1/4: A while back I made a webpage for new writing, old writing, paywalled writing. It was simple. I put a title on it: Open Book. I thought that over time that would be what I would aim for: my academic production as an open book, easily accessible to all. I thought of it as a set of pamphlets for print and web: something simple.
I’m attracted to little books, cassette tapes, zines. Why wait for a perfect binding? All of these traditions come out of one urge – the urge to say something, do something – an urge that I think many of us understand, and that the academic publishing model actively works to suppress.
A little book can be a pamphlet, full of spit and vinegar. But it can also be a zine, or a comic, or a 7” lathe-cut. Or a snapshot.
At the American Sociological Association’s annual meetings this year there were two moments, in two rooms, when I wished I could have invited some friends to join me. The first, at the Junior Theorists Symposium, was a full room and a small panel of young theorists with short remarks on Theory with a capital T. The second moment, at ASA proper, was the Coser Memorial Lecture. These talks together were at the heart of my experience at ASA this year, were what I wanted to take away with me, to share. I wanted a snapshot of those talks.
Why bother with a snapshot? Snapshots are quickly made and just as often quickly forgotten. They’re fast and dirty and deteriorate quickly. But some last, and they’re the reminders we turn to again and again. Portraits tell of an era, but snapshots tell us about a specific time and place, and they do it in the vernacular.
So here it is, to all and anyone. I asked the speakers in those two rooms if I could reproduce their talks, and they have graciously agreed. It’s a snapshot, for you.