Saturday, February 21, 2009

The Central APA is also a disaster

The reports are beginning to drift in, and suggest that the Central division APA meeting did not go well. the consensus appears to be that it was cold, expensive, and sparsely attended. 

A lot of electrons have been spilled about what a bad idea it was to move it to February, but no one seems to have addressed this question: what was the point of moving it in the first place? Why did they bother?
--Mr Zero


Anonymous said...

I thought it was to put some distance between the Central and the Pacific.

Anonymous said...

there were good rationales for moving, i believe. one is that the central was too close to the pacific. end of april also means end of term for many people, so it has traditionally been the poorest attended. lastly, there were hotel price considerations.

that said, september seems much more sensible than february.

Mr. Zero said...


I guess that sort of makes sense. I didn't think of it because of how close the new time is to the Eastern.


Agreed. Or move it south. New Orleans could use our help, couldn't it?

Platowe said...

It's the first time in my career that I cancelled due to weather--April was always SO much better, weather-wise. So a friend had to read my comments on a paper for me, which sucked. And Spiros reports $9 beer at the smoker??

Yeah, let's go back to April. (Not September--too many institutions are just getting the fall term going then. October?)

Anonymous said...

New Orleans is quite lovely this time of year.

Anonymous said...

New Orleans wouldn't have worked, unfortunately--Mardi Gras.

Anonymous said...

I thought it was (partly) due to Palmer House's wanting us to move it because the old/usual date is not a good time for the hotel to be giving discounts to penurious philosophers?

As I have said before in discussing this: why Chicago [always]? Why not somewhere warm and fun and less expensive (N'awlins is a fine idea). For that matter, if it is to be in Chicago, why always the Palmer House?

Another problem with this move is that it does not give departments time to negotiate for second searches, for extending a search, or to prepare for on site interviews.
My program is doing a VAP hire, but only knew for sure in January. Even then, we would have gone to the Central at the usual time. The change in dates gave us too little time to complete our first hire and plan interviews for Central; so we were left contemplating doing interviews at the Pacific. Between time considerations and Provost's budgeting concerns, we are left to do phone interviews.

So much for intelligent design.


Anonymous said...

Mr. Zero,

Maybe N.O. could use our help, but conference aren't supposed to be economic stimulus works. If it's mutually advantageous, okay, but I'm not going to sign on to a conference just because the local economy could use a boost. That said, I've never been there and it may be a hoot. There's ample anecdotal evidence here in these comments that Chicago is not the way to go.

longtime central-goer said...

That's what I heard about the reason too, docs. But you know it's not always in Chicago, and when in Chicago it's not always at the Palmer House, right? The Centrals have been in Pittsburgh, Minneapolis, New Orleans in my memory, and a few years ago at a different Hilton in Chicago (north of the river on Michigan Ave).
The reason people like Chicago, I think, is that it's easy to get to, esp. compared to New Orleans, and frankly more fun to play in than Pittsburgh or Minneapolis; and the reason they like the Palmer House is that it's got a little character to compared to Generic Hilton (and it really isn't any more expensive).

Anonymous said...

The central was in Cleveland in 2003 I think. That didn't suck too much, but I would have rather been in Chicago.

Anonymous said...

Long-time Central Goer:

Ah. I did remember Pitt and NO. I forgot about the Hilton.

So, then, perhaps the Hilton would be happy with the 'regular' dates? Chicago in April is/can be very good. In February? Ick.

I actually like Pittsburgh, but it is hard to get to and is not all that pleasant in February, either.

N.O. is a fabulous place, unlike any other; I think it would be a good draw - especially in Feb if that's what the Division wants to do. Perhaps a compromise between Mardi Gras and April?


Anonymous said...

I don't know about you, but I don't get out of the hotel all that much during an APA conference. I especially won't if I'm in Chicago in February. However, there's pretty good food in N.O. and the weather isn't bad. So, I'd say that setting aside issues having to do with economic stimulus, N.O. would be a good place to have the Central. It's cheap. It's easy to get to. It won't snow.

Xenophon said...

I went to a conference in New Orleans, and wasn't impressed. My conference hotel right opposite the casino was the worst conference hotel I've ever stayed in. In contrast, I loved the APA when it was in Pittsburgh. And I had no problems with the weather at a Chicago conference in November. Just anecdotal evidence, but from my experience I don't know why everyone seems to love N.O. Since people have such differing preferences, I'm for moving these things around.

