Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Eastern APA Survey

The Eastern APA is now conducting a survey about meeting dates. I am confident that if Philosophy wants to have three national meetings a year, one of them will have to be between Christmas and New Year's. So the survey is in my view useless.

The issue that to my knowledge has not been explored is why the late-December meeting has to be held in the East. Since the December meeting is (for natural reasons) the big job-market meeting, shouldn't it be held in a (geographically) central location? I think so. I also think it should be held someplace that's not so prone to December blizzards as, say, New York, Boston, Philadelphia, D.C., and Baltimore.

Back in the old days, a main reason for holding the big December meeting in the East was that only big cities in the East had hotels large enough for the crowd. But this is no longer the case.

In short, the Eastern APA is wasting time with this survey. What is needed is a change in the location of the late-December meeting, not a change in the date of the Eastern meeting.

54 comments:

Anonymous said...

Exactly! Location is what matters!

I disagree that it should be in a central location, however. Instead, I think the location of each APA conference should rotate by year. So, one year, the Winter APA is in the East, one year it's central, one year it's in the Pacific, then back to the East. This means that once out of every three years, it will be a total pain to get to the Winter APA... But that would be a lesser pain and one shared by all.

I'm on the West Coast. This is my third year on the job market. It costs me arms and legs every year to go to the Eastern APA, and almost nothing to go to the Pacific APA... All the same, though, the Eastern is the one I have to ensure I attend, and the Pacific one tends to be optional. This just isn't fair.

From what I understand, the fact that each APA meeting is set in a particular location is a product of the association's history. But, it's really unfair. It's terribly unfair. I feel it puts an unfair burden on me and everyone else in the West, compared to those who live in the East.

Anonymous said...

I'm with you both. Why not this: An Eastern meeting, a Pacific meeting, and a December meeting that moves around the central regions, including places on the periphery of the West Coast and the East Coast?

Anonymous said...

San Diego. Nice weather. Cheaper hotels and transportation. Fun places to visit if/when you skip out.

Anonymous said...

It's in Atlanta next year. Why not keep it there, or add other less-blizzardy Eastern cities? Charlotte, Greenville, etc.

Rebecca Kukla said...

Why do the Florida cities always get left out of the discussion? You can practically buy a whole house in Tampa these days for the cost of a night in a New York hotel. And it is warm and there is an ocean.

Anonymous said...

Ummm...just a question: I voted for the Dec 15 time because (1) it doesn't ruin Christmas (2) my teaching is done then (luckily I have no grading, but even if I did, it's portable, and if there's an exam, while not ideal, it could be proctored by someone else) (3) it would cost me close to $1000 less to go if it were then rather than on the 27th. I am just wondering why that date is a problem? I would think that is the best compromise (assuming that the job market is still going to be entangled with the Eastern).

YFNA

The Brooks Blog said...

One reason I've always enjoyed the APA Eastern dates is because my family is in New England so NY and Boston dates were fine for me. Oh, and I had a job.

I entirely agree with the need to not only revisit the dates, but the location. Central and away from the snow are two important considerations amongst many others. I love NY and being in NY. But I'm from the area. It's time the location changed - even if it means I must travel further .

WF: tropheo

Anonymous said...

Don't most philosophers live in the northeast? Or anyway a lot more than live in the west. So moving the must-attend meeting to the west coast will greatly increase the total inconvenience.

I have to admit that San Diego sounds good. And I just checked, it's much less expensive at the end of December than it is in April.

What would be a sensible central location? Dallas? Houston? New Orleans is fun, but it's not easy to get there so the point of the central location is lost.

Rebecca, Tampa sounds good too. But do they have big convention hotels that would hold us?

Anonymous said...

Did 8:24 seriously ask if Tampa has big convention hotels?

Academics are the only masochists who hold their conventions in the Northeast, especially in the winter. Everyone in the private sector holds professional conferences - when they can get away with it - in resort/tourist towns, like Anaheim, Las Vegas, or... Tampa.

