For several reasons, I prefer small academic conferences over large ones. Still, it is good to go to a major annual conference once in a while, which was the case this past weekend at the Association for Core Texts and Courses (ACTC). “Major,” however, may be inaccurate. At about 300 attendants each year, the ACTC pales in comparison to the thousands who trek annually to the MLA (language & literature), AHA (history), AAR (religion), AAA (anthropology), ASA (American studies), AAS (Asian studies), AAAS (Asian American studies), ICMS (Medieval studies), AWP (writers and writing programs), and other alphabet-soup biggies in the humanities and social sciences. The AWP, for instance, typically has 2000 presenters and 12,000 attendees. (It is not a typo: twelve and three zeros.) The ACTC is decidedly small potatoes in number and scale. On the other hand, the relative smallness – let’s call it “medium-sized”- probably contributed nicely to my enjoyment of the event in Atlanta.
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