Posts Tagged ‘ASA Conference’

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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As I said on Facebook, today’s last-minute 24-hour ASA extension was like cancelling school when the kids are already there. It did nothing to help those who thought they wouldn’t have time to prepare a paper due to the ridiculously early deadline. It did nothing to help those who stayed up late and got up early in order to meet the original deadline (if the deadline had been extended last night I could have gone to bed at a reasonable hour instead of staying up late and submitting my paper by 2 pm). Instead, it seems more like a favor to some “famous” sociologist who needed a bit more time to finish his or her paper.

Worst. Extension. Ever.

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As you may know, the ASA’s submission deadline is tomorrow, January 7, at 3 pm EST. As you may have noticed from the title of this post, I think that this deadline is ridiculous. It is a ridiculous deadline because it falls in the middle of the afternoon in the middle of the week. It is a ridiculous deadline because those who have jobs that require substantial amounts of teaching probably don’t have much time to work on their papers until winter break, the first few weeks of which are likely filled with traveling and family visits, leaving a few days to throw something together. It is a ridiculous deadline because the ASA wants a completed paper seven months before the conference (though how complete that paper needs to be appears to have been relaxed, as Jeremy noted). And finally, it is a ridiculous deadline because session organizers can’t even access the submissions until a week later. If you take a look at the Call for Papers webpage (excerpted in the image below), you will see that the module for session organizers opens on January 14:

Session OrganizersCurious about why papers need to be submitted a full week before anybody can actually start looking at them, I sent an e-mail to ASA using the “meetings@asanet.org” e-mail address. The response I received was that “Once the submission site is closed, ASA staff has to then do some things in the system before we open it up to the session organizers.” I don’t know what these “things” are, but I have doubts that they take a week. Thus, I propose the following changes to the ASA deadline:

  • Stop requiring full papers.
  • If #1 isn’t possible, make the submission deadline January 31st every year, with notifications due by March 31st
  • If #1 and #2 aren’t possible, make the submission deadline midnight on the Sunday before session organizers are given access. This year, that would be January 11, giving ASA workers the ability to start doing their “things” on Monday morning when they get to work and finish them by Wednesday.

We are the ASA, so there should be no reason that we need to continue punishing ourselves like this, struggling to finish our work in time for a mid-day mid-week deadline and hoping that DC will get enough snow to push the deadline back.

Since today’s snow did not appear to be enough to push back the deadline, there is only one remaining question:

Elba - WritingAnd now you’re distracted…

“Like” Memoirs of a SLACer on Facebook to receive pictures of Idris Elba via your news feed.


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As sociologists from around the country (and even the world!) head to Denver, here are a few things to keep you entertained: First, a post about making ASA better by using Twitter and other forms of digital communication (I think I joined Twitter once. I might have to dig out my account in preparation for the conference). Second, Kieran takes this year’s bingo card to the next level, complete with a “mobile app” version. Finally, and most importantly (and perplexingly), instructions on how to use ASA’s preliminary online program to put your conference schedule into your Outlook and/or Google calendars. The perplexing part is that although you cannot see locations anywhere on your schedule when using the ASA’s website, they’re there when you open the calendar on your computer or mobile device. If these locations are correct, why is the ASA hiding them from us when we use their preliminary program? If they are not correct, I’m going to be awfully disappointed when I get to Denver! Enjoy your flights and don’t forget that the scavenger hunt begins tomorrow morning!

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I’ve stated in the past that I don’t mind when people look at my nametag at ASA.  Of course, I may be a little more aware of tag checking than I was when my institutional affiliation was slightly more impressive, but if you are going to create a social situation in which people are required to wear nametags, it is pretty ridiculous to think that nobody is going to look at them.  What I do find offensive is when I introduce myself to somebody and after telling them where I work they say, “I’ve never heard of that.”  I know that sociologists have a reputation for being socially awkward, but what kind of asshole thinks that they have heard of every school in the country?  This year, I have decided that my official response to this statement is going to be, “Now you have.”  I’ll refrain from adding, “Asshole.”

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Usually, when people make bingo cards for events they are focused on things that may happen during the course of the event.  Looking at the card for this year’s ASA conference, however, it appears that one would have to go out of the way not to score a bingo.  Many of these spaces are akin to “Steve Jobs wears black mock turtleneck.” Hell, I’m not even there yet and I’ve already done a few of them.

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I recently received notice that my ASA submission has been accepted for one of the regular sessions in Atlanta.  As a young scholar striking out on my own I know that I should consider this a good thing.  Instead of presenting at a roundtable in front of three other people I will be presenting in front of a crowd that could reach the double digits.  Even though I should be happy for the chance to have my research heard by two to three times as many people, I have to admit that I was a tiny bit disappointed to receive the news.  Obviously, I stand in front of crowds in the double digits nearly everyday, so I am not worried about my presentation skills, but a regular session likely means that I will have to prepare a PowerPoint presentation and approach the whole affair a bit more seriously when my main reason for going is still to catch up with friends from grad school.  I guess there’s always next year…

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