The lesser of three travels

| | Comments (3)

So I'm getting myself together to leave in the near future for my annual trip to the Conference on College Composition and Communication. Rather than regale you with tales of catching up on my bills or my laundry (both of which have commanded my attention today), I thought I might express my annual regret that I must go to CCCC instead of, say, ETech or SXSW, both of which command the attention of the blogerati this time of year. Not that there's anything wrong per se with CCCC--I always learn a little something, and I see a lot of people with whom I would otherwise fall out of touch. It's a visceral reminder for me of the academic community that I've chosen to join.

And yet. I can't help but feel that my interests and my inspirations would be better served at one of these other conferences. I envy Laura, who is/was down in Austin for SXSW. And I share her sense that "that education needs to catch up a little bit to this world." But I'm also struck by the outsider-ness of her post, because I've experienced that myself on more than a few occasions. I want to feel like there's a middle space, between the mercenary collisions of acronym people and the (at times) oblivious pokiness of the academy when it comes to these things. I think that there are conversations out there that are just waiting to be held, conversations that take the potential of these ideas as their jumping off point rather than the painstaking objective of endless wheel-reinventing presentations.

This is how you can tell that it's late, and I'm a little frustrated. I start stacking words and phrases as high as I can until they start wobbling.

At any rate, some of my frustration has its source in the fact that, unless I somehow move to CA or TX, I won't ever be a regular attendee at either of those conferences. As a humanities scholar, I'm basically priced out of those venues before I even start. The humanities don't get grants, they don't get corporate sponsors, and they don't include lavish travel budgets among the necessities. I can afford to go to Chicago for 4 days, but only because I applied to my college to cover the difference between cost and my normal travel funding allotment. They do so only because I'm giving a presentation--there is no argument I could make for putting a trip to SXSW on the university dime.

It's frustrating to me because I know where Laura's coming from when she despairs of "fighting the fight" of getting our colleagues to see technology and getting the technologists to see us as something other than a cottage industry ripe for takeover.

No grand conclusions or solutions to be found here. I know that there are those among us who would really welcome rich and complicated conversations, but I don't think it's simply a matter of academics being willing. It's also a matter of patience on the part of industry, some faith on their part that there's some long-term good to be had in engaging with us. Maybe there are already those kinds of spaces that I just don't know about. It's frustrating to me, though, not being able to afford to visit the ones I do know about, even as I suspect that I can't afford not to be there.

If that makes sense.


Yes, that totally makes sense. I feel the same way.

Great reminder that we should look outside of our comfort zones more often. I'm skipping CCCCs this year and taking the family vacation instead but am not worried that I'll miss crucial movements in the field. Lurking on the WPA listserv and otherwise gabbing with the usual suspects more or less keeps me up to date.

I did just do a one day publisher-sponsored symposium that was almost completely attended by community college writing instructors. I always get the somewhat shameful and eye-opening sense that compositionists are more insulated than we think. Hearing about those working/teaching conditions makes a lot of the abstraction one might get at CCCCs seem somewhat out of touch. Of course, the CCCCs, I'm sure does get at these issues, but my experience there has always been that I attend panels and meet with people that I already relate to.

Collin, there are podcasts of some of the panels and keynotes up. I'm sure there will be more in the days to come.

I just went to a session called "Open Science" that I thought was very good and really dealt with some of the complex issues facing science research. I think the humanities are facing some of the same issues--long publication schedules, closed publication systems, etc.

At my institution, very few people want to have those conversations. Many of the ones who do only want to in order to defend the status quo.

Leave a comment



Powered by Movable Type 4.1

About this Entry

This page contains a single entry by cgbrooke published on March 14, 2006 3:40 AM.

Bracket Season was the previous entry in this blog.

Homeward bound is the next entry in this blog.

Find recent content on the main index or look in the archives to find all content.