Tag Archives: academic conferences

Cognition sociale

Une conférence académique gratuite pour laquelle il n’est pas nécessaire de s’inscrire. Ça me plaît. Surtout l’aspect social

Pour socialiser…La journée précédent Cognitio (le 14 juin), l’Institut des sciences cognitives organise une “journée scientifique”, de 14h à 17h (horaire PDF), en face du local DS-1545. Il y aura des présentations sur affiche ainsi qu’un vin d’honneur. Les participants sont invités à venir prendre un verre et rencontrer les organisateurs de Cognitio.

Cognitio 2007


What to Rethink?

Prepared a proposal for an upcoming Spirit of Inquiry conference at Concordia University.

In a recent video ethnography of the “Web 2.0” concept, anthropologist Michael Wesch invited the online audience to rethink a wide array of concepts, from copyright and authorship to identity and commerce. My session, if accepted, should follow these ideas along with specific emphasis on academic freedom, open access,  and flexible strategies for learning and teaching.

Here is my proposal:

Presenter Biography: An ethnographer as well as a blogger, Alexandre Enkerli has taught at diverse universities in the United States and in Canada. He currently teaches cultural anthropology and the anthropology of music at Concordia University. An avid Internet user since 1993, Alexandre has participated intensively in a large array of online activities, from mailing-list discussions in informal groups to creative uses of learning management systems such as Moodle, Sakai, Oncourse, Blackboard, and WebCT.
Title Of Session: Free, Open, Flexible: Rethinking Learning Materials Online
Session Learning Objective: This session seeks to help participants rethink the use of learning materials (such as textbooks and lecture notes) in view of opportunities for freedom, openness, and flexibility afforded recent information and communication technologies.
Session Approach: Facilitated discussion (45 minutes)
Abstract: Considered as a whole, learning materials such as textbooks and lecture notes constitute the “shoulders of giants” on which learners and teachers stand.

In this session, academic publishers, instructors, librarians, and administrators are all invited to rethink learning materials through their own experiences with online technologies.

A short, informal report on the principal presenter’s experience with podcasting and other online applications will be followed by a facilitated discussion.

This session will pay special attention to issues of open access, academic freedom, and flexible strategies for learning and teaching.

Together, session participants will construct a new understanding of the implications linking technological changes to the use of learning materials online.
Additional Room Needs: Preferred but not required: podcasting equipment.

Digital Ethnography » Blog Archive » The Machine is Us/ing Us Transcription

We’ll need to rethink copyrightWe’ll need to rethink authorship

We’ll need to rethink identity

We’ll need to rethink ethics

We’ll need to rethink aesthetics

We’ll need to rethink rhetorics

We’ll need to rethink governance

We’ll need to rethink privacy

We’ll need to rethink commerce

We’ll need to rethink love

We’ll need to rethink family

We’ll need to rethink ourselves.


Teaching Reforms and Humour

A funny spoof (in French) on education reforms in Quebec since 1960.
L’enseignement à travers les époques – 🙂 & < – by adamsofineti

The “current” buzzphrase in Quebec is «approche par compétences», which could roughly be described as a “performance-oriented approach to learning” or, somewhat more generally, “objective-oriented learning.” The main conceptual tools used in this approach come from socio-constructivism, at least officially.

It’s never a good strategy to make fun of colleagues but I can help but be amazed by how a conference presentation on «approche par compétences» manages to not say anything substantial on the subject. Here’s an iTunes link to that presentation. I’m sure professor Marie-Françoise Legendre is a very thoughtful scholar and that this MP3 version of her talk doesn’t do justice to her presentation, but there’s something about some of these approaches which just, honestly, makes me laugh.

Funnily enough, my father was trained by Jean Piaget who is sometimes associated with constructivist approaches to learning. (In fact, my relativistic/holistic approach to life and anthropology probably relates very directly to some indirect influences from Piaget.) And my favourite Course Management System, Moodle, mentions (social) constructivism and constructionism in its philosophy statement. Many of the pedagogical principles labeled by those buzzphrases are widely accepted and I do personally tend to accept them. At the same time, some pedagogical practises allegedly based on these principles seems almost absurd to me and several colleagues.

