Monday, May 21, 2007

Well, Shoot.

Well, Shoot


The panel I asked for at a big conference got shot down. I'm kinda bummed, because I think it would have been a good one. It was a little weird -- the CFP for pre-modern, especially medieval, was fairly desperate -- I've never actually seen one that said, "hey, we want you all so much that you can give papers you've given at the Zoo and MAA!" Maybe I should have suggested a re-hashed paper panel -- except that most of us can't really get funded to present the same paper twice, and it seems kind of dishonest to just change the name.
So I suggested something else -- a roundtable on the similar challenges medievalists face on different types of campuses (to be fair, they are similar to the challenges faced by Africanists and Asianists -- except that departments large enough to have Africanists and Asianists generally have more support all round, whereas medievalists are often hired as generalists). I think it would have been interesting -- plus it fit in with the call for different types of presentations, rather than the straight paper panels that tend to be the rule. Oh well, live and learn. I just really hope that the medieval panels that got in will be worthwhile, because it's usually damned hard to find something worth seeing there besides the book room.

13 comments:

mattgabe said...

There's a reason no one goes to said conference except if they have an interview. Sad that that's the "apex" of our profession.

But maybe I'm just bitter... :-)

Another Damned Medievalist said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Another Damned Medievalist said...

Well, there are always the conferences that like the medievalists. Or maybe a ton of us crawled out of the woodwork to submit panels? It's a good thing that we still have other options at conferences where we feel more welcome. I do hope that they put their money where their mouths are, though -- getting turned down was kind of an ironic reminder of what the panel was supposed to address -- how medievalists, especially the Ancient/Medieval types, tend to feel isolated and alienated from others in our field.

Jonathan Dresner said...

In case you were wondering, the spam is mostly Chinese medicinal and medical terms.... I think it's viagra related.

Sorry about the panel: I've never had a funding committee ask me if the paper had been presented before. There's kind of a standing assumption, I think, that a paper would be revised between presentations....

Another Damned Medievalist said...

Actually, I don't know that there would be any question, but it just seems a sort of iffy use of funds when they are very competitive. Perhaps I read my own ethical system into too many things? I can certainly see cases where it might be a good idea -- for example, if papers had been well-received at a small and selective or hard-to-get-to conference or symposium, then it would be nice to hear them in a larger forum. And I can see related papers that will eventually be smooshed into a larger article or monograph. But as much as I sometimes resent the hoops I have to go through to find time and resources for research, I guess I expect that I won't continually re-hash the same couple of papers on the school's nickel. And I expect my papers to offer something new, rather than to be mostly secondary lit reviews -- of which I heard a couple at K'zoo.

squadratomagico said...

I also find the big conference in our field rather frustratingly tilted towards the modern. That's one reason I never have been back to it ever since getting a TT job. It's quite a contrast to one of the other enormous conferences that I do still attend from time to time. While this one also has a job-interviews, the panels are interesting and diverse enough such that scholars at all levels of seniority keep on coming back to it, year after year. Why can't we manage that?

Ancarett said...

Oh, I haven't been to that conference in more than a decade (rather like squadratomagico, I find it unrelentingly modernist and irrelevant to my research interests). Too bad they turned down your panel!

Pilgrim/Heretic said...

Well, that sucks! Any chance you'll go anyway? I was looking forward to seeing you. :)

Another Damned Medievalist said...

At the very least I'll be up for a day or two -- unless a trip to visit LDW calls, but there's a good chance that won't be necessary (in a good way).

Steve Muhlberger said...

I never went to that conference at all, though I did propose a panel, which was turned down. :-)

Another Damned Medievalist said...

It is nice to be in good company. And I will feel much less grumpy if there is a substantially increased number of pre-modern panels not sponsored by the affiliates. But at the moment, it feels once again as if the officers are saying something similar to what the general membership are saying, but the programming people are not on the same page at all. My limited experience with the people who really care about being "somebodies" not as historians, but rather within the organization suggests that there will be nothing new until they are no longer the gatekeepers. Still, I'm hoping to be pleasantly surprised, and would like to see that there were genuinely good reasons to reject my panel and the very broad selection of panelists who agreed to participate.

Rebecca said...

I'm going to the AHA just because I'm a woman! How cool is that? :)

Another Damned Medievalist said...

Yeah, I saw that! Congratulations for you for having the foresight to be born with out a penis! It's pretty awesome to know that Harvard degree was good for something, isn't it?

Perhaps I should have drawn attention to the fact that we were a mixed-sex, mixed-race, take-your-guesses-about-our-sexual-preferences-if -you-dare kind of panel!

I am childishly amused by the fact that the ID for this post is 'fuhcm'