Baker Academic

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Five Tips to Enhance Your AAR/SBL Experience - Le Donne

1) I like to scope out sessions pretty far in advance and map them out on a spreadsheet. I know that this makes me seem like the ultra-organized type. I'm not. I learned this by watching the ever-OCD Andy Rowell and now I pretend to be him (I also vacuum my living room twice a day now). My guess is that Andy now has an app for this: Android, iOS. If you use one of these fancy devices, you might want to be ready for program changes (not represented in the physical program book). You might also want to be aware of the additional sessions that are otherwise hard to find. I'm never married to my schedule; I probably attend about half of the sessions that interest me initially. Marriage is bourgeois anyway.

2) This is admittedly rude, so don't take my advice here: I always have a back-up session in mind for every hour so I can sneak out if a session gets especially mumbly. But if you see me leaving during your paper, it's probably because I have a family emergency.

3) It used to be that the AAR/SBL annual meeting book room was a sweet temptress. Most book tables would discount their books significantly and folks would drop $500 on a couple bags of "must have" books. Moreover, said discounts would be the best you'd see all year. With the advent of all of those internets, the book room is now just business time. There are still a few good "conference rate" deals to be had, but it ain't the same. Judicious buyers do their research. And (just between you and me): http://www.powellschicago.com/ - the theology/biblical studies books are in the location closest to the university: 1501 East 57th Street.

4) If you're hoping to interview at the employment center, you ought to register, and then register specifically for the employment center ahead of time. It also might be worth it to find a hotel room in or close to the employment center: McCormick Place Convention Center, 2301 South Lake Shore Drive. Many hiring committees have forsaken this meat-market for skype interviews, but I think we have a good five years left of the tradition.

5) The standard uniform for AAR/SBL is the pantsuit or the sport jacket with button down shirt. If you wear a three-piece suit with tie, Tom Thatcher will take you aside and suggest that you're dressed too formally. If you wear a ski-jacket and t-shirt, Chris Keith will take you aside... If you wear a backpack, Scot McKnight will take you aside... If you have any questions about what to wear, do a google image search for "Joel Lohr" (disregard the photos of men with state trooper mustaches). The notable exceptions to the standard monkey suit are for Orthodox Priests, Buddhist Monks, and Canadians. Also, section 40 / paragraph 613 of the SBL Dress Code exempts all those with ponytails from wearing khakis and/or tweed.

...see my next five tips here.

...Andy Rowell's are here.

12 comments:

  1. Good to know that as a Canadian I am exempt from this dress code. Except when trying to get a job - then the jeans and sandals get left at home.

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  2. But, by all means, wear the tuxedo.

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  3. At my first SBL as a second-year graduate student, I wore a t-shirt and backwards hat. I later found out that Tom Thatcher was mocking me behind my back.

    Mark Goodacre gave a really good tip several years ago, too--eat a big breakfast and skip lunch. That lets you avoid $20 cheeseburgers for at least one meal.

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  4. I believe that Australians can also claim exemption from clothing conventions.

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    1. The "Dress Code Exemption for Australians" advocacy groups are making progress. Erstwhile, they have had to exploit the rule about leather vests and no shirt beneath:

      69.420 reads: an AAR/SBL member is except from a shirt/blouse if they wear a leather vest with no sleeves.
      69:420.1 reads: pursuant to the above, fo-leather vests are acceptable.

      -anthony

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  5. There is a lot of good advice embedded in this, as well as humor that had me laughing out loud even on subsequent re-readings. Brilliant!

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  6. I googled Joel Lohr and now I am confused: do I wear a speedo, a bikini, a "Where's Waldo" shirt, a suit and tie, a basketball jersey?!

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    Replies
    1. when in doubt: all of the above.
      -anthony

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  7. If you are headed to Powell's bookstore in Chicago, you can avoid the $20 cheeseburger at http://www.salonica57.com/ which is basically across the street. They currently have an 8.95 special for two eggs, two bacon, two sausage, two pancakes, juice and coffee. Powell's is about a 10 minute train ride south from McCormick Place. Also, great coffee across the street from Powell's at http://www.cafe57.biz/. Helpful tips or shameless plugs for the small businesses on my street? You decide!

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    1. And Jody will be happy to babysit for you while you dine and peruse the offerings of powell's. Mr. Charles Otte III is always looking for company.

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  8. I'm glad I taught you to be a little OCD and map out your sessions ahead of time. (I have done the same: http://www.andyrowell.net/andy_rowell/2012/11/aar-and-sbl-recommendations.html ) Good advice. I look forward to seeing you there.

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    Replies
    1. Before Andy taught me his ways I was eating my meat raw and questing for fire.

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