Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Something that probably just won't work

Things were different when I wrote up a really excellent abstract for what looks to be a really excellent conference. Conferences that are this close to the very center of my work--contemporary political theatre--are rare (as in, I've never been to one). And so I was excited to get my acceptance from them.

But some things have changed. First, I found out I'm teaching on a MWF schedule, which means classes suffer more from conferences (especially distant ones). Then I found out that I had a paper accepted at another conference (ASTR), one I adore going to and hope to attend as regularly as possible. Then fuel prices went up. And then I realized how difficult it was going to be to get to York, UK.


I would really like to get to this conference. But I'm not sure that it's worth the money, the jet lag, and the missed classes to do it.


Nels said...

And you don't have to do it. I got a revise-and-resubmit request from a journal a few weeks ago, and I agreed with all the changes requested. I realized, though, that I didn't want to put my energy into that revision to meet their deadline, so I declined and filed the comments away in case I do want to return to it.

I practically hyperventilated, though, when I sent the email declining. It goes so against academic nature to turn down a chance to publish or go to an international conference, but it really is your choice.

Dr. Crazy said...

1) I actually bailed on a conference last summer that was in San Diego for all the reasons that you describe (though it was not so much in my specialization happy place). So nobody's judging if you decide to back out. And It's not even about "need" to back out. It's a decision, and a professional one. A tough one, but nothing wrong with making it.

2) HOWEVER, since it's so rare for you to go to a conference that is precisely in your wheelhouse, I would urge you not to say no because of how it affects your classes. Part of having tenure means that you get to make your own priorities, and part of that means (sometimes) that your scholarship gets to come before your class evaluations. Obviously you know that I care deeply about my teaching, and I hate doing anything that doesn't fit into my goals for that, but the stakes are no longer as high post-tenure for not being a 10 every single semester. If I could figure out a way to be a 7 or an 8 in the classroom and if it meant that I could go to The Most Important Conference That Would Change Everything? I would be happy with that 7 or 8 in the classroom, knowing that the conference experience would enhance my future teaching. This is not how I saw things pre-tenure.

3) Cost, however, is an issue, and I wouldn't dismiss that. I've bailed on what seemed like great conferences because of it (see my #1). So I'm not telling you to say yes or to say no. Just supporting you in knowing that it's your decision to make, and that either way you choose is totally ok.

Jenny said...

Hmm... selfish reaction here. You HAVE to come to ASTR. :)

Horace said...

It's not that I don't want to do it. I do. But missing more classes also means staying more nights which means inflating the cost further. plus, beginning with the 80-minute drive to the airport, flying to Manchester via Brussels and then taking a 1-hour train (or flying to Heathrow and taking a 3-hour train) would basically mean about 30 hours of travel for 48 hours of conference.

Also, I just found the cfp for the Comparative Drama Conference, which is in Baltimore this year. It's a nice conference I've done a few times, and I can send the same abstract there.

And Jenny: DUH. Of course I'm coming to ASTR. Does this mean you're coming, too?

Jenny said...

Yep, I'll be there! :)

undine said...

It's hard to decide not to go, but the costs do make a difference. I didn't submit to some conferences this year because I'm trying to focus and get writing done, but not submitting was hard.

Sisyphus said...

Alas, poor Yor(ic)k!

Baltimore, now, though --- Baltimore seems nice and close and doable (not international). And you could make a pilgrimage to the sites of The Wire, while you're at it!

PQuincy said...

The 30-hours-for-48-hours argument is a significant one. At some point, this kind of ratio simply becomes silly, and unfortunately, it's conferences at off-the-beaten-path venues on other continents that pay the price. But then, why did they schedule an international conference in early October, when many universities around the world are in session, or just starting (even worse...missing three of the first six classes for a conference (W, F, M being totally jet lagged)? No, I don't think so -- even if your costs are paid.