Shoptalk: Overheard at ASA 2019

This year’s American Studies Association annual meeting took place November 7–10 in Honolulu, Hawai’i. ASA President, Scott Kurashige, transformed this year’s ...

This year’s American Studies Association annual meeting took place November 7–10 in Honolulu, Hawai’i. ASA President, Scott Kurashige, transformed this year’s always boundary-pushing conference into a powerful, praxis-oriented radical gathering in which we were proud to participate. That said, when not attending protests, panels, and parties, ASA members still found time to critique, comment, and complain.


1. “I think this space has become too safe for you.”

2. “They’re holding office hours in the water.

3. “OK, sure. You go to the beach, and I’ll go to the protest.”

4. “Let’s have a Waikiki.”

5. “You have some gender issues with your cat.”

6. Person 1: “ I need some shade.”

Person 2: “Just throw some.”

7. Person 1: “Can you get me a drink with an umbrella?”

Person 2: “No.”

Person 1: “I’m in Hawai’i!”

Person 2: “That’s not an excuse.”

8. “His email ideology is quite Marxist.” 

9. Person 1: “Those medievalists are really wild.”

Person 2: “That’s because they like axes.”

10. Person 1: “We’re in Diamond Head.”

Person 2: “Blood Diamond Head?”
Person 1: “Wrong archipelago.”

11. Person 1: “For that panel, I wanted more LGB and def more T, didn’t you?”

Person 2: “Oh sure, I’ll have a GnT, I’ll Venmo you.”

12. “I missed the sunset because I was talking shit about my department.”

13. “It will be a reparative swim.”

14. Person 1: “She’s been harshing my mellow the whole trip.”

Person 2: “‘Harshing your mellow?’ Where are you from?”

Person 1: “The ’90s.”

15. Person 1: “Apparently everyone has been processing at this conference.”

Person 2: “That’s because Mercury is in retrograde.”

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Featured image: Henri Adolphe Laissement, Cardinals in the Antechamber of the Vatican (1895). Wikimedia Commons