Listening to the Noise

In 2015, the airwaves crackled with debate about the value—or pointlessness—of academic conferences (see, for starters, “The Conference Manifesto” and “A Conference Manifesto for the Rest of Us”). Yet I love the Modernist Studies Association meeting for reliably reenergizing my research and writing. Come November, I’m generally buried under a drift of student essays, plus the holidays are looming, with their burden of extra work and anxiety. It can be hard to see the point in crafting another labor-intensive scholarly essay for a coterie of readers when there are so many administrative deadlines pressing and weepy students knocking, plus a late-capitalist shopping frenzy to orchestrate.