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Sunday, October 29, 2006

The Conference that Blogs Built

So, I just returned to California from the First Annual Colloquium on Current Scholarship in Labor & Employment Law at Marquette Law School, and I think I can speak for (most? many?) when I say that this was a great conference.  With so many interesting papers, on everything from Title VII, to whistleblowing, to labor, it's difficult to know where to begin. 

Over on WorkplaceProf, Paul Secunda (Ole Miss) has already graciously thanked everyone, and I have –already - mocked his use of the smiley face graphic (a bit ironic to use the Walmart symbol for a labor and employment conference, eh Paul?). 

A “theme” of the conference that emerged involved the use of powerpoint graphics.  One panel I attended featured Michael Z. Green (Texas-Wesleyan) who had powerpoint animations, Scott Moss (Marquette) who had odd embedded clip art deployed to humorous effect, and Marcia McCormick (Cumberland) who had meticulously drawn images that looked almost postmodern.  Of course, these speakers all had interesting things to say too (about arbitrator bias, confidential settlements, and collaborative dispute resolution respectively), but that’s beside the point, no?

It was also great to catch up with folks on blogs, which in addition to the aforementioned, also included Joe Slater (Toledo); Michael McCann (Mississippi College); an unnamed, but very cool blogger; and Prawfsblawg’s own Orly Lobel. 

Which I guess brings me to the point of this post, which is that the conference had its beginnings in the blogosphere, with Joe, Scott, and Paul deciding – in cyberspace – that they were going to organize this conference.  I’m still thinking this through, but perhaps this conference is a testament to the idea that blogs aren’t by any means the antithesis of scholarship (as a distraction, or just providing glib soundbites, as I have seen argued by others before).  Perhaps what they can do is assist us in creating welcoming scholarly communities (whether online, or in person).

Posted by Miriam Cherry on October 29, 2006 at 09:12 PM in Workplace Law | Permalink

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Comments

Kate:

While I'm not sure what you mean by "original numbers produced by the authors," you can find links to many/most of the papers here:

http://law.marquette.edu/cgi-bin/site.pl?2130&pageID=2875#schedule

Posted by: Joseph Slater | Oct 30, 2006 11:39:26 AM

Which of these papers contained original numbers produced by the authors? Links please?

Posted by: Kate Litvak | Oct 30, 2006 10:53:24 AM

I'll echo Paul's thanks to Miriam for the kind words, and to everyone who came to the conference. Aside from being fun and (I believe) productive for the 50 or so labor/employment law folks who attended, it really was a product of the blogosphere. I came to know of Scott through this blog, and indeed didn't meet him in person until the conference itself.

Of course the options Miriam poses aren't mutually exclusive. Blogs can be BOTH timewasting sources of glib soundbites AND help create welcoming scholarly communities. For me, it was fun to be on the latter side of the equation (for once), especially since Paul and Scott did all the real work.

Posted by: Joseph Slater | Oct 30, 2006 10:51:07 AM

Thanks, Miriam, for all the nice things you had to say about the conference. It really was a great time.

As for the smiley face, last time I checked not all such smiley faces were owned by Wal-Mart. But perhaps by using a symbol that has largely been taken over by that corporation, I am slowly and insidiously, but surely, reclaiming all such happy faces for all causes who propound the greater good.

You didn't see that one coming, did ya?

P.S. You need to fix the link to Workplace Prof Blog

Posted by: Paul M. Secunda | Oct 30, 2006 8:00:26 AM

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