Monday, January 31, 2005

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The International Studies Association makes me laugh

The following paragraph is contained in an e-mail I received from the International Studies Association regarding their upcoming annual conference -- which this year happens to be held in Honolulu:

[O]ur colleagues who live in Hawaii wanted... to remind everyone that appropriate dress code in Hawaii is dramatically different from dress code elsewhere. If you've been there before, you know that people dress quite informally. The weather is always warm without being stifling (thanks to the breezes). Virtually no one wears suits or jackets. So, while we don't expect that you will come to panels wearing bathing attire, please feel free to dress informally. This is true even in the evening during receptions and in restaurants.

After reading this, I became convinced I was trapped in one of those ads for TBS asking myself, "is it just me or is so obvious that it's really funny?"

[Other people who don't get to go to a conference in Hawaii might not find this so funny.--ed. Yeah, well, last year's ISA meeting was held at thesame time of the year -- in Montreal. So screw 'em.]

posted by Dan on 01.31.05 at 06:16 PM


Funny, or perhaps sad, but, living in Minneapolis, I've noticed that the dress code here is "dramatically different" from elsewhere this time of year and that things get pretty informal here as well once the temperature dips below zero. No worries about bathing attire though.

posted by: Vergasy on 01.31.05 at 06:16 PM [permalink]

Well, you're probably in an industry that's fashion impaired.

I bet you see at least one pair of "Jesus Boots*" from a conference attendee while you're there.

*black socks with sandals

posted by: Kevin on 01.31.05 at 06:16 PM [permalink]

I don't think that it's obvious just what they mean by "dramatic", but maybe I'm just embarrassed because I showed up to a wedding in a suit and tie (I mean, it's a wedding), when the entire groom's party was in aloha shirts, cargo shorts, sunglasses, and bare feet. And keep in mind that I'm a software engineer - i.e. my dress code at work is jeans, a t-shirt, and sneakers.

posted by: Jake McGuire on 01.31.05 at 06:16 PM [permalink]

Yes, I was also puzzled by the modifier "dramatically different". It really seems a polite way to say, please wear aloha shirts...

The good people from the ISA made me now worry much more about appropriate dress code than about my paper. Bless them.

posted by: IR guy on 01.31.05 at 06:16 PM [permalink]

I'm confused. This is an "International Studies Association" - which assumes they know something about cultural mores, and it's a conference - which assumes that it's going to be a collection of scholars, of People Who Know Stuff.

And they don't even know what it's like in Hawaii? I know how people dress there, and I've never even been there.

There's a clue on the ISA website - just look at how this is written:

"Geographic subdivisions of ISA, called Regions, provide opportunities to exchange ideas and research with local colleagues. Over twenty special interest groups, called Sections, offer additional contact between members interested in specific areas within the field of international studies. Together, these Regions and Sections allow us to create communities of scholars dedicated to international studies."

What a delightful choice of words: regions, sections. I certainly would never have thought of that.

We all realize, of course, that the function of International Conferences is to provide an opportunity for members to take a tax-deductible holiday to some exotic location they probably wouldn't get to otherwise. Ever seen any international conferences in Minnesota during the winter?

posted by: Mike on 01.31.05 at 06:16 PM [permalink]

Mike: Why yes, in 1998, the ISA meeting was held in Minneapolis -- in mid-March.

posted by: Dan Drezner on 01.31.05 at 06:16 PM [permalink]

As a McGill grad student, I was happy that I could go to last year's ISA without having to cough up so much as bus fare. Honolulu sure sounds nice, though. Does enduring one Montreal winter after another without ever getting to go to Hawaii win me anything?

Yeah, that's what I thought... sigh.

- Adam

posted by: Adam Allouba on 01.31.05 at 06:16 PM [permalink]

We laughed at that email too. At least we don't have to worry about packing any formal clothes into our suitcases already over-jammed with beachwear. However, I feel compelled to point out that ISA last year (in Montreal) was one week later (not that it matters much in Montreal, where winter lasts until mid-April at least). However, it mattered to me: if only it had been a week earlier, perhaps my doctor would not have put my pregnant self on bed rest until after we had returned, and I wouldn't have had to cancel my trip. :-(

posted by: Mrs. Coulter on 01.31.05 at 06:16 PM [permalink]

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