I am currently at the MLA Convention in Boston. MLA is always a fun time; it’s a total geek-fest. While the various sessions are interesting, people watching is my favorite convention activity (aside from browsing at the book fair, of course). I love that eighty percent of the attendees–including myself–are dressed in black, I love the multitude of nerdy glasses, I love the vibe of slight social awkwardness that people exude, I love the covert badge-checking that goes on, I love the diverse range of ages represented, I love playing a guessing game with myself about why each person is at the conference–presenter? interviewee? observer?
One trend I’ve noticed this year which was not nearly as pronounced when I attended two years ago (or, indeed, even when I went to Rocky Mountain MLA three months ago) is that many people read their papers directly from their laptops rather than from a paper copy. This possibility would never occur to me. I am just that old school.
I’ll write more in the next day or so once I get a chance to visit the book fair, which does not open until tomorrow.