Sunday, June 15, 2008



Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hmmm. One down (APSA), one to go (WAPOR) this month. Anybody here planning to attend World Assn of Public Opinion Research (WAPOR) meeting in Berlin? Have never been to WAPOR meeting or Berlin before.

Would welcome any guidelines about the meeting or the "town."

9/04/2007 4:32 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Be sure to practice your goosestepping before the conference.

9/04/2007 4:34 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Sorry, it's not in my blood -- far from it. Maybe some goose liver would be good. Besides, it's my understanding that Berlin is a very liberal city.

9/04/2007 4:38 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

It's no Amersterdam.

9/04/2007 4:40 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Don't let the APSA T&LC and Midwest deadlines sneak up on you!

9/04/2007 10:30 PM  
Blogger Paul Gronke said...

Well I asked for this so here you go: some of us have complained quietly for a while about the high cost of the Midwest hotel.

Now here we have APSA in Chicago and a) the hotel locations are great (ok, the Hyatt was confusing but the location???), b) the rates were low, c) did I say the location was great?

Is there any reason to keep the MWPSA at the Palmer House? Any sentiment for pushing for a move to a new hotel? A new city?

9/05/2007 5:32 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I would be much more likely to attend APSA T&LC if there was a grad student rate. It's expensive enough to fly to California. There's no way I'm shelling out $210 from a grad student stipend to go.

9/05/2007 5:32 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

from what i understand, midwest has some sort of long-term arrangement with the palmer house. my understanding was that for some reason they cannot change the location for a specified number of years.

9/05/2007 5:50 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Shhhhhh Paul,
I was among several political scientist (saw them at the big bar) that got the Hyatt during Midwest for a steal. Best of both worlds in my opinion.

9/05/2007 6:21 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'd wait for more feedback from the membership. A number of people were bumped from the Hyatt because they overbooked. I never had that happen at PH or the Hilton&Towers.

The MPSA has tried to cut a better deal with PH for years, and avoided even higher room rates by cutting a longer-term contract. But in principle I'd agree with you that even though the Hyatt is a confusing place, the rate can't be beat and the location is excellent.

9/05/2007 6:46 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I've attended conferences at SPSA, Western, and ISPP, and MWPSA is by far ($50) the most expensive.

The $60 fee for not staying at the PH is a bit insulting.

9/05/2007 7:22 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The last time APSA was in Chicago, I believe that the Palmer House was one of the conference hotels and it was cheaper than the rates we usually get for MPSA. I asked the executive director of MPSA (Will Morgan) about this and he said that the reason APSA hotel rates are less is because the Labor Day weekend rates are cheaper than the rates in April. I don't know if this is true or not, but if it is, then it is not the location so much as the timing.

9/05/2007 8:35 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I've attended conferences at SPSA, Western, and ISPP, and MWPSA is by far ($50) the most expensive.

The $60 fee for not staying at the PH is a bit insulting.

9/05/2007 7:22 PM

The MPSA (not MWPSA) is also, by far, the best of the conferences you mention.

9/05/2007 8:47 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Shhhhhh Paul,
I was among several political scientist (saw them at the big bar) that got the Hyatt during Midwest for a steal. Best of both worlds in my opinion.

I got that deal too...$59 on the river! As for the $50 fee...the MPSA does not check to make sure you stay at the PH. I register for the conference long before I booked my hotel. I feel no guilt for evading this tax that the MPSA wants to levy on me because they want to continue to have the conference at a more expensive hotel.

9/06/2007 5:11 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I was wondering whether the MPSA actually enforced the Palmer House stay rule. It would be a nightmare for them if they ever did.

9/06/2007 5:56 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

We do have to worry about the old-timers like my friend who by habit went to the Palmer House before realizing APSA wasn't there.

9/06/2007 7:18 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Some of us old timers really like the PH, too. (No one is pining for the Pick Congress any more. . . .)

While, like all of you, I am concerned about the hotel rates, I am somewhat more concerned about the level of services provided. The association (MPSA, APSA) gets meeting rooms and exhibition space allocated in part based on their ability to sell a certain number of lodging rooms at a given rate.

But more important, in my opinion, is the fact that our associations are WAAAY behind on the technological dimension -- namely, no good video set-ups for powerpoint or other presentations, which ought to be provided automatically to every panel room (chained to the floor if needed).

We are largely stuck with presentation technologies -- handouts, tranparencies -- that are from the academic pleistocene era.

When I was on the MPSA board, this was a subject of discussion, and the issue was not so much the cost of the equipment (which could be rented) but the fact that union rules that the PH operated under would require that there was a technician assigned to every machine for the entire day, and this made the cost of providing projectors far too high.

I am wondering now whether this level of technical support is really required. There would, of course, be a concern about theft and damage and on-going maintenance (bulbs burn out, etc.), so we can't ignore these as potential costs. But isn't there a reasonable solution?

9/06/2007 9:59 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

No one *needs* powerpoint or video for a less than 15 minute presentation.

The only use of visual aids that really is useful is for displaying tables or game trees. This can be done with transparencies just fine.

If APSA or other associations raise conference registration fees to pay for some people's extravagent use of fancy AV equipment, others will protest or stop coming.

9/06/2007 10:08 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Some area studies associations actually choose conference locations based on whether they are "union cities" or not. Some places (e.g. San Diego) offer opportunities to get round union rules like the ones a past poster described that other cities like San Francisco, Chicago or New York do not.

I should point out, though, that doing this would violate APSA's publicly stated priciples.

9/06/2007 10:39 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

10:08 is right on. The number of panels that truly need something more than an overhead projector has got to be tiny, though obviously laptop projection would be great if it were essentially costless.

9/06/2007 12:14 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I disagree on the "need" for powerpoint. There are many advantages to such use because of the quality of the color and other graphics you can use as well as the ability to call up selected graphics readily in the discussion or in response to questions. (Can't begin to estimate how often people scramble up their transparencies or can't find one when it's needed. It happens a LOT.)

In my own experience, organizing a .ppt helps to trim down the presentation and make it more effective. The length of the presentation (15-20 minutes) doesn't make .ppt less useful; I think it makes .ppt more useful.

9/06/2007 1:12 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

People scramble for power point slides even more often than for transparencies.

Powerpoint, 95+% of the time, is a distraction.

If you can't trim down your presentation without the aid of .ppt, you need to work harder on your speaking skills.

Color, graphics and other bells and whistles, while sometimes nice, are never *necessary* for having a good discussion or giving a quality presentation. Many people would not relish paying cash money for someone else to have the *luxury* of showing off her/his fancy graphics.

9/06/2007 2:33 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

One solution would be to provide a menu of AV options (from nothing, up through overhead projector, and all the way to fancy powerpoint setup) that could be selected, provided that the FULL COST be paid by the panelists. The charge could be levied per panel (as that's how the charges will be incured by the conference) and the panelists could divy it up amongst themselves as they see fit (e.g. if 2 people need to use AV stuff, and 2 others don't those two could split the cost 50/50, or some nice senior person could pick up the tab for a poor grad student, or whatever).

Opting for something like that could appease those people who can't live without reading their powerpoint slides verbatim, but also assure the rest of us that we will not have to subsidize their expensive habit.

9/06/2007 2:39 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm thinking that the last suggestion is going to require quite a bit of administrative oversight, no? I'd hate to be the one keeping track of all the panels.

9/06/2007 2:46 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

A couple of Midwest hotels I've been happy with in the past are the Hilton Garden Inn and Homewood Suites, both on Grand (HGI is Grand and State, Homewood at Grand and Wabash or Rush I think). Hop on the red line and you're at the conference in 5-10 minutes.

