La Profesora Abstraída

Weblog of Michelle Dion, Assistant Professor in the Department of Political Science, at McMaster University. My blog has moved to Visit my other website.

Wednesday, September 07, 2005

What? APSA meetings boring?

Or, so the article in The Roll Call suggests.

The article, At Poli Sci Conference, Even the Wonks are Bored [sub required], begins thus:
Only an hour into the start of last week’s annual gathering of the American Political Science Association, Henry Kim, a doctoral student at the University of California at San Diego, is already playing hooky.

It’s “5 a.m. to us,” harrumphs a bleary-eyed Kim, as he hunches over his Starbucks coffee in the lobby of the Marriott Wardman Park Hotel. After a cross-country flight and little sleep, Kim has no intention of attending any of the morning’s first slate of panels. Nor for that matter do his buddies Justin Phillips and Nathan Batto....
...But back to Kim and his buddies, who don’t appear that enamored with their fellow political scientists, either.
“It’s a boring crowd,” says Phillips, an assistant professor at Columbia University. “It can be a little on the dry side.”

Case in point: When Batto, a classmate of Kim’s at UC San Diego, points out a late-morning session on “Advances in Roll Call Analysis,” Phillips just rolls his eyes and laughs. “I will not be going to a panel on roll call votes,” he cracks.

Their sentiment is shared by prominent political scientist Stephen Wayne, who first started attending the 101-year-old conference in the 1960s as a graduate student. “I’m a glutton for punishment,” he quips, adding that he has no intention of going to any of the “proliferation” of mainly “boring” (and often sparsely attended) panel discussions, opting instead for a roundtable on political psychology... Paul pointed out, we're poorly dressed in addition to being boring. From the Roll Call:
When it comes to the cool department, [Jeremy] Elkins says, most political scientists are woefully lacking, opting for spectacles and conservative suits. The wannabes, Elkins says, “dress in all black” or wear “workshirts” like his pal Norris. “You can be cool in political science and in the rest of the world you are just a big dork,” he adds. “Here, if your pocket protector is mauve you are cool.”

Within minutes, as if on cue, another friend, Joe Mink, a professor at Mount Holyoke College who hails from Texas and is clad in all-black, heads over to shake hands with Elkins. Mink describes his style as “alt-country” and shows off his stingray cowboy boots. “They sparkle in the sunlight,” he notes proudly.

But Mink appears to be in the minority when it comes to shining shoes.

The attendant of the hotel’s shoe-shining stand, Perry Ross, sits idly, with few immediate hopes of a customer. There may be no scarcity of shoes “that need service,” Ross says, but “they won’t come over. It’s the worst [conference] I’ve ever seen. ... I don’t think I’d be a political scientist after seeing them.”

posted by Michelle @ 11:39 AM,


At 9/07/2005 12:53 PM, Anonymous Matthew Shugart said...

This really makes me regret not attending this year--or any of the past three.

But I'll get the full details from our local Roll Call celebrity wonks, Henry and Nathan.

At 9/07/2005 11:18 PM, Blogger PRB said...

But I'll get the full details from our local Roll Call celebrity wonks, Henry and Nathan.


At 9/10/2005 8:48 PM, Blogger Steven Taylor said...

I have managed to never go to APSA. I think I send aps in twice (maybe thrice) and got accepted once, but couldn't go.

Somehow, I have managed to live a full and happy life.


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