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Posts Tagged ‘American Sociological Association’

This year’s deadline for paper submissions to the American Sociological Association’s annual conference is tomorrow, January 6 at 3 pm. Like previous years, this deadline is ridiculous. Also like previous years, I am scrambling to “finish” my paper in time. According to the categories of ASA submission types that I made up five years ago, I am aiming for the “papers with promise” target and hoping that the promise will be fulfilled between now and August. Someday I will attain my goal of submitting a “completed research paper” that is ready for journal submission, but tomorrow will not be that day.

Edit: And here are some submission tips from Elizabeth Popp Berman at Orgtheory.

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Reading the September “ASA News and Notes” e-mail, I noticed that TRAILS, the ASA’s online database of teaching materials, will finally be free to members, as it always should have been. As stated in the e-mail:

At its meeting in August, ASA Council approved a proposal to make full access to the TRAILS online database of teaching resources a new benefit of ASA membership for 2016. Pending the launch of the 2016 application and renewal system on October 15, paid member subscriptions have been discontinued in advance of the transition to free access. However, any member may sign up now for free access through October 15 using a special promotion code. Active your free subscription today!

This will hopefully encourage faculty members who can’t (or don’t want to) pay extra to access teaching resources when preparing syllabi, assignments, and class exercises. Better late than never!

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It’s a new low!

In Chicago this year I felt particularly busy. Between sessions, meetings, and hanging out at Kitty O’Sheas, I hardly had any time to explore the conference itself. I never made it to the book exhibit or poster presentations, I never found the unisex restrooms, and I never even posted on social media about ASA or ate a meal alone! I did, however, manage to wander around the various floors of the Hilton wondering how practical it was to give each floor its own confusing layout. I also found the ASA App to be useful, though I wish that it would have been more friendly to those without wi-fi or wireless signals by only updating when requested.

In the end, I completed 13 of 30 scavenger hunt items, including: 2, 4, 5, 7, 8, 11, 17, 19, 20, 21, 28, 29, and 30. Next year promises a new location that is even more distracting since I’ve never been there, but can it match Kitty O’Sheas and Meli Cafe? I’ll let you know in 12 months.

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At the American Sociological Association conference in Chicago I noticed something else that demonstrates the ways that faculty members are just as bad as students when they are in the audience instead of standing at the front of class. During several presentations audience members took pictures of PowerPoint slides so that they did not have to write information down. This practice was made worse by the fake camera noises that their phones made as they took the pictures (I’m not sure whether or not all phones have the ability to turn the camera noise off). The most egregious example of this was in a presentation with a lot of references on slides. Those who wanted to record the references just took pictures. Worst of all was the fact that the presenter made very clear at the beginning that he would send the complete presentation via e-mail to anybody who was interested.

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Conference bingo cards are fun to read but fail because bingo can’t actually be played unless everybody is in the same room. Conference scavenger hunts are infinitely better. Thus, for the fourth straight year I give you the ASA Scavenger Hunt! You can download the 2015 ASA Scavenger Hunt and, for your convenience, I have also listed the items below. Post your progress and results in this SJMR thread. Good luck!

2015 ASA Scavenger Hunt

Instructions: Record the dates, times, locations, and/or session numbers for the items below between Friday, August 21 and midnight on Tuesday, August 25. Post your results in the “2015 ASA Scavenger Hunt” thread at SJMR. Good luck!

  1. Attend a friend’s roundtable session
  2. Hear a presenter explain technological difficulties with, “I’m used to my Mac”
  3. Hear somebody refer to the Chicago School in a presentation
  4. Attend a workshop
  5. Attend a great talk by an “unknown” sociologist
  6. Check out the poster presentations
  7. Use the ASA App
  8. Walk past the Employment Service area and observe the job candidates
  9. Discuss the pros and cons of replication
  10. Overhear a sociologist make a racist/sexist/homophobic (etc.) comment
  11. Talk to somebody about SJMR
  12. Eat some candy at the book exhibit
  13. Turn the paper part of your nametag upside-down to make tag-checking more obvious
  14. Find the unisex restrooms and rate their implementation on a scale of 1-10
  15. Pour one out for DAN
  16. Get a free drink at a section reception
  17. Spot Fabio (bonus points if he’s wearing a fanny pack)
  18. Talk to somebody from a liberal arts school about his or her research
  19. Talk to somebody from a research school about his or her teaching
  20. Talk to somebody on the job market about his or her ideal job
  21. Introduce two people you know to each other
  22. For Faculty: Buy a student coffee or a meal; For Students: Accept coffee or a meal from a faculty member
  23. Eat a meal alone
  24. Have an awkward conversation with an acquaintance
  25. Post on social media about ASA
  26. During conversation, move somebody across the room by slowly inching closer to them
  27. Walk to the Navy Pier
  28. Spend an entire day in Chicago without attending a session
  29. Take a picture with that shiny bean (a.k.a. Cloud Gate Chicago)
  30. Eat deep-dish pizza

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At the American Sociological Association conference, the cool departments have private parties. For the rest of the departments around the country, there is DAN, or the Departmental Alumni Night. Traditionally, DAN was an event where you could get together with faculty and fellow graduates of your uncool institution and purchase high-priced, standard-quality beer and wine while slowly watching Indiana graduate students claim the tables of other schools. Today, DAN is on life support.

Things weren’t always bad. According to the ASA program, at least 45 departments participated in DAN in 2006 (I say “at least” because it appears that departments can pay to participate later even if they don’t make the cut for inclusion in the program). In 2009, the year after “the crash,” however, only 25 departments participated. 2010 saw a slight increase to 31, but the writing was on the wall. In 2012 and 2013 only 12 departments were listed in the program. Last year, only 10. This year? The ASA app only lists five.

Unfortunately, I doubt that DAN’s decline has been the result of a surge in private parties. Maybe it is easier today to use technology to meet up with the people at ASA that you actually want to see. Maybe nobody from uncool schools can afford to come to ASA these days. Maybe their semesters have already started. In any case, it appears that it is time for the ASA to pull the plug and put DAN out of its misery.

“Like” Memoirs of a SLACer on Facebook for more ASA-related fun via your news feed. And don’t forget to write a living will. You don’t want to end up like that lady in The Other Side of Darkness.

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Was it really just last year that the American Sociological Association released an “app” that was really just a web page? After seeking feedback, the ASA really has tried to do better this year. For example, if you are registered for the conference and logged into the ASA website the online program actually lets you see the locations of sessions, hopefully ending the practice of searching for sessions online and then having to look those sessions up again when you get the actual program to find the locations (at least when exporting the schedule didn’t work).

More interesting are the developments in ASA app land. These developments center on the fact that this year there is an actual app that you can download to your phone. The app provides session information as well as maps and directions to get from your location to particular sessions. (Of course, all of this will depend on the strength of the ASA’s wifi signal.)

Scatterplot has some instructions for downloading the app, because of course the ASA needs to make it more complicated than necessary by putting the link to the app page on the Member Portal and not on the conference website where somebody might expect to find it. Once you’ve downloaded the app, you need to login with your userid and the ASA’s app password (which you get from the app website), but then to access your saved sessions and information you need to login again with your normal ASA password. Once you’ve done all of this, you can search for sessions, set reminders for sessions, use the maps, etc.

The ASA is trying, so hopefully everything works well when we all get to Chicago! Now, about the conference dates…

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