Sunlit Water

August 9, 2009

Antisocial “Scientists”

Filed under: Academia,Personal — by teofilo @ 9:49 pm

While I’m glad overall that I went to this thing, it definitely reminded me that I’m not an archaeologist, and that there’s a reason for that.  The people I talked to there were all very nice, and there were a handful of people that I already knew, but for the most part it was a lot of strangers who didn’t seem very friendly or welcoming.  I think much of the reason for that is that archaeology attracts a lot of shy, introverted people who don’t get along well with other people if they don’t know them well.  It’s a relatively solitary profession in some (but by no means all) ways.  Archaeologists tend, therefore, to be rather cliquey, and as an outsider I didn’t feel like anyone made much effort to include me.  Which is fine, of course, since I don’t particularly care to become part of the world of archaeologists, but it made the conference a little lonely.

It was also kind of frustrating that the conference didn’t seem very well organized.  This is the downside of it being such an informal, impromptu thing, which is pleasant in many ways.  There’s no permanent organization that runs the thing.  Every year a different organization in a different place agrees to host and run the conference.  This year it was the Cortez Cultural Center; next year it will be Fort Lewis College in Durango.  While this reduces the amount of annoying bureaucracy, it increases the amount of annoying amateurishness.  For example, when I showed up to register the first evening I wasn’t on the list of people who had pre-paid, but when they went to the book of pre-registration forms there I was.  So it was fine in the end, but annoying.

On the plus side, an archaeology conference is probably the only place where you can tell people that you’re going to grad school for city planning and have then respond with “wow, that’s a really lucrative field.”  Archaeology is not a lucrative field.


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