9/06/2007 2:52 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Dallas/Ft. Worth would be a great conference venue, but APSA, ISA, and others seem to overlook it. Direct flights from anywhere in the country, relatively cheap hotels, lots to do, and stable weather compared to Chicago. Plus, I can drive there. :)

9/06/2007 4:55 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Off topic:

I couldn't make this year's APSA convention, and was wondering who won the Fenno and Wilson book awards.


9/06/2007 5:14 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think that SPSA this year will have projectors.

As someone who has always used laptops and projectors I find that using transparencies is a distraction for ME. I like to move around and engage as much as one can, and I hate being tied next to the transparency machine. I am sure those who have mostly used transparencies prefer it or at least don't mind it but I have to think that this technology will become standard eventually.

9/06/2007 5:24 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Esp. if you don't have a friend to handle the transparencies you end up glued to or walking back and forth to the projector, and sometimes far from your talk notes and from a microphone is that's needed.

In my post at top of this thread I referred to WAPOR. They will have projectors for powerpoint. APSA is behind the times.

9/06/2007 7:12 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...



9/07/2007 3:52 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Anonymous said...

Esp. if you don't have a friend to handle the transparencies you end up glued to or walking back and forth to the projector, and sometimes far from your talk notes and from a microphone is that's needed.
This year at my APSA panel there was no where to put my notes at the overhead. So I was forced to abandon them at the last second and had to wing it from the slides themselves.

Definitely made for a worse panel. As projectors get smaller and cheaper I imagine I will eventually just buy one and bring it to the conference if APSA can't get with the times.

9/07/2007 5:46 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

At the APSA section chairs meeting it was announced that they will have LCD (powerpoint) next year in Boston.

9/07/2007 5:56 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

And before the next question is asked, no, APSA will not be levying additional charges on those presenters who want to use LCD projectors.

9/07/2007 9:15 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

This is correct: LCD projectors will be "widely available" in Boston for the 08 Meeting. To ensure availability, please be sure to specify your desire to have one when you make your proposal.

9/07/2007 11:52 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

If there are no additional charges to be levied on presenters who want LCD projectors, that mean those charges are being passed on to ALL OF US!

9/07/2007 12:04 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Considering how much we're already being soaked by APSA (at least, those of us who are honestly reporting our income - hah!), I'd imagine the LCD projector costs would be rounding error by comparison.

9/07/2007 12:06 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"If there are no additional charges to be levied on presenters who want LCD projectors, that mean those charges are being passed on to ALL OF US!"

Oh no. I don't have any preference about LCD or not -- but why don't you just not pay your registration fee? It's not enforced.

9/07/2007 1:14 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Presumably those of you who've already posted here saying that Powerpoint is unnecessary in a 15-20 minute presentation will save us all some money by not using projectors in Boston. We'd appreciate that very much.

9/07/2007 3:15 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I routinely use powerpoint for invited talks and for teaching. But schlepping in extra equipment for powerpoint presentations at APSA is a waste of money.

9/07/2007 7:16 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The MPSA (not MWPSA) is also, by far, the best of the conferences you mention

I love how some anon. is quick to correct a previous post. Have you ever been to the website of the Midwest Political Science Association,

9/08/2007 5:34 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Website addresses often determined by availability. Since gives you the Mississippi Private School Association, I assume that address was taken. The Midwest is generally known as the MPSA. But I wouldn't have gotten snippy about it.

9/08/2007 8:15 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Yeah, whoever complained about the use of MWPSA is a pedantic jerk.

As for me, I don't belong to that regional. But I belong to the -- ooooooooooooooooooooooops, I mean

9/08/2007 9:21 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"But schlepping in extra equipment for powerpoint presentations at APSA is a waste of money."

Leave your extra equipment at home. Just schlep your stick.

9/09/2007 7:45 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I love that powerpoint will now be available at APSA. I can scout entry level candidates and eliminate a bunch of lousy teachers who think that reading powerpoint slides to the literate constitutes hawtness.

9/09/2007 2:11 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


9/09/2007 5:22 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Dear Friends and Colleagues:

The deadline is near for the 2008 Western Political Science Association. In fact, it is TODAY!

In 2008, we will be convening at the Manchester Hyatt Regency in San Diego, California. It is a beautiful venue for our usually provocative panels and warm reunions with friends. As you all know, the WPSA is an inclusive regional conference. The theme for this year's meeting is CITIZENSHIP, COMMUNITY, and AND CONFLICT. We are open to an exploration of various communities and challenges to community, and issues of immigration and economic and cultural conflict.

We also have a section on Intersectionality, a growing field in our discipline. We encourage papers on intersectionality, and how it may constrain individual liberty and equality. We have also added a Women and Politics section. Our original intent was that Women and Politics panels would be submitted to the Politics and Gender section, but a number of individuals have indicated that it would be clearer to the participants to have a specifically designated section for Women and Politics.

Get your proposals in now! I want this to be the beginning of the Western as a national, and indeed, international meeting. The website to sign up:

All the best,

Andrea Y. Simpson
Program Chair

9/10/2007 8:36 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The MPSA (not MWPSA) is also, by far, the best of the conferences you mention

Are you claiming that conference quality is positively associated with the hotel costs?

Western is the top conference for some subfields (theory, woman and politics for example).

Yes, I've heard the "Labor Day" explanation for APSA vs. MWPSA but that does not explain how WPSA and SPSA can get such better rates.

I'm more convinced by the "We've gone to PH since I've been a pup and goddamit we're going there until I'm ready to retire."

I think it's time to reconsider. 200+ dollars for a crappy room in a crappy part of town is bad.

And I'm hearing of more and more people who shorten their MWPSA stay due to costs.

9/10/2007 7:01 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The PH/Midwest connection goes back to a deal that Midwest cut with PH several years ago. That deal expires in a few years, maybe around 2010. After that, we should expect to see more variety in hotels and better rates.

People just don't realize how many years in advance conference hotels have to be set up. It's very difficult to walk in just two years out and say you want a hotel to accommodate a 1000-3000 person conference. Contracts are signed -- sometimes multi-year contracts with big hotel chains -- and there are significant penalties for breaking them. I think that's actually how Midwest got into this pickle with the Palmer House in the first place, if the urban legend is correct.

Regional associations run on a fairly tight budget and don't have much in terms of a reserve fund. Their primary source of funding is their annual conference. Many of them don't have any insurance that would help them out if something happened to kill one of their conferences (like WPSA dodged a bullet by having the annual meeting about five years ago in Denver the week after a snowstorm that would have cancelled every flight for the entire weekend).

It's just not as easy as it looks, folks, and there's no grand conspiracy in the background. Just a bunch of academics, many of whom don't have a lot of experience in conference organization, doing the best they can to put together meetings that will be successful across a large variety of parameters. That's why having a really good set of administrators (exec director/conference director) can make all the difference in the world.

All hail Elsa Favila of the WPSA!

9/11/2007 3:05 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

As for the part of Chicago where the PH is located, it's actually getting a lot better. More restaurants, shops, etc.. I assume it has to do with the popularity of the new Millennium Park just around the corner. (FWIW, I dislike the PH and stay at a nearby - cheaper AND nicer - hotel, but I am less unhappy with the general location than I used to be.)

9/11/2007 8:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I've been a PowerPoint Hater for years, perhaps a decade, for the reasons so nicely laid out by Tufte in his brilliant monograph on PowerPoint. But, now that I'm lecturing to 200+ students, I find it a necessary evil, but I still choose to ignore all the bells and whistles.

In a conference talk, I would think PP is appropriate if you have a kind of moving trend line, where the story is in how the function changes over time, variable measurement, or some such. Or if you have a spatial model and you show how coalitions move left and right.

But I dread the day someone just puts up her/his talk and reads the slides.

Rule of thumb -- if the slide has a pretty picture that tells your story, use it. If the slides just tells your story, don't.

(And there should also be some rule that says no projected table can have more than 6 cells.)