Yes, Tampa has convention hotels.

Anonymous said...

I think Vegas would be an appropriate place to hold the big job interview conference....

Anonymous said...

Did 8:24 seriously ask if Tampa has big convention hotels?

I did, yeah. I don't know much about hotels. I've never been to a convention besides the APA ones.

Academics are the only masochists who hold their conventions in the Northeast, especially in the winter.

Hm, I wonder if that's true. Let's check.

http://www.massconvention.com/events.html

Nope. Patently, blatantly false.

Yes, Tampa has convention hotels.

I'd take your word for it, except that your reliability on this subject has taken a serious blow.
I know: tell us which hotels you have in mind.

Anonymous said...

12:51, you empiricists think you're so fucking smart.
Sure, easy enough to find out about Boston conventions if you Google it, but try working it out a priori like the rest of us. Jerk.

Rebecca Kukla said...

OMG seriously? I promise Tampa has convention hotels. No need to take any poster's word for it. GFE, as Dan Savage says.

For what it's worth, and to paraphrase Sarah Palin, I can see the Tampa Convention Center from my back yard.

It's not like I think Tampa is such a fabulous location by any stretch - it was just an example. There are lots of warm, cheap cities the APA snubs. But seriously, that is some hard core northeasterner parochialism there! Tampa is the 19th biggest metro area in the US, according to wikipedia, with almost 3 million people.

Anonymous said...

Tampa is home to three professional sports teams, and 4 times hosted the Super Bowl. I'm sure they can make room for the APA.

skepticaler and skepticaler said...

I know Tampa has a convention center. That's not really relevant -- unless you think the APA could be held in the convention center, which I think is nuts.

I don't understand why you think this is 'parochialism'. I've lived in six different cities, some of them much bigger than Tampa and some of them much smaller, some of them right on the North Atlantic coast and some about as far as a human being can get from the North Atlantic coast. So there's no parochialism involved.

Does having a really big metro area mean that a city has big convention hotels? I don't know. I see that Riverside-San Bernardino-Ontario is much bigger than Tampa. Is there a big convention hotel in Riverside?

The more people insist on this without giving an example the more skeptical I am. I've googled this, by the way, Rebecca Kukla (unlike the poster who falsely claimed that only academics have conventions in the Northeast, a foolish claim very easily refuted by googling). I won't say that I've scoured pages of hotels, but I looked over the first page and saw a Westin, a Sheraton, and Hyatt. So I looked at those. And none of them is big enough for the Eastern APA.

Anonymous said...

On another topic dear to the readers of this blog, the FBI has classified Juggalos as a gang.

Anonymous said...

How big does a hotel have to be to host the Eastern APA?

Jamie said...

Hi.
Richard Bett is the person who decides where the Eastern APA will be held. If there are good, serious suggestions for changes, you might send them to him.
Please keep in mind that Richard is intelligent and sensible, he's been doing this for a while, and he tries to organize things so that they will be best for the membership -- he doesn't have ulterior motives. But that doesn't mean there aren't good alternative locations, and I'm sure he'd welcome suggestions. (Hm, I hope I don't cause him to be inundated by suggestions.)

Rebecca Kukla said...

Those hotels, as well as the Marriott, routinely host conventions. (Others may too, I dunno, but those are the big four.) We might need to co-opt more than one hotel, as we did in Baltimore and Pittsburgh for instance, but that's fine ... especially since in Tampa it is actually pleasant to walk a couple blocks from one hotel to the other in December.

Again I don't mean to fixate on Tampa. Orlando, for instance, has gobs and gobs of convention hotels. It's like convention hotel central. (I hate Orlando, but at least it is WARM and you can bring your kids to the meeting and throw them in the pool, or do other unspeakable capitalist atrocities with them.)

skepticaler and skepticaler said...

