I’m in New Haven for the Freedom of Expression Scholars Conference, which uses the wonderful workshop format we adopted for We Robot. The author of the paper being workshopped doesn’t present – the discussant starts by summarizing the paper, which all the attendees are presumed to have read. The author gives a brief response, and it is off to the races.
I’m in the usually unenviable first-thing-Sunday morning slot, the one where you compete with exhaustion (and hangovers) but I actually think that at FESC first-on-Sunday is better than last-on-Saturday, as there is a very very long program.
I am not a core first amendment scholar, not at all, although my work on anonymity obviously intersects, which is why I’m here. It’s very interesting to see the things that concern people who focus on the First Amendment these days; it’s a very different set of concerns from what there was say ten years ago. I learned a lot from reading the papers (or, rather, the fraction of the papers for the sessions I plan to go to – there are three parallel ones in most time slots). Plus I get to meet a lot of new people, more than I do at Internetty events, maybe even more than robotty events now that I’ve been to a bunch of them.
It’s always slightly odd to be back in New Haven, where I spent first four and then later three years. The city is much more cheerful (it helps that its Spring, while memory has a strong overlay of February). There’s been a great deal of turnover in the shops, with many of the small places I liked gone, and a number of chain rather chichi clothing and such shops replacing them. A mixed blessing at best.
And, coming from Miami, almost everyone on the street looks a bit pale.