Wow, what a morning. Did lots of things in a short amount of time today: catched the end of Sociology of Sexuality starring a number of sexuality superstars like Paula England and Elizabeth Armstrong; roundtabled at the section on children & youth, and then got involved at the subsequent business meeting; and went to Masculinities: Class, Race and Embodiment where I was swimming among the heaviest of hitters in the masc/femininities world, like CJ Pascoe, Barrie Thorne, and some very talented panelists...all in one tiny 50 person occupancy room.

Now, to reflect: I only caught the end of the sociology of sexuality event, but I really liked what I heard. I was able to listen to the whole of Orit Avishai's (Fordham U.) explanation of orthodox jewish sexuality and the kind of mental processing going on in (predominately female) orthodox communities -- her discussion and the Q&A that followed revealed for me the push and pull involved when doing the interviewing. Definitely going to be challenges to work as an academic that cares about the research and not an overly biased actor in the data collection process. I unfortunately missed England, Armstrong, and Fogarty's paper on college hookups, but was really amazed by the way that England answered the questions about their work. She repeatedly invited audience members to look at her data and begin their own analyses -- does this happen a lot?

My experience presenting at a roundtable, much like my experience sitting at a roundtable yesterday, was very productive. The organizer admitted that the three of our papers were somewhat haphazardly thrown together into one session because they were somewhat distinctive, but it was great hearing the perspectives of everyone there. I've really gained from a lot of direction about "what to do next" as far as my own work. People have been very helpful in suggesting bodies of work to look into, and even offering their contact info for further follow-up. Although I'm going to be super strained for time in the coming year, between work, classes, and the qualifying exam, I think I'm going to try and do some field work on my own and put together a paper. I can't be limited by classroom contexts anymore to start my own work and writing; it's time to take the initiative.

Finally, this last meeting with the gendery heavy hitters in the Masculinities session was a bit overwhelming -- there was a lot of stuff going on. Most of the panelists were offering some really amazing dimensions of masculinity at work, like Lucia Beatrice Trimbur's ethnographic study of boxing communities in Brooklyn, where privileged white men box against nonreactive, nonwhite trainers in a way that explicitly suggests a consumption of black identity in order to affirm white male masculinity. Or even Freeden Oeur's research on black masculinities that infused time narratives into a discussion about race and delinquency, about how black boys are essentially denied the more flexible time narratives that white boys are alotted and are instead forced into this hasty transition from consequenceless youth to potentially criminal black adult, policed in the hallways in classrooms and other realms.

Perhaps most interesting of all, though, was the discussion that followed. Unlike other parts of this conference, I found that the discussion here was pretty heavily charged -- there were a lot of very influential academics making assertions that washed a little bit over me (and perhaps others). It was a very wordy experience that required a vernacular I don't yet possess. To pursue pursue work that fits among this smaller community of researchers requires a great deal of attention to detail, and the people involved are very passionate about the field and care deeply about the implications of others' work. A very exciting session, for sure.

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