9/11/2007 2:06 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The PH isn't that bad if you spring for a Towers room (and the marginal cost isn't that much once you're already paying to be in the PH). But unless you are spending a lot of time in conference activities (i.e. you have lots of panels), there are certainly more economical and/or more fun choices.

9/11/2007 6:20 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Re 2:06 PM

I basically agree with your view on .ppt. Don't use it mainly for text, especially not rolled out line by line. Text can still be helpful for lingering over a couple of points or key hypotheses. This applies to job talks as well, not just to conference presentations.

Do use .ppt for graphics, whether dynamic or not. This also applies to job talks. Spend a lot of time making these effective, with clear labels that are large enough to read if you're sitting 20+ feet from the screen.

As for tables, those should be used sparingly. Nobody can digest anything complex at a conference. It's a somewhat different issue in job talks: keep detailed tables buried but accessible in case there are follow-up inquiries; but don't present detailed tables initially.

9/11/2007 11:02 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

11:02 PM offers generally good advice. I would still say, though, that one ought to stay away from graphics, tables, and everything of that ilk unless it really does add something substantial to the presentation - which is sometimes the case for quantitative data and almost never the case for qualitative data.

9/12/2007 8:18 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I disagree. Painful is the talk that goes on for 30-40 minutes without something to look at and chew on.

9/12/2007 10:04 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

It all depends on whether the speaker is good at her/his craft or not. A good speaker can hold an audience's interest for 45 minutes without bells and whistles. Now if you need to show a graph or a table to communicate quantitative data, fine. But 95% of non-quant talks, and even about 50% of formal or quant talks, that I've seen absolutely do not require visual effects.

I say this not because I am some sort of luddite, but rather because I like to listen to good talks and hate sitting through crappy presentations that waste my time.

9/12/2007 1:30 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

And conference presentations are 15 minutes, not 45. If you can't hold an audience for 15 minutes without powerpoint, I feel sorry for the poor undergrads you lecture to.

9/12/2007 8:06 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'd argue that conference presentations are poor indicators of actual teaching ability. If your idea of a good lecture or seminar is to stand in front of people and drone on for 15+ minutes without interruption or any interaction with your audience, I pity your institution's level of respect for quality teaching.

Mind you I think the traditional "3-4 lame presentations followed by inane discussant comments and uninformed audience Q&A" format is a complete waste of time for everyone involved, with the possible exception of those who got decent feedback from the discussant... and judging from panel attendance rates at most conferences, the discipline agrees. T&LC is at least moving in the right direction by encouraging more dialogue in its tracks, but my ideal would be even more discussant-driven. If that means an end to conference presentations based on last-minute papers, so be it.

9/12/2007 8:29 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I say this not because I am some sort of luddite, but rather because I like to listen to good talks and hate sitting through crappy presentations that waste my time.

9/12/2007 1:30 PM

You guys are messing up the partial effect. If a person gives a bad talk with slides (overhead or projector) then they will have likely given a bad one without slides.

I am glad you guys are all extroverted salesman type speakers. Not all of us are.

9/13/2007 5:51 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

A question about poster sessions. What are they useful for? Does anybody come to them? What makes for a good one?

9/13/2007 7:30 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think you need to remember also that the audience is very different at a panel and in a jobtalk - let alone in an undergrad lecture. The people who bother to show up to your panel rather than sleep in, eat lunch with an old friend, or hang out in the bar, are all at least vaguely interested in and/or knowledgeable about what you have to say. The same is not true in a jobtalk or lecture. If you can't hold the attention of interested experts for 15 minutes without powerpoint, seek another profession or at least stop coming to conferences.

All that said, I agree with the previous poster who said APSA should think more about new panel formats and greater scope for discussion! I hope this comes to pass soon.

9/13/2007 11:42 AM  
Blogger C.C. Banana said...

I, too, think that APSA should focus more on creating panels more exciting and interactive.

A few examples:

1. cage match panels,
2. "Dinner and A Theory,"
3. "strip" panels,
4. "Informal Roundtable Hold 'Em,"
5. no powerpoint, no slides, no talk: mime only
6. a stereogram poster session.

9/13/2007 12:34 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

A few more.

1. Drive-in panels.
2. Drive-by panels.
3. Perverted Justice panels.
4. Sneak & peak panels.
5. Panels by children of political scientists.

9/13/2007 12:52 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Two sets of questions.

1-Does anyone care what the the theme of a conference is? Who can tell me what this year's APSA theme was without looking it up? Last year's? Why do we even bother coming up with themes and stating that proposals that fit the theme will have a higher chance of being accepted? I've known several section chairs, and none have told me that a paper's fit with the conference theme matters. Am I wrong?

2-Is anyone else really annoyed at the MPSA's spamming of constant reminders that the deadline is looming?

9/13/2007 4:10 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

APSA is soliciting input on new panel formats, so I'd encourage folks to post ideas here.

When you say creative formats, what do you have in mind?

How about no presentations but discussants present the papers?

9/13/2007 4:32 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

1. Themes for meetings are a misbegotten idea. Nobody learns the theme song. "Let the best new research come forward" is the only sensible rallying call for the meeting as a whole.

2. No, I'm not annoyed by the Midwest's reminders (if you are, turn on your spam filter and shut them out), because that deadline is coming fast and a lot of people are barely starting the academic year and may unintentionally miss the deadline.

9/13/2007 4:33 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

To add to the earlier lists of innovative approaches for APSA (last poster seems to have missed them).

1. An auto de fe for the most heretical thinkers in each field.

2. Ritual sacrifices of innocent grad students.

3. A songfest of national anthems and battle cries.

4. An APSA 10K.

5. Drinking games.

9/13/2007 4:40 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

On themes, I think it really depends on the section head. Some think the whole concept silly. Others will try to organize high profile panels around the theme.

You can get clues about this by reading the specific section's calls. If the organizer has drawn on the theme in writing the call, that should tell you something, particularly for APSA.

9/13/2007 7:54 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

No, I'm not annoyed by the Midwest's reminders (if you are, turn on your spam filter and shut them out), because that deadline is coming fast and a lot of people are barely starting the academic year and may unintentionally miss the deadline.

Believe me, I've tried. Unfortunately my spam filter doesn't do as good a jb as it should (without losing relevant emails anyway).

I don't mind a reminder or two, but 2-3 a day? Come on...

9/14/2007 10:10 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Having presented a couple of posters, I can say that a) they're not good for much, b) hardly anybody comes by to see them that you weren't close personal friends with prior to the poster session, and c) the ones with lots of whizbang graphics look the best, but probably take the most (wasted) time.
But hey, you can stick' em on your CV, and nobody has to know it was a poster presentation, not a panel.

9/14/2007 11:17 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Regarding the MPSA notices, apparently it isn't just political scientists who are being inundated by these. I have a friend who teaches as a risk management and insurance professor in the business school and he just emailed me to ask me why he was getting an invitation to MPSA (and to ask what MPSA even was).

9/14/2007 12:24 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm all for innovation and change at APSA, but I'm guessing the systemic intertia will prevent anything but the most trivial changes at the margins.

1. I agree completely with the "theme" -- unless a paper's acceptance is predicated upon its tie-in with the theme, the "theme" is irrelevant, but the "theme panels" inevitably soak up a lot of valuable time (and good time slots)

2. I agree with PowerPoint, pro and con. Some people need the crutch -- okay, fine, but at least make it a nice crutch. Save the animation, the music, the clever fonts. It's about the information, folks, not the style.

3. What bolt of lightning could save us all from 4 Panelists and a Discussant? It would be a miracle. Perhaps one innovation would be this: The section organizer and some committee lay out 5,6,7 (whatever n) of the challenging questions in sub-field X. Each panel gets one. Each panelist has to speak/write to the question.