Ohhhhh. So, the answer to my question -- you remember, the one that drew a response of "OMG, seriously?", as if the very question revealed abysmal ignorance -- is no, there are no hotels in Tampa big enough to hold the convention. (Which you could have discovered for yourself, since GFE.)

Now your response is that it would be just fine to split the meeting into two hotels. First of all, the Tampa hotels are smaller than the Baltimore Marriott. (I was not in Pittsburgh so I don't know how that worked.) And second, it is definitely not "fine",as you would know if you had had to race desperately around the Inner Harbor trying to figure out where the fuck your interview was. (I only had three, so of course they were in three different hotels.)

Anonymous said...

No. The dates suck. Change it to the 15th. And sure, fix the location too. But change the dates.

Anonymous said...

I'd agree that having the conference at more than one hotel, while sometimes minimally acceptable, is not good. It should be avoided if at all possible. It makes it really hard to get between sessions, makes session held at the "lesser" hotel less well attended, and is especially hard for people doing interviews. It's probably also more expensive. If a city doesn't have a single hotel that's big enough, it should be very low down on the list. It's hard for philosophers to grasp how big the hotel must be sometimes, but just saying "we have a big hotel!" won't do. (It was a Palinesque statement, but not in a good way.) So, it sounds to me like Tampa should be a last-resort type location.

As for switching which division has the "winter" conference each year, that sounds like a logistical nightmare. It take a huge amount of time to put the program together for these things. There's a reason why papers must be submitted so long in advance. If the date switched all the time, it would mean the submission date for papers would switch all the time, too, and the program committees would have to do work at different times. It doesn't sound plausible to me. Perhaps it's best to have the winter meeting be in the West, but not switching. The suggestion sounds like it comes from someone who has no idea how much work this conference is.

As for having the winter meeting in the central, Chicago and many of the other big "central" cities are just as bad for snow as the North East. Chicago was shut down worse than any of the NE cities this last winter with snow, after all. Really only the west coast cities and Atlanta are safe from snow, and who wants to go to Atlanta all the time. Mostly, I think people are over-reacting from a particular unfortunate experience this last winter.

(This says nothing, of course, about the particular time in the winter when the conference should take place.)

Rebecca Kukla said...

Oh for god's sake. I don't care about having the conference in Tampa. It was just an example. Tampa, like all such cities, is perfectly used to having conferences as big as the APA and bigger. Orlando is even more so. If walking across the street in 78 degree sunny weather is so burdensome for philosophers, pick another warm city. Move the damn meeting somewhere warm. There are plenty of options. That was my only point.

Michael said...

Why oh why is it a given that at least one conference has to be in between Dec. 25 and Jan. 1? Do we have to go over this again and again?

MLA: Jan. 5-8, 2012. Dates do not conflict with Central or Pacific APA. Literary theorists not noticeably financially better off than philosophers.

AHA: ditto (sub historians for literary theorists).

AAR: Nov 19-22, 2011. Otherwise ditto (sub religion scholars for literary theorists and historians).

Just f'rinstance.

Michael said...

Michael Kremer (to be precise).

Anonymous said...

Rebecca, you left your comment complaining about Florida cities being left out of the discussion right after a comment suggesting the continued use of Atlanta as a good idea, and adding Charlotte and Greenville as other good ideas. What I guess you failed to see was the "etc." that followed those two, which would not preclude, but would in fact include, "another warm city." You are the one who couldn't stand that no city from Florida had been mentioned; there's no reason to pretend otherwise.

Anonymous said...

Finally, someone who thinks the date should move. H/T to Kremer. And while, we're on it, could someone else say something about the dates? And stop beating up on Kukla for crying out loud! Direct that anger and bitterness towards the APA -- in a friendly non-aggressive fashion, of course :)

YFNA

Anonymous said...

ps: perhaps this is more appropriate elsewhere, but maybe we could see a thread on the new specializations on this year's job market that I never heard of. For instance, what is the Philosophy of Engineering or Engineering Ethics? Inquiring minds want to know. Is there really anyone with this specialization? Is this coming from the departments or the higher ups? I'm curious because, as I said, I have NEVER heard of it.