Anonymous said...

Why can't the eastern be in Miami Beach?

NYC is great. But if I'm going to spend a month's rent for a hotel room, I may as well see the ocean.

Anonymous said...

Chicago in November isn't as bad as February -- not even close. It has taken me forever to realize that winter isn't over in Chicago until April. Last year I was there March 20th and it snowed like a mother.

I do, however, like the idea of a September APA -- on more shot at APA papers before the job market.

longtime central-goer said...

Oh, right, I forgot about Cleveland. I didn't go that year.

1. Last time the meetings were in NO, it was not downtown and indeed there was a shuttle to the French Quarter. The hotel was fine, pretty standard convention hotel as I recall. The division administration says that a big problem with New Orleans is that nobody goes to the papers...

2. The other Chicago Hilton was not cheaper than the Palmer House; it was a more typical convention hotel. Nice location, just off the lake, a more posh neighborhood really. More stylish, less beautiful?
3. I think if they did it in Pitt, they wouldn't have to put it in February, Pittsburgh hotels are much cheaper than Chicago hotels. I think it's a good option -- Pittsburgh is a USAir hub, right?

4. I wonder whether the recession will hit hotels hard enough that they'll be begging even midsized organizations like ours to book. Then we can stay in Chicago in April, or go to New Orleans, move things around, all the good stuff.

Anonymous said...

I went to the central this year for the first time. Compared to the eastern, which I've gone to the last three years, I thought it was much better. The type of talk that I saw 10 people at over Christmas had 25-30 at the central. (Maybe my sample was just to small? Did anyone else notice this? I thought maybe it was because without the job stuff overshadowing everything people just got back to good old-fashioned philosophy talks.) The big hit for me was Plantinga vs. Dennett--hard-fought on both sides, and totally entertaining. It was quite the opposite of sparsely attended: people sitting on the floor in the aisles and standing anywhere else there was a spot.

I know there is a trend recently to be negative about the APA; but my experience anyway at the central was nothing but positive.

Anonymous said...

Do we need to change the profession to accomodate all the new Ph.D.s? I am very concerned about the market and the profession as a whole. Is it time for a change? I am on a 3/3 load and my work week is a joke. 150 minutes in the classroom 3 time a week, committee work that takes up about 2 hrs a week, advising comes and goes and prep is honestly not much. Admit it, we have it easy. What if the profession changed to a standard work week? Would it kill us? If we lost most of our research time would the profession suffer? Would the world suffer? I think there are enough research philosophers to fill the need. What if we taught 6 classes a day everyday for 5 days a week. 3 classes before lunch and 3 after. That would allow my students to graduate in 2 years with the same amount of time in the classroom. It would move twice the # of students through my college in a year and keep it alive longer. Thoughts?

juniorperson said...

I have the same puzzlement about NO; I just don't get why people think it's so great. The much-touted food is pretty dire, and pretty standard; red beans and rice just is, well, red beans and rice; muffalattas and po'boys are known as sandwiches elsewhere, and gumbo as stew. Sure, there are plenty of oysters and crawfish, but if that's all it had to offer it gets beaten pretty badly by every other major US city for food.

It's also filthy, and corrupt; around half the times I've visited I've had to dispute credit card charges owing to the charming local restaurant habit of fraud.

And let's not forget that Bourbon Street bars like to charge different prices based on race, despite this being illegal.

Oh, and it's dangerous, even for tourists.

And service is appalling.

So, no, I just don't get it.

Anonymous said...

I suspect 10:42 needs to put down the kool-aid. If you think 3-3 is a total and complete breeze, I suspect it's because you aren't updating your course material, working on any research, attending any conferences, or advising any students in a judicious manner.

Anonymous said...

I was at the central. The attendance wasn't awful--as far as I could tell, it was pretty typical of the other Central APAs I've been to in Chicago.

And Chicago has great public transit. So, in spite of the snow, there were plenty of places to go and plenty of things to do.

The only real problem was the sorority conference also booked at the same time Palmer House. There was constant yapping in the hallways and seemingly a lame sorority party going on in every hotel room on my floor.

Anonymous said...

