Some observations on ASA 2009

Back from ASA, and it somehow feels incomplete without some kind of wrap-up. So:

  1. I am coming to appreciate my cohort and close-related cohorts at Northwestern more and more. Within a couple years or three, wow. This year, I ran into or got to catch up with Mike Sauder, Ryon Lancaster, Tim Hallett, Mike Lounsbury, Japonica Brown-Saracino, Ellen Berrey. Others are finishing up, some I didn’t see this year. In addition to scholars, that moment at NU produced smart, warm, fun, real people. Fantastic.
  2. Although I enjoyed the blogger bits, it remains not my strongest venue. Small-talk and drinking doesn’t often lead to friendships for me. Instead, they too often lead to odd interactions, aggressive over-statement, social strain. If we got along, lovely (and I hope we did!). If not, it is more likely me than you (well. as likely). I appreciate the virtual community, but I’m sometimes not sure I’m so good in RL. Apologies all around there.
  3. Princeton, Stanford. If you went to either of these places, and are of a certain age/cohort/area, chances are surprisingly high that we know each other. Chances are decent that we like each other. Chances are not bad that I find your work astoundingly good and am very glad to know you. I can identify my core intellectual values sometimes by pointing to the culture/econ people at Princeton, the orgs people at Stanford, and overall Soc department of Northwestern. These are my academic peoples.
  4. Intellectual development this year was a bit low, maybe my own fault, certainly not ideal. Although I enjoyed giving my talk, and I really thought others on the panel (Daniel Fridman, Erica Coslor, Lyn Spillman) have some great work going, I got more out of the presentation of my work than the feedback on it. Alas and alack.
  5. Finally, I saw Kieran Healy everywhere (sorry if that wore thin). I went to restaurants both highbrow and lowbrow with Jennifer Lena (the diaper-changing! on the table!), and I am more determined than ever to keep an open dialogue with Evan Schofer, whose work and worldview, in a just academic society, would simply pervade the discipline.

Sorry if I annoyed you, glad if I inspired you, hope you don’t judge me from one-off interactions but rather the totality of them over time. And I need a rest.

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