Among other things, this would spare us the pre-job talk job talks of dissertation chapters and last minute papers by "names" who are simply trying out their latest Big Think magazine pieces.

It would also make the panels a lot more cohesive.

Even more innovative -- only the top people in each subfield by the previous year's citation count (oh, okay, a lagged variable 3-yr running average for the book writers) get to speak at all, on Friday, and then the rest of us hang out at bars and schmooze, which is the real purpose of APSA anyway. The sections can organize pub crawls instead of panels.

9/15/2007 9:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

One thing to keep in mind: many folks don't get funded for a conference unless they are presenting. Probably the majority--maybe vast majority--of the membership. So they will not be interested at all in a system where fewer paper slots are available, even if it makes for an intellectually more rewarding conference.

9/16/2007 5:18 PM  
Blogger C.C. Banana said...

True, but not an issue if APSA labels everyone giving a poster (for example) as a "presenter," with no qualifications. Alternatively, one could schedule all of the "normal" panels at the same time.

We are, after all, the field that studies institutions and their strategic manipulation.

9/16/2007 7:17 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I had imagined this blog to be about much, but not about room rates and overheads.

9/17/2007 8:12 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The deadline for the 2008 ECPR Joint Sessions of Workshops is December 1, 2007. For more information on the conference, including descriptions of the various workshops, see

9/17/2007 12:55 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

But the vast majority of the membership doesn't get to present anyway, so I can't understand why you think that would keep people away.

9/19/2007 10:38 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Best conference locations in the next year:

ISPP: Paris

ECPR: Rennes

GISC: Ljubljana

Any other nominees? How about worst location?

9/19/2007 10:38 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

who is c. c. banana?

9/19/2007 11:38 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Worst location is probably where ever the Southwestern picked this year (Galveston? Corpus Christi? Abilene?). Runner up is APSA T&LC's choice of San Jose... if you're going to have a meeting in February in California, choose somewhere south of Big Sur please. Or Tahoe.

9/19/2007 12:15 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Worst location is probably where ever the Southwestern picked this year (Galveston? Corpus Christi? Abilene?). "

Las Vegas?

9/19/2007 1:07 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Then I think APSA has a winner!

9/19/2007 1:54 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

How about when Western was in Oakland? I remember the hotel warning us against walking around after nighttime. Of course, this year's Western in Vegas was pretty bad, too. What a lousy hotel.

9/19/2007 7:49 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I do know someone who got mugged at a political science conference, but it was at APSA in Boston, not WPSA in Oakland. I know someone else who got robbed at gunpoint in Baltimore at a different academic conference.

9/20/2007 9:31 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Anyone who is so deathly afraid of any city should stay home on the corn fields where they only have chainsaw killers and deranged satanists.

If conferences get moved to out-of-the-way hicktowns, though, I will stop coming as will most other members I suspect.

9/20/2007 11:11 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

All I'm saying is that it makes sense to remember that you're in a big city when you go to a conference. I still go to conferences and I still go out for dinner at the end of a long day, and I'm not too worried about walking around at night. But I do try to keep my wits about me.

APSA's so big it's limited in where it can go. The regionals have a bit more flexibility. But our snobby friend 11:11 need not worry: due to the need for large room blocks, no one is going to get sent to a teeny tiny hick town like Ann Arbor or Madison or Urbana or St. Paul any time soon.

9/21/2007 7:05 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thank god for that!

9/21/2007 7:33 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

St Paul? Hick Town? Folks, wake up. St Paul is a great town.

And I like 11:11 snobbery. Hey, no difference between Oakland and San Francisco, right? Newark and New York?

Oakland is a sucky place to hold a conference, whether the crime there is bad or not. It just sucks.

9/21/2007 2:24 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I live in Berkeley, and I've lived in Oakland. In the years I've been here, my bike has been dismantled by thieves twice, my house has been burglarized, I've been assaulted twice, my roommates were mugged in front of our house, one roommate's car radio was stolen out of our driveway, another roommate's car windows were smashd, and a third roommate's car was just up and stolen. It turned up a month later in Richmond. The weather here is nice, but the East Bay is certainly not all that safe. I'm not sure I would want a conference here, for the sake of the attendees not as comfortable with the area.

9/21/2007 4:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

That's no good.

9/21/2007 4:32 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I concur on SWPSA... I went to the conference in Corpus Christi several years ago, and it was horrible. Who knew there's no beach in Corpus? And if there's no beach, why would you want to have a conference in a town that looks like Beaumont/Port Arthur South?

9/22/2007 10:51 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Corpus has nice beaches as far as the Gulf goes. There is also a decent strip of bars with a SoCal kinda vibe. Not that its all that great, but its there.

9/22/2007 7:16 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Corpus is without a doubt the worst place I have ever been, a sad, half-deserted abortion of a city. I say this as someone who has managed to enjoy a weekend in Midland-Odessa, and who thought that Lubbock seemed at least liveable.

9/22/2007 8:46 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'll see your Corpus and raise you a Spartanburg S.C.

9/23/2007 10:01 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Ah, Lubbock, the romance created by the crickets chirping, the sky gently turning orange as the dust storm approaches.

9/23/2007 7:45 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

If you count a small strip of sand 25 miles from the downtown hotels as a beach, then yes, Corpus has beaches. They also have a lovely (creepy?) statue / shrine to Selena.

9/24/2007 4:48 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Corpus has nice beaches as far as the Gulf goes."
You clearly have not been to enough places in the Gulf.

9/24/2007 5:40 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

If you count a small strip of sand 25 miles from the downtown hotels as a beach

There's also a small strip of sand in the bay next to Lexington. If you want to swim in the bay with the blobs of tar and, presumably, sewage.

9/24/2007 5:57 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

OTOH, when you cram 18 grad students in a beach house, who cares about the beach?

But to bring the conversation full circle, SWPSA in Vegas this year is at the same hotel at last year's WPSA: the Riviera. I heard someone say it is the only conference hotel in Vegas. I find that impossible to believe, but the PSA's seem convinced. The again, it's affordable for the academic set, whereas the other end of the strip wouldn't be.

9/26/2007 5:09 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Part of the problem with SWPSA and the WPSA being held in Vegas is the timing. March is one of the busier months so it limits the options on where to hold the conference. October would another particularly poor month.

9/26/2007 9:58 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

All conferences should be held in the summer.

They should also all be held in major cities that can be reached from most US airports without changing planes somewhere en route.

Since universities are clustered in the Northeast and Upper Midwest (a.k.a. "Industrial Midwest"), it makes sense that roughly 75% of conferences should be held in Washington, New York, Philadelphia, Boston, Detroit, or Chicago.

The remaining 25% should be spread between places such as San Francisco, L.A., Seattle, Atlanta, Houston, etc.

Wait. This is basically the current APSA model!

Maybe the best thing would be to tweak it to include a wider variety of alternative cities (currently it seems like they basically consist only of San Francisco - great - and Atlanta - atrocious). Adding (or replacing Atlanta with) L.A., Seattle, or Houston might be smart.

9/27/2007 8:14 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Houston? August-September?

9/27/2007 9:31 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'd hate to have the conferences in the summer; what a way to ruin a summer's plans by bopping around from APSA to WPSA etc. Maybe early June or late May would work better for APSA, before folks settle in for the summer and just after the spring semester.

But WPSA is usually timed with semester spring breaks and it's usually in a warmer place than here in the northeast, and so that conference is a nice break in the middle of the winter doldrums.

9/27/2007 9:43 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

APSA is just fine when it is in the year.

Others in the Spring should be moved to mid-June. Spring breaks do not line up across schools and places on the quarter system are in the thick of the term in May.