Anon 10:42 writes:

Thoughts? are lazy? Seriously though, I barely have a free moment. I have many many enjoyable busy moments, so I'm not complaining, but I'm not sure why you have the leisure time you seem to be claiming to have. Am I missing something?

Anon 7:41 writes:

I went to the central this year for the first time. Compared to the eastern, which I've gone to the last three years, I thought it was much better.... I know there is a trend recently to be negative about the APA; but my experience at the central was nothing but positive.

I don't think anyone is suggesting that even the worst Central meeting approaches the horror of the Eastern. Complaints about the Central are all to be placed against the background assumption that the Central is supposed to be reasonably enjoyable. You should try a Pacific. They are, dare I say, fun!

untoward said...

I missed the Central but, after hearing about the sorority parties, am quite disappointed.

Anonymous said...

This year I had 0 interviews through the APA, but I had at least 8 with the sorority! I wonder if managing the beer bong is a tenure-track position...

Anonymous said...

3:27, 10:42 again. Try and keep the personal attacks off the board and look at the argument/question I offered here. I have a set of group work questions my students use to get this idea set up as good practice when doing philosophy, we try and not look at the person that offered the argument but the argument itself. I could pass them along to you if you like. I am an award winning faculty member, publish in the top tier journal in my area, chair sessions, send an army of students to law school each year and hold tenure. If it makes it easier to reject my point thinking I am some slacker, you have my blessing to do just that with this question. Is it really the case that I should spend the next three days pouring over Pascal in the journals, translating the section my students read, reading and digesting every new word written and go back to all the classic works written on him and/or the Wager just to give a 45 minute lecture to a room full of freshman Nurses, Education and Psy majors? Will any of the material I discover in the next 2 days end up in such a lecture? On that point, how many of you will every read my new translation of Aristotle's _________? Does it really matter for our everyday work? I am sure in my own mind that a very select group of philosophers care about the translation I just produced. I would guess that about 5% care and it makes a difference in their intellectual life but it would never make a difference in a freshman intro classroom or even an advanced Ancient course. I publish on Aristotle becuase the intellectual culture says I should or people like 3:27 lose all respect for me as an intellectual. At times I just sit back and think it is all really silly and a bit artificial. I enjoy reading this board as it gives me a look at the market not granted by the JFP and as 3:27 doubts I am very anxious about sending my graduates to graduate school no matter how motivated and intelligent they are.

Anonymous said...

I share 5:31's annoyance at the other group (though, to be fair, they are a business club and not a sorority). I like The Palmer house. The rates we get are reasonable, its location is good, and its a comfortable hotel. My complaints have more to do with the lack of free wifi and the absurd charge to use the gym (both of which I can survive without for a few days).

I enjoyed the Central. I'm not sure what all the grousing is about. It was cold, sure enough, but I was going to the conference not the beach.

Anonymous said...

The only real problem was the sorority conference also booked at the same time Palmer House.

Hmmmmmmmm, sloshed, attractive 18-21 year-olds who aren't your students wandering around a hotel, far from home.... This was a problem?! Most male-dominated conferences would pay good money for this "problem" to occur. I think the APA should contact that Sorority's national organization and offer to help foot their bill. I predict an increase in philosophers, no matter the venue.

Anonymous said...


You, sir, are a fool. There really is no other city in the country like New Orleans when it comes to culture, cuisine, and everything else that makes the city great. I won't even comment on your food references. Do you know the difference between southern, Cajun, and Creole cuisine? You need not answer that... for anyone who even suggests that gumbo is a "stew" knows nothing about cooking.

Outside of the week of Mardi Gras and the weeks of Jazz Fest, the hotels in New Orleans are very reasonably priced (due to the fact that there are so many) and most have convention facilities. I did not attend the Central meeting the last time it was in New Orleans, but it's foolish not to have the meeting downtown.

Oh well, we can only hope that they will start holding the meeting somewhere where it is above freezing.

Philosophy Prof said...

The person who claims to be a professor with a 3-3 load is not a professor but an outsider who has the false view that professors work 10 hours per week, but who is pretending to be an insider who is copping to the charge. But anyone who is a professor at a 3-3 school would have research responsibilities, and the workweek would take 40 hours total at least, unless again the person is just a terrible teacher and lazy re: committee work. But in that case the college is dropping the ball, because there are mechanisms in place at universities either to deny tenure or else (for tenured faculty) to re-shift the teaching and/or service load to make up the difference, in much the same way that the post-er is suggesting.