YFNA

wv: ingshist -- the word used for an event semanticist.

The Brooks Blog said...

My silly comment of the day: why not hold the big meeting in mid-August?

1. This would put the conference before the teaching term begins maximizing potential attendance. 2. The weather is better in August (even in the northeast). 3. It ruins family holidays *less* (in general) than 27-30 December. 4. It may be a few months earlier than December meeting, but potential job candidates would have the summer (June-July) to draft and submit applications (instead of drafting/submitting during beginning of term).

The more I think about it, the more I like it.

WF: headde

Michael said...

@The Brooks Blog:

Your August proposal would require search committees to put in a lot of hours of committee work during the summer. I doubt that many faculty would be excited about that. I also think pushing the job market that much further back would be problematic for many students.

In contrast, a date in early January does not conflict with term for many US schools (it does for me, actually, but after all the AHA and MLA somehow manage), and leaves everything else pretty much the same.

Michael Kremer

Anonymous said...

I would also have to object to changing to August, but for perhaps a rather stupid reason: assuming the worst happens, and I do not get a tt job this year, I would have to go on the market again in less than a year. I say, looking at things from a short-term perspective :P

I don't mean to nag, but I still haven't heard anything about the Dec 15 date. It sounds perfect to me. Plug! Plug! Plug! Or, if I am the hamster on the Geico commercial: Row! Row! Row! -- don't ask ;)

YFNA

John Mackay said...

Are there really more schools that are in session in very early January than in mid-December? This strikes me as a surprising claim. At any of the institutions I have been either educated or employed, December 15 would be just terrible - right in the think of final papers or exams.

Anonymous said...

Hey Anon 8:55am, this is Anon 9:52pm: I voted for the 15th!

Really, just about any date would be better than the Dec. 27th one. We can quibble about which one--but let's just change it. And I agree with what others have said above: some fields interview and meet in August. Some interview and meet in January. Some in Oct/Nov. If they can do it, we can do it.

Anonymous said...

@John: I was actually torn between the mid-december/jan dates, but I usually need a bit of recoup time just before I go back to teaching and I would rather grade while traveling than do prep, but that's just me. I would prefer either of those dates to the current one.

YFNA

Anonymous said...

in re: skepticaler and skepticaler

Wow - at first I thought he (she?) was being a troll, but I think now he (she?) really is just a humorless, clueless dipshit.

Anonymous said...

Skepticaler and skepticaler seems to be right on the money, actually. Perhaps it's you who's the dipshit, MORON.

Anonymous said...

Did anyone notice that the poll was designed to minimize the chances the date would have to be moved? In particular, the poll did not invite us to *rank* the dates in our order of preference. So if 1/3 of us pick the current dates as our first choice, 1/3 of us pick early January, and 1/3 of us pick mid-December (just as an example), the APA won't be forced to change the dates . . . even if both the second groups--that is, 2/3 of the voters--would prefer early January to the current dates!

skepticaler and skepticaler said...

Whoa!

I initially just asked a question: whether hotels in Tampa could accommodate the Eastern APA. I got two responses intimating that even posing this question demonstrated that I am ignorant beyond belief (including one saying that I am parochial, and further intimating that if I just used Google I would find the answer to my question).

But it turns out that the answer to my question was not what the respondents thought. The answer is that the Tampa hotels could *not* accommodate the Eastern APA. I don't see why it's relevant that Tampa "is perfectly used to having conferences as big as the APA and bigger." Yes, Tampa had the GOP convention, which was much, much, much bigger! Nevertheless, it has no hotel that can accommodate the Eastern APA meetings.

