Friday, January 05, 2007

Post MLA

While everyone else has been writing terrific post-MLA posts, after getting back late on New Year's Eve I've been trying to get the writing done that (surprise, surprise) did not write itself while I was away* and also to get ready for the semester, which starts on Monday.

The reflections on blogging, the scholarly worth of blogging, even name tags--all that's been covered well on other blogs, so here is something resolutely trivial: cards.

One of the few perqs academics in full-time jobs get (besides free books and the ability to spend vacation time and money going to conferences) is a set of professional cards with name, department, etc. , and yet in years of going to conferences, I've noticed an odd reluctance to use them, except by publishers in the book exhibit. (An exception: Dr. Crazy mentioned taking a card so that she could pass along someone's name to a colleague.) I have even heard people apologizing for having cards ("My department got these for me--don't know why I carry them"). Writing something down on a scrap of paper that you've scrounged from your conference notes seems much more the norm.

Is it that people don't carry cards? Is it that they believe it's presumptuous or pompous to give someone a card? Does it make academics feel too much like salespeople? Or are the odd apologies I've seen atypical?

Do we even have an established etiquette for giving out our cards?

See, I told you it was trivial.

* I lied. I also took a day off and did nothing except watch old movies.


~profgrrrrl~ said...

Interesting. In my field, we normally carry our cards to conferences and give them to people. And people will ask for your card, too.

I also tend to enclose a card when I send a rec letter.

undine said...

It sounds as though complexification studies is more sensible about cards than the humanities, or maybe I've just run across more than my share of shy card-givers.

That's a good idea about sending the card when you send a rec letter.

Anonymous said...

All the places I've worked had cards, but you had to pay for them. This is why I have never had them, I don't want to pay for them. At one point I had my own made, but I was d***ed if I was going to use the university logo on something I had to pay for myself!

I think they are excellent and convenient. People always ask me for them. When I get a little more flush, I may finally give up and buy the university cards.

Mel said...

My U pays for them, and I carry them with me to conferences -- they come in handy when you're talking with someone you've only just met and you say let's email about this, etc. Sometimes the other person has run out or whatever, but at least then you know they have all your info.

undine said...

Professor Z, I'm surprised that your U makes you pay for them. I agree with you and with Mel: they're very convenient, especially for contact information or, when taking someone's card, for writing down what you promised you'd do (contact? send your paper?) when you talked with the person.

Anonymous said...

In Japan every encounter between academics involves an exchange of cards. The more senior person offers you one, you accept it with two hands, look it over and if you can think of one make a comment, then give him/her yours. I'm actually getting to use the one my U made for me and that I never use in the States!

undine said...

I like that system, constructivist, although I'd probably be stuck for something to say.