Anonymous said...

Hm, I love New Orleans, but I have to agree that the food really isn't very good. Sure, there are some good restaurants, but there are many, many lousy ones.

And gumbo is indeed a stew -- what could you mean? It's got meat, crustaceans, and vegetables, and they are stewed in a stock. That's what a stew is, dude.

Also (to another commenter) -- I didn't bring a laptop to the Palmer House, but a friend pointed out that there is free wifi at the Corner Bakery across the street, or if you join that Starbucks network you could get it free without going outdoors. Not as good as having it in your room, but for internet addicts who aren't on an expense account, a good tip.

Anonymous said...

I am NOT a Professor on a 3-3 load. I work at Burger King.

juniorperson said...

"You, sir"

What makes you think I'm a "sir"? Serious question; why assume someone posting on a phil. job board is male?

"are a fool."

Maybe! But not for any of the reasons you cite.

"There really is no other city in the country like New Orleans when it comes to culture, cuisine, and everything else"

We agree on this! And, gosh, is that a *good* thing, in my view!

"that makes the city great."

Oh--sorry, we don't agree here. Have you ever *lived* in NO? or Louisiana?

"I won't even comment on your food references."

I think you're about to...

"Do you know the difference between southern, Cajun, and Creole cuisine?"

There we go!

Yes. Well, actually, I know the party line on this from people who try to defend the view that there are differences. But anyone who actually knows about what the stuff tastes like, is made from, spiced by, and so on knows that there's no difference between these at all now, although historically there was. Sorry!

"You need not answer that..."

Maybe because there's actually no answer?

"for anyone who even suggests that gumbo is a "stew" knows nothing about cooking."

Actually, noone who thinks gumbo isn't a stew knows nothing about gumbo! You know, there's a reason its full name is "gumbo stew"...

Anonymous said...

Preferences in cities, like those in cuisine, certainly vary. But, really, N.O. is FAMED for its restaurants. Some of the best are tiny litle places hidden away on side streets, where the food is ample and delicious and cheap. Ah, N'awlins.

Now, I did not like the hike to the Quarter in the heatwhen the APA was last there, but I saw it as working off the food and booze. On the other hand, if the problem is that people do not go to the talks, locating in the Quarter would make it easier for people to spend a little time out and get back quickly. (And, then, one could easily hop the trolley to the Garden District.)

On the other topic: Assuming the oringial poster really is a prof teaching a 3/3 and doing some committee work, I still wonder how his/our teaching a double load would help the situation of too many new PhDs. What's the connection?

As to having students 'get through' in 2 years, I truly think the quality of their education would suffer. Especially with philosophy, which requires some time to reflect and absorb.

And, although I'm sure that not all our individual thinking and research feeds directly into the classroom, I do think it enhances our teaching - both in class and in conversation with students. This is affirmed for me every day.

Finally, I wonder when/how anyone would get prepped to teach entirely new courses or expand into other subfields under a 6/6 load. I suppose one could drop all publishing and spend summers on expanding curricular readiness. But, there would be real costs to the individual as a scholar - not just a teacher - and possible costs to the discipline - assuming somebody occasionally must produce something worthwhile. Further, once one is a tenured faculty member the 'committee' and other quasi-administrative work tends to flow over into the summer; so, most of us do not really 'have' our summers 'free.'

I need to hear more.


Anonymous said...

Like it or not times are changing.,57884.0.html

Burger King Prof.

Anonymous said...

PDFTT (Please don't feed the troll)

juniorperson said...

Anon. 8.28: Could you please post that link to the Chronicle again? I'm afraid I can't get it to work.

Anonymous said...


I think s/he meant this:

juniorperson said...

Damn, that's depressing. I almost wished it had stayed unworkable!

Anonymous said...

Go to Careers
Read the link on:
"Institutional Responses to Economic Crisis".

My College (Burger King to some) is right on track with all these cuts.
No VAP philosopher next year, two adjuncts as opposed to 5 this year. More teaching for all the TT and tenured and lowered publication expectations for all so we can teach more, etc, etc.