Shoptalk: Overheard at ASA

Each August, sociologists from across North America gather for their annual meeting. This year they congregated in and around the Palais des congrès ...

Each August, sociologists from across North America gather for their annual meeting. This year they congregated in and around the Palais des congrès de Montréal. Between discussing problems of inequality and inclusion, trying to deduce who cosplays Émile Durkheim on Twitter during ASA every year, and making small talk to avoid revealing they have no idea which section’s reception they have stumbled into, here is some of what they had to say.


1. “I’ll judge fascists any time.”

 

2. “Hello, my name is … Actually, let’s just shut this off. I’m from New York; I don’t need a mic.”

 

3. “This is the kind of talk you can give only after you have tenure.”

 

4. Person 1: “What was the employment fair like?”

Person 2: “It was a gallery of the damned.”

 

5. Senior scholar [returning the smiles and waves of passersby in the hallway between panels]: “It’s a profoundly alienating experience. Who are all these people?”

 

6. “We go through this every time we hire an assistant professor. We think we’re hiring the next Max Weber. Then one day they show up in the office next to yours and, surprise! They’re no Max Weber.”

 

7. Person 1: “Where’s the dinner tonight?”

Person 2: “Oh it’s a super fancy place. Looks really expensive.”

Person 1: “What? Really?”

Person 2: “Yeah, the guy who’s organizing it—he’s a champagne socialist.”

 

8. “First of all, I want to admit I know nothing about zombies. But …”

 

9. “Bourdieu is a very shifty writer.”

 

10. “I had a great meeting, went back to my hotel, and fixed a nice cup of tea. I was feeling great! And then I turned on the internet.”

 

11. “Clearly, economists should read more sociology.”

 

12. Presenter [after another speaker’s talk on death and dying]: “I’m going to talk about something a little more optimistic: money.”

 

13. “There’s this saying, ‘One man’s trash is another man’s treasure.’ No, it’s still another man’s trash.”

 

14. “My methodology is body odor.”

 

15. “I said, ‘gadzooks!’ That’s a great title for a paper or even a book!”

 

With special help from Shelly Ronen and Anthony Ureña. icon