2008-05-19

Playing Dress-Up (Conferences)

Jeanna writes,

I will be in the Windy City this weekend… I also realize it’s IML weekend so I don't need to cut too much into your life :)

Nice of her to remind us. And it provides a perfect opportunity to comment upon the conferences of all kinds. First, last year International Mr. Leather was at the Palmer House Hilton, though this year it’s at the Hyatt. The Midwest Political Science Association annual meeting is typically at the Palmer House, so some parallels are bound to spring to mind.

First, for both political scientists and leatherpersons, conferences are an occasion to play dress-up. While at our professional gatherings, we note an unfortunate number of ill-fitting suits and an egregious amount of synthetic fabric, I give the edge here to political scientists. Also, we typically do not change clothes or otherwise disrobe between panels.

tattoo, back hair, thongchaps, jeans, outside the hotel

Both political scientists and leatherpersons attend organized panels where one or more papers are discussed and somehow clunky binders are involved. I do not know the details of these sessions, but like political scientists, leatherpersons seem to listen absently but feign attention while probably thinking about their own upcoming presentations.


a pup. However, one feature that our professional meeting does not share with that of the leatherpersons is the role of “pups” or people who pretend to be dogs. This commitment to subservience and occasional maltreatment may just be a stylized form of graduate training. However, it is not clear that pups aspire to be masters, nor how the tenure/promotion from assistant master to associate master might work.

Finally, we should all read and relish the speech/poem from 2005’s winner, with its insistent crescendo of clever rhyming couplets.

1 comment:

Marcia said...

Good post.