status listed on their badges. It's kind of like admitting that CC faculty have to prove themselves to the "real" professors. Such nonsense.