Sunday, 21 April 2013

Day 128: Introducing Watanabe to a US audience...and other things

Day 128 (12 Apr) Friday morning and it is an early start. My presentation isn't until 4.35 this afternoon so that gives me a whole day to ...

The program, at 6.12am
Well, fortunately, I no longer fret or get too nervous about these things. So I've actually enjoyed spending much of the previous evening plotting out the panels I plan to attend. I took about 90 mins to work through Friday's program alone, just to decide which papers I wanted to hear. Actually, that's not quite right. I want to listen to so many, and the decisions are quite difficult. Although I'm up early, breakfast is to be delayed since the only breakfast venues nearby are already full and that would mean missing out on the start of the first panel, a roundtable on gender and elections. 
Palmer House, underfoot

But before that, there is that sense of disbelief about the elegance of this hotel. It is one of the most historic of Chicago hotels with a rich history and an elegance that belies its relative cost. Just lovely appointments all round. I am not worthy...

In the second session of the day, I go to listen to some papers on domestic determinants of foreign policy including one on Japan. I am quickly learning that American scholarship in political science really is much more quantitative than the more Australian qualitative approach with which I am familiar. It is an interesting difference which I will cogitate over during the next few days. The next session is one on ideology and theory and includes one paper by an Australian colleague whose book I have been reading, not just for my undergraduate teaching but also to reference in my own work, the decade of the Australian settlement of the 1890s. It is funny how we have to come halfway around the world to meet colleagues from interstate. 

There is one more session before mine at 4.35. Should I attend or spend some 'quiet time' taking deep breaths before my panel, which I must also chair... Meh, plenty of time for breathing later, I head to session four, one on theory and international relations, including a most interesting paper on understanding Hobbes in IR...yes, because we've probably all misunderstood his intentions. That actually means there are five sessions across the day, each day, not the four I noted earlier. That's a lot. 

My panel, at 6.12pm
I get to my panel room a little earlier to meet the other panellists and the discussant. The technology is reasonably straight forward and so we prepare those things we need to prepare. Two minutes to go and no sign of the third chair, I actually have to record attendance and confirm presentations. I heard earlier in the day that someone was 'fined' for not turning up. Gosh, I've not come across that before. With not much time left, our third panellist turns up and we're ready to go. Needless to say, at 6.12pm I had to surreptitiously record my presence on my own panel...which I did. 
That pickle...

The session was quite good and my fellow panellists are doing some very interesting work on contemporary Japanese and South Korean politics. We've made some good contacts and will stay in touch. It was back to the hotel room after a long day, and out again to eat. The pickle...I simply had to record the pickle...such reward. 

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