Monday, October 23, 2006

Conference recap

My bag is probably still in Chicago, not having made the connection despite a 3-hour layover.

Other than that, however, I was rather pleased with how the conference worked out. In particular, my panel went well, although I'm worried that some unavoidable technical issues on my end (needing to fast forward a CD) made my presentation a bit too long. But there was a moderately-sized, responsive audience and all of the other papers were well-thought-out, as was evidenced by the fact that during the discussion period, we started talking to each other, not just to audience members.

We also discovered downtown Tulsa's only sushi place, a 15-minute walk along deserted streets. Nothing like a barren civic center at 8 p.m. Not even any homeless people to give our leftovers to when we left. I wasn't surprised, necessarily, given the warnings we'd heard about the futility of trying to walk anywhere; it just meant we were all the more pleased when we arrived at the restaurant and got to order large bottles of Asahi. It's just too bad I only met most of those people yesterday, the last full day of the conference, since I would have had conference buddies had the panel been earlier.

That's the only problem with going to conferences before you have an established dissertation project, and it's a problem you don't really hear about as a grad student, when you're being encouraged to attend conferences for professional development, exposure to new scholarship, etc. It's hard to tell which people or scholarship you should prioritize when you don't have a firm commitment to a line of research; and then there's always the awkward moment when they ask what you do, and my answer to that question is always too vague for my own liking. I think at this point, with a bit of conference experience under my belt, I'll hold off submitting more conference proposals until I have a clearer idea of how they'll contribute to my project (after I develop a project, that is).

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I just wanted to say that as a 1st year Ph.D. student who hasn't done ANY conferences yet, it's nice to hear someone else articulating the issues that grad students face regarding the relation of conference papers to larger projects, etc.