9/27/2007 9:57 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

APSA is fine for some, but for many it comes right as the semester is starting, orientation, div meetings etc - a hard time to cancel a class or just be off campus for many. It almost certainly won't be changed, so I'm not going to get too concerned about it, but just to mention that it is not just fine for many folks.

I like the conferences spread out over the year, including SSHA, American Studies, WPSA, MPSA etc. No one can go to them all, but if you plan your sched out you can make ones that work for your particular school's schedule. I'm at a slightly smaller school, so rescheduling a class to make a conference is not that big a deal. I realize it is not the same for all, but I know colleagues who do it - or have a grad student lecture for one class - and it works out fine. Collapsing a bunch of conferences in the summer months would be a drag, especially when a lot of us use that time to dig into/travel for research or set time aside to write.

9/27/2007 11:08 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

But for those with families, having APSA on labor weekend is a bad situation. We do it becuase it's cheap, not because its good.

9/27/2007 1:14 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I doubt academic-year schedules have anything to do with it.

Obviously, the associations have to plan their schedules years in advance and in such a way that (a) they don't conflict with each other and (b) they get good hotel rates.

Conferences would quickly become too expensive for many (most?) academics if they were all held in the "good" cities at the "good" times -- especially problematic for smaller conferences.

As for changing planes, blame the airlines, not the conference schedulers. I can't imagine many people seeking out the conferences if they were always held in the hub cities.

9/28/2007 6:24 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

As a takoff of the talk about slide presentation programs (powerpoint etc..) recently I have a question for the brain trust.

Do you think that the "Beyond Bullet Points" style of presentation is appropriate for an academic talk? I am specifically concerned that the visual style will be frowned upon.

If you are unaware of this trend it is based on a couple of books that came out in the past few years and the general idea involves a slide with few words and picture for each main point.

If you are unfamiliar with it here is a good short example of someone using the general visual style.

He is not adhering to all the concepts of "beyond bullet points" but I am mostly asking about the way the slides look.

This goes into more detail for those that are interested:

9/28/2007 2:16 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

If I were giving a speech or a sales pitch, I might use something like that (if I used any visuals at all).

But if I'm giving a scientific presentation, no way would I play little games like that -- whether presenting a paper at a convention or presenting a job talk. Far too cutesy and cuddly. Such talks are not sales pitches. You might get away with one or two cutesy items (I've seen it done reasonably successfully in job talks) but building the whole talk that way would be deadly.

It does make sense to use visuals for most talks. But the governing adage ought to be KISS (Keep It Simple, Stupid). Clean, concise. But not cuddly and cute.

9/28/2007 4:50 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Do you think that the "Beyond Bullet Points" style of presentation is appropriate for an academic talk?

No. Whatever we need, it is not more clip art.

The general principle of not having the whole text of your talk on the slides is probably worth remembering.

9/29/2007 6:16 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Worst conference site ever: ISA-South, Clarion Hotel, Columbia, South Carolina, three or four years ago. Wow. Talk about nothing to do; the Gamecocks weren't even in town that weekend.

9/29/2007 7:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Sorry, worst conference ever is the Northeastern--EVERY YEAR.

My first time, in Boston, I go to check out the room about a half hour before the first panel of the day and notice there is no overhead projector. I ask a hotel maintenance guy and he says to talk to the conference organizers.

I end up talking with the President of the Northeastern who tells me that they don't provide overhead projectors because that would add $15 to the registration fee!

So I and two other panelists give our presentations by holding our slides up in the air for the audience to see!!!

This should be a major conference and instead it is a joke--albeit an inexpensive joke!

9/29/2007 3:19 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The next fashion will undoubtedly be "Beyond Clip Art."

Absolutely not.

I've worked around the Defense Department and some of the services and their PP slides are hellishly devoted to callouts and pictures and arrows and colored boxes and on and on and on -- and they make no sense whatever.

You should strive to be so good, so solid on YOUR OWN data and arguments, that you can work with bullet points and make the paper clear to your audience.

PP should never be a crutch -- and is, far too often -- and must never be a substitute for your own mastery of the material.

In other words, rehearse your talk.

And rehearse it, as they say around the Defense Department, the way you're going to "fight' it -- with less time than you hoped.

If the chair says each paper will get 15 minutes, assume everyone ahead of you will go long, that you will be left with 10 minutes, and that the audience will want you to finish in 5 -- even if yours is the paper we came to see.

So I'll use another DoD-ism: BLUF (Bottom Line Up Front). If there's only time for you to say ONE THING, say it first.

9/30/2007 7:06 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Speaking of .ppt and the DOD, isn't it Robert Gates who basically banished powerpoints from presentations by officers in the last year or so.

The rationale? They almost always paint a simplistic (and ultimately overly rosy) picture. They focus on numbers and not on the complex reality on the ground.

9/30/2007 7:43 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

not sure it's prudent to take ANY lead from this DOD. They don't seem to get much of anything right.

9/30/2007 5:42 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

One thing that beyond bullet points requires is a mastery of your talk. You have no screen to stare at and read off of. You talk must be in you head. The slides are simply meant as visuals for the audience to help them remember your main points.

Frankly I think it is great and this trend has swept through the tech world. It makes for more informative and more interesting talks. That said unless you have tenure somewhere don't try it in Poli-Sci. People are too conservative for this sort of thing. No matter how good the talk they will think its too "cutesy". They will think you "relied too much on your slides" despite the fact that you actually used them very little.

10/01/2007 5:26 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Powerpoint hint: look at the "notes" version of PPT. This way you can read your notes and still "see" the slides.

10/01/2007 11:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I just ran across a blog post from earlier in the year about APSA selling the rights to conference papers and then those papers showing up on the web. Apparently some of this has been corrected, but the general issue appears to have not been resolved.

Why must one sign over the copyright to their work when they present it at a conference. Is this really legally binding and if so how does board view this.

The post is here:

10/01/2007 12:02 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Is anybody actually going to fork over $7 for an old APSA paper? A lot of those are either free on a given person's website, were turned into a journal article (in which case they're free), or were rejected and have been removed from the web (in which case they're crap).

10/02/2007 3:08 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Some of my lazier students might (well, perhaps the ones with more initiative than those who just cut-and-paste from Wikipedia).

10/02/2007 9:41 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

RE: 10/01/2007 12:02 PM
This is why I have never once uploaded my paper to a conference website. I am not going to relinquish my copyright and provide them with a preliminary version of a paper that will be online for all eternity.

If they stated that the papers would be online only for 3 months and then discarded and I did not have to sign over the copyright then I would upload every time.

10/03/2007 7:48 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

OK, this is getting ridiculous. I got my SIXTH and SEVENTH postcards encouraging me to apply to Midwest on Saturday, to go along with the 10 or so e-mails they've sent me. Did they hire a direct-marketing firm this year.

10/08/2007 6:35 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

>>"Leave your extra equipment at home. Just schlep your stick."

That's what she said! Whooooo!

10/08/2007 11:17 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Oh! In case anyone hadn't heard, the Midwest deadline is tonight.

You can thank me for reminding you with a beer at the Palmer House bar.

10/10/2007 5:28 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

And... they extended the Midwest deadline to Oct. 17. I found out about it through another borderline-spam e-mail. I expect a postcard (or 12) any day now.

10/12/2007 5:01 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

There's a shocker. Is there any conference (besides APSA) that doesn't extend its deadline every year, rain or shine?

10/12/2007 6:52 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Did anyone here attend the APSA T&L meeting last year in Charlotte? If so what did you think of the format? I have heard some very divergent opinions on the "working group" model and I was curious what your experiences were like...

10/12/2007 2:56 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Did anyone here attend the APSA T&L meeting last year in Charlotte?


I was there and frankly, I did not like it. There were presentations on other "tracks" that I wanted to attend but I was told to stick to my group. I actually found it more limiting and less interesting that simply going to the regular teaching panels as APSA or MPSA.

