From the Chronicle of Higher Ed:
The American Sociological Association’s annual meeting drew about 6,000 people to San Francisco last month to share and discuss the latest research in the field, make professional connections, and catch up with colleagues. But missing from the crowd were scholars like Julie E. Hartman-Linck, an associate professor of sociology at Frostburg State University, in western Maryland, which provides her with only $200 a year for conference travel.
"I’d love to be connected to my professional association," says Ms. Hartman-Linck. "But it really remains to be seen when I’ll go to an annual meeting again."
Even where professors can get money to travel, they often find it falls short. For those off the tenure track, paltry wages and no access to institutional funds can keep them from attending scholarly meetings altogether.
With the face of the professoriate changing and slashed travel budgets not bouncing back, more professors say they’re shut out of the academic meetings long seen as a staple in their fields. Although attendance hasn’t decreased across the board, those trends chip away at the diversity of such gatherings, some say, narrowing the perspectives represented there. ...
Going to the sociology conference again would let Ms. Hartman-Linck "recharge my research batteries," she says. "And I get to bring that research that I hear about into the classroom," she adds. "It really makes a difference."
One of her alternatives is the Eastern Sociological Society’s meeting, which was in Baltimore in February. It was a much smaller event only 150 miles away, but the $200 still didn’t cover it. ...
Here is the cost of attending an annual conference according to the article:
The typical travel bill submitted by economics faculty at a regional state university is about half that. That hotel bill seems very high ($300 per night?). And five nights? Somehow the economists manage to handle everything with three nights.
And here is one more excerpt: "Not only do some would-be attendees feel as if annual meetings are a stretch, but even when they do go, they may wonder if they belong." Sign me up for the Southern Econ meetings. The AERE sessions are high quality and the research (and other) conversations are great (AERE has also recently sponsored sessions at the midwest and western meetings).
The regional meetings would be even better if those faculty who can't get on the national meetings program would submit something to a regional conference. Somehow, these folks think they are too good to present their paper at a regional conference but, yet, they aren't good enough to present at the natioanl conference. Regional conferences have a weird voluntary provision problem where the quality of the public good (the regional conference) falls. It takes organization of sessions by "affiliated organizations" at regional conferences to solve the public goods problem.