An interesting situation, if not a rare one.


Academic Presentations

Via David Delgado Shorter, a guide to academic presentations prepared by Mary Hunt of the Women’s Alliance for Theology, Ethics and Ritual (WATER).

Be Brief, Be Witty, Be Seated[Updated link, Sunday, March 16, 2008 10:07:17 PM]

Delivering a paper is learned behavior. It is like preaching a sermon, teaching a class or giving a lecture anywhere else. You can get it right with practice. Bad things can happen-the microphone can go dead, your PowerPoint® presentation can freeze, you might even have an attack of nerves that will cause you enormous stress. But for the most part it will be a good, even an enjoyable experience.

One thing to note is that even experienced speakers make mistakes and that the stakes aren’t as high as others may lead you to believe. A given academic presentation is just that. It won’t destroy your carreer and it might possibly launch it. So, IMHO, these guidelines are simply useful things to think about and should not be considered a dogma to strictly follow.

In fact, these same guidelines might not work in all academic contexts. For instance, in France and some other parts of Europe, it has been typical to give academic presentations using broad notes instead of complete texts. That method has the advantage that it is much easier to adapt your presentation as you give it. In some specific contexts, wit may be considered inappropriate if overused. Also, making straightforward, simple points might fail to provide certain types of scholars with the dense, layered thinking that they expect from fellow academics. But, on the whole, Hunt’s advice sounds perfectly reasonable for presentations at large academic meetings in the United States and Canada.
On brievity, my experience tells me that eight pages might be in fact be the perfect length for me, in such a context. It’s a challenge to condense ideas in such a short form without getting too “dense.” but such short presentations enable me to adopt a relaxed attitude and leisurely speech rate. Also, if you end up finishing a few minutes early, you might use that time for discussion.

This isn’t meant to say that I’m a very good presenter. But I do tend to enjoy presenting, in many contexts.


Baptism By Warm Fudge

Last Thursday, June 8, was my first direct encounter with the academic study of food and culture, thanks to the joint conference of the Association for the Study of Food and Society (ASFS) and the Agriculture, Food, and Human Values Society (AFHVS). Was presenting a paper on craft beer and cultural identity that day, before getting a real feel of the conference. Came back psyched, hyped, pleased, happy, energized.
These two academic societies form a very interesting crowd. Been trying to find descriptive terms for that crowd, none is ideal. Welcoming, charitable, nurturing, friendly, warm, thoughtful, insightful, thought-provoking, interested, passionate…

Not only was my positive feeling of the conference strong but it was apparently shared by many attendees. A few hypotheses about this.

  • It's a very interdisciplinary context. As such, people can't assume that you have read so-and-so's work and will in fact help you to find relevant sources for your work.
  • Surprisingly enough, it's a relatively new field, this study of food and society. In fact, many attendees hadn't attended that many conferences. Less bagage than older fields.
  • People come to it from the sidelines. In fact, it's my case, coming as I do as a linguistic anthropologist and ethnomusicologist.
  • Food is associated with passions and it's quite ok to be passionate about food when you work on food and society.
  • Food has an intimate quality that goes well with a nurturing attitude.
  • Perhaps because of prevailing (though semi-hidden) gender roles, a good proportion of conference participants were women, some of them coming with kids in tow or in womb (there were four fregnant women out of 350 participants).
  • The selection of papers for presentation is quite democratic and students are certainly encouraged to present.
  • The conference is happening at a time of year when faculty members and students aren't too caught up in their work.
  • The location, Boston University, was relatively quiet during the conference.
  • Food and society scholars are likely to eat together, which generates a lot of fascinating discussion.
  • Food is a good ice-breaker.
  • Food is universal and particular, like so many other things we study in anthropology.
  • Work on food isn't necessarily part of the primary academic identity of those involved.
  • Though small and growing, food and society has a rather cohesive body of literature.

These may all just be factors in making this food and society conference such a pleasant and powerful experience.