10/12/2007 2:59 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I've attended the past two T&LCs (DC and Charlotte) as a track participant and think they're a bit of a mixed bag. The "stay with your track" thing has potential, but only if track facilitators are aggressive in ensuring on-topic discussion and, perhaps more importantly, holding presenters to their time. I had a relatively good experience in my track each time, but I can see how some people might come away not having such positive feelings about it.

I also think that for 2009 and beyond APSA may want to think about having some "workshop tracks" for new and junior faculty for the "here's a cool thing I do in my classes" presentations, which might let the other tracks focus more on evaluation and developing best practices. At least in the track I've been part of, there's been some feeling that we keep reinventing the wheel rather than making much progress - this might be resolved by establishing more long-term working groups or task forces.

The upside: it's good for networking outside the traditional R1 sphere and subject-matter groupings, although there are some folks from R1 settings too. If you're a grad student, it might be worthwhile to come and see how the other half (2/3?) lives before you get the culture shock of not getting that Top 20 job.

10/12/2007 3:54 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

In case anyone is wondering about Midwest, don't panic if you haven't gotten an acceptance notification. This is their first year with a web-based system, and the software is unbelievably buggy. Section heads have been having a hard time getting it to work, so many sections are not yet organized.

11/02/2007 6:05 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Actually, I was a section organizer for the 2006 meeting, and their software was a disaster back then. I'm thinking that this is a problem with the people selecting and running the software, not the software itself. Wise up, MPSA!

11/09/2007 5:53 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

For the 2007 meeting MPSA used Excel, which was a pain.

Is there any reason they couldn't have just gotten a license to use whatever WPSA uses?

11/10/2007 12:43 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

A warning: my MPSA acceptance (which came in yesterday or the day before) went into my spam folder--actually the university mail filter caught it before it got to my normal GMail spam filter. You may want to check carefully if you've been expecting to hear from MPSA but haven't.

11/14/2007 8:50 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Just back from the Northeast meeting. Was anyone else REALLY disappointed not only with the general organization, but also with the quality of the panels? I'm on the fence about going back.

11/18/2007 7:54 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

what exactly did you expect from the NE meeting?

11/19/2007 10:23 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Having never been to any of the three, how would people rank Northeast / Western / Southwest?

11/19/2007 5:36 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I guess I expected that they'd notify people that their papers were on the program longer than a month out...this is probably why I think I only saw 2 fully-attended panels.

11/19/2007 7:45 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

If you do theory, public law, environmental, race/ethnicity, qualitative or interpretive methods, gender, or sexuality, WPSA is the best of the regionals. It's not so good for comparative and IR because it's usually scheduled very close to or on the same weekend as ISA.

11/20/2007 6:25 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Northeastern is always terrible. It seems to only exist to give students on the market one more CV line-- which doesn't count for anything anyway, because everyone knows that. I don't think I ever saw a panel with more people in the audience than there were panelists.

11/25/2007 7:36 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Has anybody on the blog attended the New York State Political Science Association Annual Meeting? Who participates in the event?

11/28/2007 5:12 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Who Participates? Who Cares?

11/28/2007 8:20 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Northeastern is actually pretty good for theory, IMHO. This may be its primary strength, dunno. My panels have always been well attended. And, well, if you're gonna do a minor conference, there at least you're surrounded by Ivy Leaguers.

I'd rank it #2 among regionals for theory, behind WPSA and ahead of MPSA and SWPSA (never been to Southern).

11/29/2007 8:06 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Does anyone have any tips on what should be in the abstract for an APSA 08 panel proposal? Should it discuss each paper in turn? What about tying in the overall conference theme?

11/29/2007 9:52 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

State meetings, like the NYSPA, are attended by in-state faculty and some graduate students from that state. State meetings are attended mainly by people from smaller schools and teaching colleges. These meetings serve a purpose for those faculty, are useful for graduate students to present papers, and are good places for people from schools with PhD programs to meet people who might send them students.

11/30/2007 9:02 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think 8:06 is confusing Northeastern PSA (autumn) with New England PSA (spring). The latter's terrific for theory and public law.

12/02/2007 7:14 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

8:06 here. No, I wasn't. Admittedly, I've only been to NPSA twice, and both were Boston years. I gather the Philly experience, and the planning this year given their move to a new software package/website, may differ. But, speaking as a theorist, my two trips to Boston have both been rewarding, well beyond the additional lines on my vita.

That said, I appreciate the heads up that New England is also good for theory & public law. I've heard that before as well, and it stands to reason.

12/03/2007 12:02 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The Northeastern and NYPSA conferences are often populated by graduate students, but from my own experience at the time I was in grad school it was for much more than a CV line. In fact, I don't think that occurred to me at the time. Rather, it is a great experience for graduate students to not only present their work, but to also learn how to present their work, give talks, prep and present a talk, respond to questions, and also meet other grad students and profs in the field. You will find faculty there, but usually those who are local/regionally based.

Thus, I would not be dismissive of the regional conferences, especially for grad students and young faculty, especially if as a grad student you live in the region and it is a cheaper to attend than the national. You always wanting to be shooting for APSA, but I would not turn down your nose at the regionals. Practice, practice, practice...after all.

12/13/2007 2:30 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Don't forget... APSA deadline is Monday.

12/14/2007 7:09 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Don't forget... APSA deadline is Monday.

12/14/2007 8:33 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Stupid APSA proposal question: If you are submitting a panel proposal and you are one of the paper presenters on the panel, does that count as two separate submissions (for the purposes of the submission guidelines rule that "You may submit up to 2 papers or 2 organized panel proposals. Additional proposals from the same author or organizer will not be accepted")?

12/16/2007 11:04 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Stupid APSA proposal question: If you are submitting a panel proposal and you are one of the paper presenters on the panel, does that count as two separate submissions (for the purposes of the submission guidelines rule that "You may submit up to 2 papers or 2 organized panel proposals. Additional proposals from the same author or organizer will not be accepted")?"

No, it does not count as two. What they will count is your actual participation, you actually submitting the panel does not count, just your paper presentation on that panel does. You are free to do one more thing.

12/17/2007 12:59 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

An American thread post asks for advice on submitting a proposal for a paper that doesn't yet exist.

I encourage my students not to do this, but what do others think? Does this depend on conference (e.g., yes for SPSA, no for APSA)? It's risky. But it can also help motivate students to work. And at APSA, anyway, they'll likely wind up with a poster.

Other thoughts?

12/17/2007 9:11 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

There is a big difference between submitting a paper that a grad student has thought a great deal about, even though it has not yet been started, and an 11th hour submission.

Perhaps advanced grad students and professors can get away with off-the-cuff proposals, but it's probably a bad route for younger grad students to take.

12/17/2007 9:24 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Deadlines help concentrate the mind. If you think you'll get the time and have access to the research to get the paper done, then it's fine. We submit proposals 9 months before the conference, I am sure a significant number of them are still to be written. In many ways, conferences are a great place to get new work out, get feedback, and continue on. Unless you think you won't get a reasonable version of what you proposed done (with the perennial qualifier "work in progress, please do not cite" placed on the title page) then go ahead.

12/18/2007 2:31 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I agree with 2:31. As a grad. student, the conference season helps me to set up my research agenda, which otherwise gets lost in a sea of...stuff. The deadlines are great. I do at least 4 conferences a year, mainly because my institution is located in a place that allows me to drive to most meetings. The only time I ever have a written paper when I propose is when I'm building on a conference paper I've already done and want final critique before it goes out. Most of the time, I've just got an idea for a paper that I may or may not actually write if not for the conference deadlines. On a side note, conferences also are great for forcing those tricky dissertation chapters to at least a draft stage, and for getting outside eyes on one's work.

That said, APSA is a different animal....

