This is a blog about my travels. My "regular" life is much too boring to bother blogging about.

Saturday, November 07, 2009

Conference fatigue

So, NASSS. Interesting conference. I don't really have anything to compare it to except for the other conference I've attended, NASSH (North American Society for Sport History). You'd think that a sport history and a sport sociology conference would be reasonably similar, but they definitely are not. I'm not really interested in assessing their respective strengths and weaknesses in this space. But NASSH is definitely an easier conference for me to attend, because people there tend to be more interested in my work. Case in point: I received literally zero constructive feedback about my presentation here on Thursday. There was barely anybody there to begin with, and, other than the TG support group (Western people + a really awesome dude named Travis from Indiana University that I met at NASSH), everyone else was clearly there for the other guy in my session (Jonathan Magee). I think I got two questions after my presentation (both were softballs), and nobody sought me out afterward for follow ups (which usually tends to happen).

So yeah, I've found it difficult to talk to people here because there simply aren't many people who are interested in the kind of stuff I'm currently working on (sport and national identity, sport media, sport in the developing world). There have probably been 4 or 5 presentations about national identity (compare this with probably over 20 sessions about gender), barely anything about sport and media. Probably 97% of the presentations (if not higher) have been concerned with the English speaking West. And that's fine, it's not as though I dislike presentations about gender, race, obesity etc. etc. But these conditions make mingling and networking, which I'm not particularly good at to begin with, extraordinarily difficult. There have been a couple of occasions where I've introduced myself to someone, explained what it is that I did, and then had that person mumble something and then walk away rather quickly. This is not to say that people here are unfriendly, just that people would rather mingle with peers whose work they're interested in. And that's fine. But it also makes for some awkward mingling sessions.

It's been pretty cool to be around people who are so passionate about their work. It has rubbed off on me a little, but I still remain pretty down on academia.

Truth be told, I'm suffering from acute conference fatigue. I just don't have the personality to be around people as frequently as a conference dictates. I could use some TG time before I head off to Montreal on Sunday, but I'm not sure that's going to happen.


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