General Radical Marches on Atlanta; or, Fun @ The OAH Annual Meeting

April 10, 2014, 5:54 pm

2014-Program_150pxAir travel and conferencing can have the effect of making me feel as though I am not really anywhere at all. I certainly believe that I have been in nearly every major hotel, in nearly every major city, for at least one conference. Usually more than once. The last time I was in this one, the Atlanta Hilton, it was January, 1996, and the worst snowstorm ever to descend on the South (until this winter) created all kinds of havoc from Georgia up to Albany, New York. Some of us who remember that AHA Annual meeting managed to escape Atlanta, only to get stuck half-way home in dreary motels in Charlotte. Some Zenith friends of mine made it as far as Hartford, and then got stuck in the airport motel there; others rented cars and tried to drive home. Those who stuck it out at the Atlanta Hilton were the smart ones, since they did not get stuck in someplace even less desirable (like the Amtrak going between Albany and Springfield) except that the hotel started to run out of food.

It is absolutely not true that they started to eat the graduate students. Although apparently someone did casually suggest that graduate students, for all intents and purposes, taste like chicken.

This afternoon, as we were checking in for the Annual Meeting of the Organization of American Historians (#oah2014), several of us were recalling these long, dark days of waiting to be rebooked, and the savagery that the increasingly limited menu at the Hilton provoked in otherwise reasonable folk. Someone cried out: “As God is my witness, I’ll never be hungry again!” As if with one mind we abandoned the thought of rushing off for a panel, deposited our backs in our rooms and went out for beer and fish tacos.

OK: so tomorrow is another day. Want to trash Nicholas Kristof in person? Tomorrow, in Salon B, is  ”Meeting the Press: Dithering, Deliberating, and Deadlines,” organized by Jim Downs of Connecticut College. Your Favorite Radical is on the panel, along with Jim, Pulitzer-Prize winning journalist Isabel Wilkerson, and author of The Warmth of Other Suns: The Epic Story of America’s Great Migration (2011), and Heather Thompson of Temple University, who is writing about Attica.

We are all being led out by Catherine Clinton, of Queens University, Belfast. How much fun are we going to have under Catherine’s direction? I once ran into Princeton’s Nell Irvin Painter (a past president of the OAH) at a conference and she was wearing a tiara. I was like, “Nell, where didja get the tiara?” and she said: “Catherine Clinton gave it to me.” That’s how much fun we are going to have.

Staying until Sunday? At 10:45, we have “Is Blogging Scholarship?” in room 303, with Jeffrey Pasley of the University of Missouri and The Common Place; John Fea of Messiah College, Twiterstorian fame and The Way of Improvement Leads Home; Ann Little of CSU and Historiann; Michael O’Malley of GMU and The Aporetic; and Ben Alpers of the University of Oklahoma and USIH Blog. My feeling is that the answer to the question, if we are just taking this group, is “Yes!” or if it isn’t yes, then surely the blogging is leading to some pretty impressive scholarship. Rumor is it I am having dinner with GayProf on Friday night. He has been on hiatus since 2013, and it looks like someone has borrowed the moniker for tumblr site. I get the “gay” — but where among these luscious lads is the prof?

Bloggers & Twitterstorians: leave your panels in the comments section. Today was a bust for panel going because I got up so late, but tomorrow I’ll be rarin’ to go.

Update: Looking for a good dinner place tonight? Last night Christopher M. Nichols, and old friend from Zenith now at Oregon State, took in Fox Brothers BBQ out in Decatur. We took a cab, but there is a MARTA stop quite nearby, and all forecasts say that the rest of the weekend should be lovely.

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