14 August 2007

Reflections from JetBlue JFK

On my way home from the ASA. What a conference. I can't even process all of the good times, great people I met, and old friends that it was great to spend some time with. The bloggerly get-together was a big success, with what, 20 or so people hanging out and having a cold beverage? As everyone currently reading this blog knows, Dan Myers has photos up.

Academia is a really strange world, especially time-wise. You spend years upon years toiling away in graduate school, going to conferences well-scrubbed in your best outfit, hoping to catch the notice of someone in your field. No one ever notices you, and you start to get used to that awkward feeling at section receptions, hanging out with a friend or two if you're lucky, firmly on the margins of the party.

Then, you keep toiling away, and what seems like all of a sudden, people that you meet start saying, "Oh, I've read your work" or "yes, my friend has told me about you." It's really weird and you wonder if maybe they have you confused with somebody else, and your first impulse is to say so. This was my year to be a part of the party, and frankly, I'm really quite old now to have just arrived. Nonetheless, I'm glad that some people whose work I'm reading are reading me back, and we are actually having the scholarly dialogue that you hope you're going to have when you do all that work researching and writing.

Not that I'm in the center of anything much, but you know, I'm in there somewhere now, and that's great. Well, actually, great is not how it feels. It feels weird. But I'm sure I'll get used to it soon, and my self-image as an outsider can make the appropriate adjustment. In the meanwhile, I'm going to bask in the memories of all the great conversations I've had this long, long weekend with scholars in social movements, sexualities, and gender. It was a fantastic meeting.

(All that said, it doesn't prevent me from being such a dumbass that I thought my flight arrival time was actually my flight departure time, and thus am hanging around until the next flight. Dork!)