I have often used the line, “I am allergic to academic guild meetings.” To that, I usually hear a response, “Yes, they’re horrible affairs.” That’s because of two reasons, I think. The first is that the brown-nosing at these events is noxious. Almost everyone, it seems, is on the prowl for a job — especially those of us who are untenured. The second reason is that the content delivered in the vast majority of sessions is regarding the most picayune of details in academia; the worst kind of hyper-specialization is on display at these meetings.
In theological circles, the annual American Academy of Religion meeting is the granddaddy, and it’s happening this coming weekend in San Diego (in conjunction with the Society of Biblical Literature (the meetings will be held in tandem for the last time, as the AAR feels that they no longer need the SBL)). And I’m going.
Between the panel and other meetings, I’m booked from 7:15am until 10pm, then I fly home on Sunday, completing 10 straight weekends of travel. I don’t think I’ve ever looked forward to Thanksgiving more. I just hope my allergies settle down.