Friday, April 1, 2011

What I don't like about the SAA

It is interesting as a geoscientist to see how different disciplines run heir meetings.

Here is what I don't like abut the Society for American Archaeology meeting:

1. Introductions to speakers are absent to inadequate.

2. Almost all presenters literally read their papers, sometimes making no eye contact with the people who in theory are their audience

3. There are no questions of speakers after their presentations. (Summarizing 1-3, while some things are enjoyable to do alone, I thought conference presentations were supposed to involve exchanges of ideas.)

4.  Too many sessions are incestuous, with all papers coming from one academic or CRM group.  And this is possible because sessions are arranged by the organizers, who invites speakers of their choosing.  At geoscience meetings, all sessions are publicly announced, and anyone can submit a paper.  The incestuous sessions often contain work that is, shall we say, a bit on the light side.

5. Poor scheduling by the SAA.  Business meetings of groups with very similar interests are scheduled at the same time, and the SAS business meeting was scheduled at the same time as two different session that SAS sponsored.

6.  No wireless in the convention center.

7. I repeat, no wireless in the convention center. Or terminals.

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