Saturday, September 16
A happy hello from strawberry land!

I apologize for my absence and will inundate you with excuses, ahem, I mean reasons, right away. I can't have you thinking I spent all this time "finding myself"or some other such nonsense. I easily gave that up after two days of grading and realized, who cares. So, after some grading hell, some getting sick, I decided to take up my friend on a spontaneous vacation with those super cheap tickets. While much fun, I came back to too much work, behind-ness, and a conference to attend.

All's been said and done. Conference was attended. And here's my problem -- It was one of those lovely European conferences that are often hard to understand, but that's not it. It was the hierarchy. Now I know EU universities function differently, and that its not about tenure and starting as assistant, and then associate, etc etc. and that people actually collaborate with grad students here. Oh my.

The profs did not even speak to the grad students. Nor to the researchers. Who aren't simple research assistants, but actually teach classes. And when it was time for question asking, it turned into more of a here is what I think since I'm so egotistical, I mean intelligent. And only the profs would ask questions. And they would ask them all in a row. So the same 5 people would tell you what they thought consecutively, and then the presenter would get two minutes to "answer".

The hierarchy was disgusting and disheartening. And then in a field where you would hope axes of power would be examined, all of the profs who spoke were men, and only 10% of the presenters/speakers were women.

On the bright side, these EU conferences really do know how to organize field trips! And they're not the corny tourist tour through conference city, but EACH day a lovely field trip to place that had to do with application of discipline in that city. Oh, and did I mention the food? And each night, an organized entertainment for our benefit.

So, would I go again? Yes, but skip all the presentations and attend every field trip. Until that, down with the hierarchical man.


Turquoise Stuff said...

I'm sorry to hear about the annoying aspects, but glad to know that there were really fun upsides and that you took advantage of them to the fullest extent.

I'm not sure what to say regarding the maleness and hierarchy. It is certainly disgusting. I've observed it for years on that continent and hate it much.

I guess one thought I have on all this is that it's a good reminder about the system in the US. While it has its own issues, and clearly plenty of them, it really is more evolved in some ways than academia is elsewhere. And for that we should be grateful.

strawberries said...

very true... though we have problems, and i for one would much rather be living in europe, we do have many things to be thankful about.

kodachrome said...

Strawberries, I'm just glad you're back here in our own little itopia (even if you had chosen to stay there, too). Welcome back.