Shoptalk: Overheard at ASA 2023 or MLA 2024?

This edition of Shoptalk asks: Can you guess which of the following was overheard at ASA 2023 and which was overheard at MLA 2024?

In November, participants of the 2023 Annual Meeting of the American Studies Association gathered in Montreal, Canada, to debate, celebrate, and libate; in January, many of those same conferencegoers convened in Philadelphia to kick off 2024 with literary buzz, shade, and commentary at the Modern Language Association Annual Convention. Given the Venn diagram of ASA and MLA members, this edition of Shoptalk asks: Can you guess which of the following was overheard at ASA 2023 and which was overheard at MLA 2024?


 

  1. “It’s hard being a professional lesbian.”

 

  1. “This conference is not good for my digestive system.”

  1. Person 1: “I am nothing if not a service queer.”

Person 2: “You’ve topped a lot of committees.”

 

  1. Person 1: “I want to get behind his work, but he’s so haughty.”

Person 2: “I wouldn’t say he’s a hotty.”

 

  1. “What topiaries of affect!”

  1. “That feels historical.”

 

  1. “I come alive at conferences.”

 

  1. “I feel so abject.”

 

  1. “The liminality of the bar/lobby is my favorite of interstitial spaces.”

 

  1. “[Conference name] is an unerotic space.”

 

  1. “Did you just mansplain lesbianism to me?”

 

  1. “I’m not made for having a body. Or probably even a subjectivity.”

 

  1. Person 1: “I can’t miss [senior scholar] because I want to take a nap.”

Person 2: “Yes you can.”

 

  1. “Look at those gay New Yorkers speed walking to the book party.”

 

  1. “Isn’t that the Wendy’s that Kim and Kanye dined at in 2013?”

  1. “We actually named our dog after a different cocker spaniel celebrity.”

 

  1. Person 1: “I was propositioned in the elevator at 6:30am.”

Person 2: “…and?”

 

  1. “Do I have to write about women to go to NWSA?”

  1. “I’ve concluded the phrase ‘skip panels’ implies we should be going to panels.”

 

  1. Person 1: “The pet insurance would have been great, but she has a preexisting condition.”

Person 2: “Thanks, Obama.”

 

  1. Person 1: “I went to [redacted]’s panel.”

Person 2: “I didn’t know [they] were alive!”

  1. Person 1: “The issue is that there’s a diversity of precipitation.”

Person: “The weather does not have a DEI committee.”

 

 

  1. Person 1: “How was the reception?”

Person 2: “There was receiving.”

 


Answers: 1. ASA; 2. MLA; 3. MLA; 4. ASA; 5. ASA; 6. MLA; 7. MLA; 8. ASA; 9. ASA; 10. MLA; 11. ASA; 12. ASA; 13. MLA; 14. ASA; 15. MLA; 16. ASA; 17. ASA; 18. ASA; 19. MLA; 20. ASA; 21. ASA; 22. MLA; 23. ASA icon

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