Rebecca Kukla said that it's just fine to have the convention spread over different hotels. I think that's definitely not fine, but I can see how this is a matter of weighing competing concerns. (Having got badly hosed by the multi-location Baltimore meeting, I am particularly sensitive to that particular problem; I think I'm not alone, but I recognize that others won't care as much about it.)

Now I'm a troll and a clueless dipshit! Or maybe it turns out I'm not a troll, and merely a clueless dipshit. Oh, sorry, humorless clueless dipshit.

Still, my skepticism turns out to have been well-founded, and apparently some other philosophers share my concern about spreading out the meeting. So I guess I can live with the "dipshit" label, and shrug off the "seriously?" and "oh for god's sake" dismissals.

I have fairly strong opinions about the dates, but I think I've contributed enough. Yeesh.

Anonymous said...

Did anyone notice that the poll was designed to minimize the chances the date would have to be moved?

Hanlon's razor suggests that the claim implied by your question is unfounded.

The Brooks Blog said...

Michael - I'm not so sure and still think it's worth a try.

Anonymous said...

To follow up on 1:38PM: The poll also just had a yes/no option for whether we wanted the APA involved in job crap anymore, which I think also favors the status quo. You might think they should be involved in some way or other, but differently from the way they are now. Ugh. The survey felt more like appeasement rather than an actual investigative tool.

YFNA

Anonymous said...

I don't understand 1:38's complaint. I thought (I can't go back and look at it now) we were asked to say how likely we were to be able to attend if the meeting were on such-and-such a date at such-and-such a price. That seems to me like the right way to do it.
Some of the commentary here looks like a caricature of complaining philosophers. Here's the Executive Committee, finally looking into changing the dates, and the comments are just more complaining. (Although I do take Spiros' point that location is at least as much of a problem as timing -- I guess that view has not been so loudly espoused in the last few years.)

Anonymous said...

Hi 7:09:
I was particularly surprised by the absence of a question asking us to rank options because not too long ago a philosopher who had been on the Eastern committee that decides these things (what is that? The executive committee?) reported, on a blog, that a while ago they polled on this and found that while (a) a majority prefers that the dates be changed, nevertheless, (b) there is no alternative time that a majority prefers to the current time.
This blog comment seems to reveal that at least recently the APA Eastern was aware that (b) was the important issue. If a previous poll actually did investigate (b), why didn't this poll.

Also, I strongly disagree that asking whether people are able to go is helpful. I interpreted that question to mean, "honestly, would you go if the meeting were at this time?" and I answered honestly. It's very important to me to support my students on the market and to see people at the Eastern, so I'd go even if it's incredibly inconvenient.
The complaints have not been that too few people are going, but that the Eastern is so important that people (job candidates in particular, but also interviewers and placement officers) are effectively *forced* to go at a deeply inconvenient time.

-- 1:38

David said...

Thom,

As I see it, the main problem with holding "the big meeting" in mid-August is that this would require departments to get hiring approvals more than a year in advance: Departments would have to get approval sometime around May and interview in August for a job that starts the next September—that is, thirteen months later. I know that my university doesn't (can't?) make decisions that far in advance. We just got permission to hire for next fall last week!

Even if American universities were as efficient in hiring as I'm told British universities are, I don't think you could do first-round interviews in mid-August and have new faculty in place the following month—or the following week for some universities.

This constraint is, I assume, why the range of dates in the APA poll was restricted to a relatively small part of the calendar. As long as the "big meeting" is tied to the job market, it can't go very far.

Jamie Dreier said...

Hi,

I think the actual survey is a reasonable way to get some important information. I suppose it’s true that a lot of people will just go pretty much no matter when and where it’s held, but I bet the results of the survey will not be indiscriminate “I would definitely go” for every slot. Suppose they instead asked for a ranking of the various slots, and found that although a plurality of people prefer the current dates to, say, the early Jan. dates, more ballots had the Jan. ones ranked top-two than the current dates. What should be done, in that case? Not obvious.