12/19/2007 8:02 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Does anyone else think that the problem of phantom paper proposals would be a lot worse if Political Science conferences didn't require so much lead time? Does it really take 10 months for APSA to process abstract submissions and put together the conference schedule?

At least compared to my SO's hard science field this is pretty crazy. Her conference submissions consist of complete papers, and they aren't due until 4-5 months before the conference.

If I have a clear enough idea about where a project will be in 10 months to write an accurate abstract, I won't want to be presenting it at a conference in 10 months. I'll want to have it under review at a journal. A 4-5 month lead time would greatly lessen the temptation to submit projects that don't exist yet and make the feedback a lot more useful for those that do write proposals only when they have a reasonably complete project to talk about.

12/19/2007 11:32 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The first sentence of that last post was supposed to read "Does anyone else think that the problem of phantom paper proposals would be a lot better..."

-11:32 AM

12/19/2007 2:27 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

My question would be, what exactly is the problem here? Sometimes people bail on panels, but I don't see it as a major issue (and am not sure that is due to phantom paper proposals) and as a discussant on a number of panels over the years I have not noticed a rash of horribly incomplete papers (There are those I have critiques of, or see as needing more work in areas etc, but that's par for the course at conference presentations.) I don't see the problem here, in terms of consequences for the conference itself. But it is entirely possible I'm missing something (it's happened before!)

12/19/2007 2:46 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Did anyone else have problems with the APSA system when trying to submit a proposal? It took almost 10 hours to get a new password from them pushing me past the deadline. Happen to anyone else? I didn't know if it was APSA or maybe our system was delayed in letting messages through.

12/19/2007 8:03 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

What's the State Politics and Policy conference like? # of panels, # of attendees, overall vibe?

12/23/2007 12:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Given the rise of poster sessions, should APSA or its sections give awards for best posters? I just learned that APPAM (Assn. Policy Analysis and Mgmt) is starting this next fall.

12/23/2007 12:04 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

What is standard for conference attire? Does this vary by conference (e.g. APSA more formal?)? I'm thinking specifically about SPSA coming up, but I'm curious about the others too.

1/01/2008 9:59 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

SPSA seems a bit more laid back, but you can never overdress. I always wear a suit at conferences. So business attire is the definite standard.

1/01/2008 2:01 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

business casual...khaki trousers, oxford shirt, tie, leather shoes and belt. We're not a snazzy lot.

1/01/2008 2:11 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I always wear a suit during the day. The evenings at the hotel bar are usually less formal -- I wear chaps with no pants and a bow tie with no shirt.

1/02/2008 1:51 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

For anybody going to ISA or who lives in the Bay Area: do I have to fly into San Francisco? Is flying into Oakland or San Jose logistically unwieldy as far as getting into / out of downtown San Fran?

1/02/2008 7:18 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Re: Flying into San Jose or Oakland. It depends whether you're going to rent a car and/or how much time you have to get into San Francisco, and/or back to the airport. San Jose is over an hour (to two in traffic) from San Francisco, and the public transportation from San Jose's airport to San Francisco is atrocious. Oakland airport is much smaller and less crowded, and has a bus running directly to the BART, which can get you into San Francisco in less than 40 minutes.

1/02/2008 1:44 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I see MWPSA is still invoking their needless and heavy-handed policy regarding Palmer House reservations and conference fees.

They want you to pay $60 extra if "your name is not on a room reservation."

People that make shared reservations--better fix that right away!

And forget about "student" studios or the cheap singles--they are slready sold out! The cheapest single room is $189 and double is $214.

Well, they need to do this to hold their room block, right? Of course, they've SOLD OUT every year for the past few years. And the quoted rate for the same time period online is $199 at the Hyatt--the place where APSA was held.

1/02/2008 3:30 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Oakland airport (and the whole city of Oakland) to San Francisco convention district is easy. San Jose airport (and the whole city of San Jose) to San Francisco convention district is a huge hassle.

1/02/2008 3:46 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

My understanding is that the MPSA doesn't actually enforce this rule. Just register as though you're staying in the Palmer House, and then stay wherever you want.

1/05/2008 6:54 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm with the previous poster; if they don't enforce it why have it in the first place? It's not as if they have any problems filling the rooms. I'd rather they move the conference to a different hotel. APSA made it obvious what a dumpy place the loop location is turning into.

1/06/2008 9:28 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

How was the Southern this year?

1/14/2008 11:03 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I don't actually know anyone who went to Southern this year, which is odd and rare; I declined to go for my own idiosyncratic reasons. For those who were there, how was Year 2 back in New Orleans?

1/14/2008 12:55 PM  
Blogger Paul Gronke said...

I went. Weather was fantastic, restaurants were all in business and food was great. The Quarter still seems a bit hollowed out in places (lots of places still for sale).

Conference is suffering, I think. Attendance seemed down even from last year. Someone told me that a membership survey indicated strong support for New Orleans, but if so, where are the bodies?

Surprisingly, though, this led to some really strong panels because attendance was so low, they turned into workshops.

One minor thing--SPSA has computer projection in all venues. The hotel did an excellent job running rooms, with food, at the reception. APSA and MPSA could really take a cue.

1/14/2008 2:18 PM  
Blogger Chris Lawrence said...

As a local for the first time, I didn't get the full conference experience, but from what I could tell I thought it was better-run from an organizational standpoint than in recent years. There was no visible placement activity (unlike in previous years); given the minimal level of it in the past, not sure that this was much of a loss. Both panels I participated in were well-attended.

As for the city, the French Quarter and Faubourg Marigny are in good shape, as are the Garden District and Uptown away from the venue; the CBD (where the InterContinental is located) has seen better days, though, and there are parts of the city that remain in pretty bad shape, such as Lakeview, the 9th Ward, New Orleans East, and much of Central City.

1/14/2008 2:45 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'd rather go someplace nice -- like Savannah or Charleston.

1/14/2008 3:12 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Attendance at the SPSA was probably lower due to timing factors. I thought it was usually held earlier in January. Was it delayed due to possible interference with the BCS. (Fearless economists decided to meet during the same week as the bowl.)

1/14/2008 8:23 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I agree with 3:12 PM about Savannah (especially!) or Charleston being preferable locations to New Orleans. But two problems might be:

1. It's harder to travel to either city. There are fewer direct flights, and I suspect they are probably expensive too.
2. There may not be adequate affordable hotels that could stage a conference.

But on a slightly different topic, I absolutely hate the timing of the Southern conference. The fact that you have to finish and send in a paper just around the time of finals/the holidays is a real drawback to me.

1/15/2008 12:03 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

SPSA has been in Charleston and Savannah before, and pretty recently, and the conference worked just fine.

1/15/2008 12:57 PM  
Blogger Paul Gronke said...

It is a puzzle. I don't want to speak for council members here, but I know some pretty well.

The MPSA model--repeating most times in one city--seemed to be one that worked well, and the November timing was too close to APSA.

The move to New O. and the January date was a huge success pre Katrina. The SPSA was nipping at the heels of the MPSA.

They are in a good position to evaluate the conference. Next year is the third in NOLA since Katrina, then they have it in Atlanta.

The Council has to make the call, however, prior to the Atlanta meetin.

1/15/2008 6:37 PM  
Blogger Paul Gronke said...

I agree with Chris on panel attendance--while one of my panels was very small (the "workshop" one), I attended a panel on reactions to Katrina and another on media and presidential campaigns that were well attended.

1/15/2008 6:39 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'd vote for SPSA to move away from New Orleans. Despite low attendance, I got great comments on my paper and met a couple nice people. I just don't fell safe in New Orleans, and I'm hesitant to go back.

1/16/2008 12:17 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I agree with the safety issue. This was my first trip to New Orleans (and SPSA) and I unfortunately had several experiences with pushy individuals in the streets.

