First thoughts on MPSA 2011

Sitting in the Palmer House lobby after my presentation this morning, some initial reactions:

  • Had a surprisingly good turnout at this morning’s panel–evidently some non-presenters do show up for the early ones.
  • It’s always a mixed blessing to find out other people are doing similar work. While it’s nice to know other people share your interests and approaches, it’s also distressing to be reminded how rare it is for anyone to have a truly original idea.
  • Are giant printed programs really necessary anymore? Aside from being a waste of paper, they could probably blamed for scores of back injuries among thousands of people forced to carry them around for days on end.
  • After a few years of this, I recognize a lot of faces and have met plenty of them at some point, but don’t actually know a whole lot of people well. So the number of awkward “do I know this person?” moments is disturbingly high this year.
  • In large part because of this, I’m once again glad to be staying at a different hotel–the Palmer can get a little overwhelming if you never leave.
  • The mac & cheese at Lockwood? Highly recommended.

Arrived in Chicago

Made it from Brooklyn in just
under 14 hours–not bad considering the snowy parts. Now to focus on the conference.

Tomorrow morning (panel 22-12, 10:25am), I’ll be presenting my “Is Anybody Listening” paper, which can be downloaded from the Working Papers section of my CV. If you’re around, come by–I don’t have any idea who else shows up this early other than the presenters, so I’m just hoping for the number of audience members to exceed the number of panelists.

On that front, I also have a panel on Saturday (23-15, 4:35pm) in which I’m presenting a brand new paper coauthored with Josh Tucker and Ted Brader. Especially looking forward to that one, both for our paper and the others on the panel as well.

Check in tomorrow for more updates. Goodnight, Chicago.