Surviving Congress 2013

I survived Congress and the CPSA meeting at UVic last week. Just returned on Monday night (in time for Convocation on Tuesday!). It’s always nice to return to my alma mater, visiting the campus and seeing many of the folks who sparked many of my continuing intellectual interests that were spawned in classrooms and over pints at UVic. As is always the case, it was also great to see many close friends who traveled to Congress and visit with my Mom in her new place on the harbour. Many great evenings.

Serving as Programme co-chair (with Scott Watson) for the International Relations section of CPSA meant I couldn’t treat the conference with the usual “targeted strike” approach that I take to conferences. Instead, I was running the hallways, in and out of panels for the duration of the conference. With the exception of the unfortunately large number of late cancellations – most problematic when said individuals had multiple responsibilities or required some panels to “evaporate” – the experience was fruitful, and there were definitely some highlights, as well as much of the usual conference nonsense.

As usual, there were many over-dressed and sometimes under-prepared graduate students. A good place to start is reading this excellent post from Duck of Minerva, which although it’s focused on attendance at the ISA, many rules apply to most major conferences. Remember, we’re not Bankers, so why dress like one? However, like Bankers, before entering a board meeting (or presentation), do your homework! If you didn’t manage to send your paper on time, don’t sweat it too much – it happens or has happened to all of us. But BE HONEST and own up to the fact that you didn’t finish, and don’t force your discussant to indicate this deficiency. Polemics based on Daytime Television viewing habits also seem out of place – although that might depend on the particular panel 😉

Big shout out to Lois Harder and Davina Bhandar for their experimental/innovative “micro lectures” panel on “Thinking With(out) Borders.” Every presenter was exceptional, and this panel was an amazing success. From discussions with other participants and audience members, the feeling of stimulation and intellectual invigoration seemed commonplace. These feelings are not the necessary outcome of every participant and audience member at a major conference panel. Thank you and well done Lois and Davina!

Off to the PSS-ISA Joint International Conference at Corvinus University in Budapest Hungary at the end of the month, to present a paper with my friend and colleague Samer Abboud, who is currently a fellow at the German Institute for International and Security Affairs in Berlin. After the conference, together with family I’ll be taking a couple weeks off in the vineyards along Lake Balaton in Hungary.

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