1/16/2008 12:43 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

NO was seedy even BEFORE Katrina. Atlanta is boring, but I'll go there before I go back to NO. And I would definitely go to Savannah and Charleston.

1/16/2008 1:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

face it--they dont have the wisdom to go to Savannah, or even Charleston-- mostly because we political scientists dont have the wisdom to go there when we can go to Atlanta, Dallas, Charlotte, or god forbid Tampa.

New Orleans is the best place we will get. As far as safety goes, take the freakin name badge off, and drop the political science smirk from your face. You people were asking for it!

1/17/2008 2:52 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Interesting. I stayed five blocks off site and never felt unsafe, even walking later at night.

"Pushy individuals", you mean like panhandlers? Or did you make the mistake of heading down Bourbon St. on a Friday night? They are pretty much par for the course in San Fran, Chicago, DC, I didn't notice anything particularly worse about NOLA. I sure prefer NOLA to Atlanta.

I think you underestimate the degree to which the Council has examined this issue. This is seldom as simple as saying "go to Charleston." What are hotel prices like? Do they have conference facilities? What sort of airfares are available?

1/18/2008 11:49 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

No, not just at night. During the day-walking on the sidewalk with no name badge in "street clothes"--on about 5 separate occasions, I had someone coming up to me being pushy. Is it too much to ask to just be left alone?!

1/19/2008 3:47 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Boohoohoo. How inconsiderate of those homeless people with no money and no homes to ask the fancy perfesser with his PhD and his tweed jacket for money.

If you want to be left alone, stay in your hotel room, or better yet, buy a cabin in the woods of Montana.

This is the real world. If you don't like that there are homeless people out there begging for money, do something to change it--don't just wish them away.

1/20/2008 7:33 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Look, I don’t know what your problem is. You seem to make a lot of assumptions though. I am a young woman, and it does freak me out to have strange men in New Orleans coming up to me on the street when I am otherwise just minding my own business. It does not matter whether they are homeless—no money/home—or not…it is inappropriate and next time I will be sure to use pepper spray.

1/21/2008 7:31 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"How inconsiderate of those homeless people with no money and no homes to ask the fancy perfesser with his PhD and his tweed jacket for money."

1. What if you're a graduate student who probably clears less per annum than the panhandler?

2. Perfesser?

1/21/2008 10:08 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

You can run into scary homeless people in any city--San Francisco and Seattle have more than a few in their most heavily populated or trafficked areas. The crime problem in New Orleans is serious enough (although clearly far worse with the the young black male demographic than any other) and I wouldn't suggest going it alone if you've never been to the city before, even if crime against tourists seems to be extremely low but ... well, Charleston and Savannah have crime and poverty to spare, and I wouldn't advise you to go about your days there as if you're in the postcard version of a city seen in "The Truman Show" (e.g., Seaside FL) either.

"Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil," meanwhile, was all about seediness, as well as eccentricity. So if you're looking for non-seedy, it's not the place to go. (And NOLA has beauty outside of the heavily trafficked section of Bourbon Street to rival anything in Savannah. And I say this as an admirer of both cities. New Orleans is a large city, still, and is not just the Quarter.)

1/21/2008 11:11 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think the issue with NOLA is really that the Intercontinental isn't in the best part of downtown (and it wasn't a great part of downtown pre-Katrina either); if it were on Canal Street or closer to the warehouse district, I think people would be more comfortable there. That's probably part of how SPSA can afford the convention space... remember the hotel SPSA used to be at in Atlanta; it wasn't exactly in the most happening neighborhood either. Unless you're throwing around APSA money, you're not going to get the nicest venues (and $200+ registration fees like APSA's would kill the regionals); even APSA is hit and miss when it comes to venues--I think I came much closer to being robbed/stabbed in Philly at APSA 03 than I ever have in New Orleans.

And I'll echo that there are plenty of neat places in New Orleans outside the French Quarter (less populated by panhandlers etc. too) - Faubourg Marigny, the Warehouse District, Magazine St (roughly from Felicity out to Napoleon and from Jefferson to Audubon Park), and Carrollton, all less than a $10 cab from the IC.

1/21/2008 11:46 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Anyone who thinks Savannah and Charleston are more dangerous than New Orleans has a hole in his head. Want to compare crime figures on a per-capita basis?

Are there dangerous areas of Savannah and Charleston? Sure. Just like in any city. But Savannah and Charleston are very "family friendly" environments. If you're in the nice areas of either city, where SPSA has been in the past, like the Omni in Savannah, you'll have an enjoyable, safe visit. The raunchiness of NO may appeal to some, but surely not to all.

1/21/2008 1:46 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

First, no one said anything about more dangerous or anything. And I haven't read about an outbreak of violence against tourists in NOLA anyway, nor do I think you have, nor do I think you could find any stats to back your case up. I have read about an epidemic of violence among young black males. And I don't hear you all saying anything about wanting to stop that.

Meanwhile, who brings the family to a conference? If you want to take the family somewhere, go to a nice, uncrowded beach resort or Disney World. Charleston and Savannah (particularly the latter) are places for adults, places to go eat and drink, possibly heavily, if you're into that. I don't see kids getting into tours of historic homes and whatnot either.

1/21/2008 2:01 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I've said this before and I'll say it again: big cities have stranger-on-stranger crime, and it behooves you to keep your wits about you when you go a-conferencing.

It's a very small N, but I know one academic who got physically assaulted in Boston at APSA and another who was robbed at gunpoint at a different academic conference in Baltimore. I don't, however, know anyone who had anything bad happen in NOLA.

1/21/2008 3:03 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm still interested in the comments about a woman being approached multiple times on the street. I'd like to hear more.

It is true that a lot of people approached me in NOLA--most were trying to get me to enter their restaurant or bar or venue. They are aggressive that way in NOLA in a carney barker sort of way.

But I did not get any feeling of being unsafe there. Just my feeling. The town is definitely funkier than pre-Katrina.

I don't know the solution, I sure hope it isn't Atlanta. Honestly, the whole thing makes me sort of sad for what has happened to the city.

Austin would be cool, haven't been there in a long time. Savannah is just too hard to get too. Charleston would be OK for me, but I have good travel support.

But hell, I like Nashville, so who I am I to talk?

1/21/2008 10:25 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Young, single men in NOLA approach young women because they want them to do certain... things in exchange for beads, etc. It's unsavory, it's creepy, and it's wrong, but it happens if you hang out in the French Quarter at night. Out-of-towners seem to think that it's Mardi Gras 365 days a year.

1/22/2008 6:06 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Look, I don’t know what your problem is. You seem to make a lot of assumptions though. I am a young woman, and it does freak me out to have strange men in New Orleans coming up to me on the street when I am otherwise just minding my own business. It does not matter whether they are homeless—no money/home—or not…it is inappropriate and next time I will be sure to use pepper spray.

1/21/2008 7:31 AM

I am appalled by this comment. I would like to think that highly educated women would be able to say 'no, I'm sorry, I don't have any money to give you' more easily than they would be able to mace someone. ... And if she's referring to being solicited in the middle of the French Quarter by a bunch of drunk fratboys from Tallahassee, again, I think pepper spray is a disproportionate response. I'm an attractive young woman who has spent plenty of time walking around central NOLA, by myself, in high heels, and I've never felt unsafe. But I do understand that cities are frightening for some people.

1/22/2008 8:36 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Ha, ha! "An attractive young women". Maybe you should get together with "Mr. Big Name" from the earlier postings.

1/22/2008 9:27 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"What if you're a graduate student who probably clears less per annum than the panhandler?"

Please tell me you're joking.

1/22/2008 12:17 PM  
Blogger Paul Gronke said...

ISPP deadline is Feb 1.

Paris. July. Need I say more?

1/22/2008 3:31 PM  

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