A Whiny Post about Conference Fees
|This post is a bit of throat-clearing in preparation for the beginning of our academic year of conference blogging.|
Is it just me or have conference registration fees been going up nearly as fast as tuition? MLA this year is $125; RSA is $140; SAA wins the prize at only $100. The World Shakespeare Congress registration fee was something absolutely absurd that I can't remember because I ultimately decided not to attend. [Pantagruelle in the comments reports AU$600(!!) for professors; AU$400(!!!) for grads. wtf?]
Now, I don't really mind paying $100 once a year for a conference fee, and I like a conference to have a few amenities like an opening and/or closing reception with some munchies. I know all that costs money. But RSA's fee is beginning to creep up towards $200, and none of us earns very much in the grand scheme of things. MLA seems to get bigger and bigger each year, so with more and more people attending--and, in many cases, forming a captive audience who have to attend--shouldn't the cost of putting on the conference be getting spread around among more and more wallets? And so shouldn't the cost to each member rise somewhat more slowly as a result?
Here's a serious suggestion for RSA and MLA: stop printing Renaissance Quarterly and PMLA. Stop mailing them out to each member. I for one do not need any more paper floating around my office. Just send out an email when the latest issue is available online and include the table of contents in the email. That would save a bundle, wouldn't it? Does anyone really need to read scholarly journals in hard copy anymore? When I was cleaning out my office at my old school, I felt a small burst of actual glee when I dumped all my old journals onto the departmental "table of books free for the taking."