Notes from the ALA Conference in San Francisco

I did finally finish.

That was a wonderful panel discussion, folks, and I’m discovering that you can’t take that for granted.  This is my fifth conference presentation of the 2009-2010 school year, and not all of them were unqualified successes.  There was the Dallas conference for a regional association whose name I won’t mention, which was scheduled for the weekend of Spring daylight savings.  I had the 8:00 am panel, and not even the moderator showed up.  Myself and the other panelist (the third canceled) presented to each other.  Then I organized a panel for another regional conference, only to have two of my panelists cancel on me at the very last minute.  Basically, what I’m learning is that people do not have an especially high level of investment in work presented at regional conferences, such that what should be an opportunity to present and get feedback on one’s work really just becomes the opportunity to purchase a C.V. line.  Because, let’s face it:  attending conferences is really, really expensive.    Compared to other graduate students/academics, I enjoy pretty privileged circumstances, but I think William Peace’s post on how prohibitive it can be for the non-privileged rings quite true.

But today’s back-to-back Dreiser panels were excellent.  I had the opportunity to meet active, prolific scholars in the field and hear insightful feedback on my work.  It’s a nice capstone experience to this particularly grueling semester.  It helps that San Francisco is one of the coolest cities I’ve ever visited.

I’ll be back to my regularly scheduled blogging in a couple of days. Right now, I’m going to go get boozy at the reception.


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