1:38, there is no way to avoid the possibility that X is chosen even though a majority prefer Y to X. (I should get my social choice theory class to work on this.)

It’s the Eastern Executive Committee that’s running the survey. If the dates are going to change, that’s the body that will change them. As I said earlier, the person who chooses the cities and hotels is Richard Bett, who is Secretary-Treasurer. But of course he will take policy from the Executive Committee. The idea of rotating the job market meeting through the different divisions would obviously have to be discussed and voted on by all three divisions (wouldn’t you just love to be in charge of organizing that?).

I don’t know who’s on the Executive Committee right now (because the New and Improved APA Website doesn’t have the information), but last year it was Robert Bernasconi, Michael Della Rocca, Howard McGary, Tommie Shelby, Ted Sider
, and Walter Sinnott-Armstrong; plus the Pres., VP, and Past-Pres and the Sec-Treasurer and Nominating chair ex officio. And I'd like to say say (trying to be irenic not inflammatory) that the idea that this group is trying to maintain the status quo or has some other ulterior motive is not sensible. They aren’t stupid or venal. Which is not to say they aren’t making some mistakes here, of course.

Disclosure: I’ve never been on the Executive Committee, but I was on the Program Committee a few years ago.

Anonymous said...

OK. Well, I didn't mean to imply the committee members themselves are committed to the status quo. I meant to complain only that the question itself is too coarse grained and because probably many people think that the APA should somehow be involved in job market stuff that the answer is biased in favor of yes. It's badly designed.

YFNA

Anonymous said...

Jamie Dreier wrote:
1:38, there is no way to avoid the possibility that X is chosen even though a majority prefer Y to X. (I should get my social choice theory class to work on this.)

That's true, but my point was that there might be one listed alternative X to Dec 27-30 such that a majority prefers X to Dec 27-30, and such that there is no other listed alternative Y that a majority prefers to X. Having everyone rank the listed alternatives would reveal this, but the current poll might fail to reveal it.

Also, I'm sorry for attributing bad intentions. My complaint is with the content of the poll.

-- 1:38

Anonymous said...

This is the sort of thing I hate about philosophers. Skepticaler who obviously feels very strongly about this issue comes in here and voices a different opionion and you guys all gang up on him with your cute and hostile little insults and comments. That's terrible. To make up for it I think you should all pitch in and buy skepticaler a couple tix to the next Bucs home gome. But he'll need a place to stay. Now, does anybody know if they have hotels in Tampa? Anyone? Hotels?

Anonymous said...

I have an excellent a priori argument that there are no hotels of any worth in Tampa.

skepticaler (no lytotes! please!) said...

No more!
I didn't know the Piranha brothers commented at PhilAnon. I'd pull my own head off rather than be subject to this kind of abuse!

Anonymous said...

You don't come here often, do you?

Anonymous said...

"Here" being "the internet."

Eric said...

Don't like going to a Northern city in December/January for the APA? Me neither.

So: instead of Pacific/Central/Eastern divisions, we should have Northern/Central/Southern divisions. Then, schedule the December/January meeting in the Southern Division (San Diego, New Orleans, Tampa).

Problem solved.

Anonymous said...

Re: Proceedings no longer distributed to APA Members at Registration

I noticed an odd email in my inbox today (with the subject line given above). What a strange and disorienting thing it must be to show up at a conference with such a variety of planned activities, and not be given a guide as to what is happening where, and when. Add this to the fact that online registration isn't possible, and one would almost think the APA is telling us all to FOAD.

I'm not going, but I'm willing to donate my copy of the recent Proceedings to a good cause. What could such a good cause be? For example, let's suppose that a justifiably 'motivated' philosopher wanted to collect a few dozen copies of the Proceedings, and then show up at the APA with said materials in a manner that highlights the performance of the APA. If such a philosopher existed, I'd certainly donate my copy of the Proceedings to their cause.