Sunday, June 01, 2008

conferences for junior scholars

Over at PrawfsBlawg, Andy Hessick is asking about conferences that are aimed at junior faculty. Help him out.

I'd suggest the George Washington University Institute for Constitutional Studies annual research seminar (topics change by year) and the Seton Hall Employment and Labor Law Scholar's Forum , which is "is designed to provide junior scholars with commentary and critique by their more senior colleagues in the legal academy and, more broadly, to foster development and understanding of new scholarly currents across employment and labor law." Also, I am a big fan of going to closed workshopping conferences within your topic specialty--it's a much smaller bunch of people, more supportive, and a great way to ease into the big scary meet markets of AALS and LSA. Finally, though I didn't go this year, I like the smaller Collaborative Research Networks (CRNs) within the LSA, and the various smaller groups and panels at AALS. Not that I have ever gone to the big ones (yet).

Would that there were more conferences like this. I haven't participated in many, but I like them more for the faculty development value than any hallway schmoozing (which is supposedly the greatest value of going to LSA and AALS), not that there isn't good networking to be done. But at smaller conferences targeted at future/junior faculty, it's less schmoozy and more mentoring--which I much like. I quite enjoy talking over a burger or casual welcome reception than stalking people through hallways and hunting for the most illustrious name tag.

It seems that there are such smaller groups for any big annual meeting in the other discipline, as well as regional conferences. Though I'm not really a political scientist, I am sort of eying the regional political science ones--really, law faculty should branch out if they can!

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