January 5, 2011
By S. Matthew Liao
I recently conducted a poll here regarding whether the dates of the Eastern Division of the American Philosophical Association should be changed. The poll is by no means scientific, but it is interesting to learn that at the time I closed the poll at 400 votes, 368 out of 400 people, i.e., over 90%, feel that the dates should be changed. (Note to the individual who tried to skew the poll results after 400 votes: I have your IP address).
Further polls will be useful. But assuming that what this poll has revealed, i.e., a significant majority want the dates of the Eastern APA changed, has some validity, the next question is to when it should be changed. One possibility might be the following. Until recently, the Modern Language Association also held its conventions at the same time we currently do. But recently, they have changed it to early January. Here are the dates and locations of their next three conventions.
6-9 January, 2011 Los Angeles
5-8 January, 2012 Seattle
3-6 Januray, 2013 Boston
Additional details of the MLA conventions can be found here. Interestingly, they have chosen to hold some of them on the west coast. I’m not sure if this would be feasible or desirable for us, given that we have the other two Division meetings. In any case, I wonder if the MLA’s new dates could serve as a starting point for the conversation about to when the Eastern APA dates should be changed.
From speaking with a number of people at the Eastern APA in Boston, I have learned that one possible problem with holding meetings in early January is that some schools that are on the Quarter System might be inconvenienced by it. I assume that the MLA would have had to address this issue as well, but it’d be very interesting to get the inputs of individuals at those schools.
It’d also be very interesting to hear your thoughts about other potential dates, and their pros and cons.