Thursday, August 16, 2007

ASA, etc.

This past week has been super crazy. I was attending the American Sociological Association annual meetings (which have received extensive coverage at Inside Higher Ed this week). This largely meant catching up with friends and going out to LOTS of meals and coffees, etc. Having felt very out of place at other conferences I have gone to in the past, the combination of moving away from Ann Arbor and having friends who have jobs and are no longer at Michigan made me realize that the real value of these meetings is being able to catch up with old friends. The combination of catching up with old friends and having the ability to commute to the meetings made this one especially enjoyable, but I can see how they will be great in the future as well.

Not all of this was non-academic thrills. I got to see several presentations that were excellent. Probably the most helpful was one where several journal editors provided tips to help get manuscripts published. For those who are interested, an excellent low-down is provided by anomie. It was really helpful thinking about how the actual nuts-and-bolts of this profession work. I also went to a really interesting session on urban sociology that included a paper about bars and nightlife in the Lower East Side. I decided after that talk that I really screwed up trying to develop my "project" (a.k.a. the dissertation - but somehow I heard a lot of people call it that this weekend) and should have come up with something that would allow me to go out to bars and qualify it as research. The paper was actually really interesting and relates to a more quantitative project that we were looking at possibly doing, so that was pretty cool. The other papers in the session were also interesting.

Since I have been so absent, I need to get my nose to the proverbial grindstone. But, since Dave and I were discussing the Columbia expansion project, I thought that I would pass this article about the project. Following the links provides a really good picture of what is happening regarding the "Manhattanville" or "West Harlem" project (depending on whether you would like to side with the University or with the Community). It was an interesting read regarding the role of universities in their communities, especially when those communities tend to be more poor, less white and have less political power than the university administrations.


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