I got back from San Francisco late last night and am heading out to New York early tomorrow morning. The ASA conference was encouraging and invigorating, and my presentation went well. Before I presented, this man rushed up to me, showed me his programme on which my presentation was circled, asking if that was me. When I said yes, he thrust his business card and call for papers into my hand (he seems to be the editor of some interdisciplinary journal), asked me to email him my paper, and rushed off. I am flattered that he found my title interesting, but I'm not sure what to do about it since it is a presentation I put together two weeks ago and certainly not a publishable paper. Two administrators of the pre-doctoral grant I got this summer sat on the front row, alongside one of my old Hausa professors from SCALI, and all three of them beamed at me the whole time as if I were their favourite niece, which made it much easier to give a confident presentation! Afterwards, my old professor from Niger, who has written some brilliant feminist analysis of Hausa women's oral literature that I often quote in my own papers, stood up and was so complimentary that my friend from the department asked if she were a plant. (I suppose she kind of was since she did know me...) Afterwards at the membership meeting of the organization, the grant administrators bragged on me and sought my opinion on future panels. It was very encouraging and made me feel like I'm on the right track--also that I'm finding a supportive academic community around the nation (and the world) that will be very helpful to me when my major professor retires at the end of next semester. So, although I would have liked to have spent a bit more time wandering around San Francisco in the lovely 60 degree weather, I would say that the overall pupose of going to a conference was fulfilled and that I am satisfied and happy about my decision to go.
I'm going to end this post here as I need to repack and try to get a little done before I head off tomorrow, but before I go, I must advertise the amazing Mosser Hotel in San Francisco, which was only three blocks from the conference hotel located on Union Square. Far from being the crack house of my doom-predicting friends, it was a completely charming little hotel that I would recommend to anyone, and you really can't beat the price (I paid $48 a night--I think that was a special, but even if you paid twice that amount it's good for SF). If you don't mind going down the hall for the bathroom (and I never ran into anyone in the halls or had trouble getting into the shower or toilet), then it is probably the best deal you're going to find in San Francisco. My room was about the size of a large walk-in closet, but I didn't need it to be bigger. It had a sink, a tv, a closet with an ironing board and iron. It was a little less elegant than it looked in the web photos (The flowers in the room are silk, not real... The 20s style seats in the lobby are pleather), but very reasonable for the price. The front desk kept a bowl full of apples for guests, which served a nice breakfast for a penny-pinching student. And while the conference hotel charged $1.50 per laser-printed page, when I asked the Mosser hotel staff at the front desk if they could print a 9 page paper for me, they cheerfully did so without charging me a cent. The staff were friendly and helpful. The sheets were smooth, the building clean. Amazing deal. I highly recommend it for anyone travelling to San Francisco!