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[Xmca-l] Fwd: A New Type of Academic Conference

The message below describes an international conference that has a "nearly
non-existent carbon footprint". It also boasts greater egalitarianism by
not requiring long-distance travel.

Seems like it poses some interesting possibilities.


---------- Forwarded message ----------

A hint before you print: think green.

UC Santa Barbara is currently conducting an unusual international
conference, which has over 50 speakers from eight countries, yet has a
nearly nonexistent carbon footprint. Had this been a traditional fly-in
conference, the slate of speakers would have had to collectively travel
over 300,000 miles, generating the equivalent of over 100,000 pounds of
carbon dioxide (CO2) in the process. This is equal to the total
annual carbon footprint of 50 people living in India, 165 in Kenya.

In contrast, this conference takes a digital approach. Because the talks
and Q&A sessions all reside online (the talks are prerecorded; the Q&A
sessions are interactive forums), travel was unnecessary. The conference
has four keynote talks and fourteen panels, each of which has three talks
and its own Q&A session. The Q&A sessions are open from May 3-24. The topic
is Climate Change: Views from the Humanities
<http://ehc.english.ucsb.edu/?page_id=12687>. We are sending this out to
encourage faculty and students to visit and take part in the conference.
You can register here <http://ehc.english.ucsb.edu/?page_id=12500>.

For obvious environmental reasons, in the future we can expect more events
like this, which also promise to be more egalitarian: the cost of airfare
from anywhere in the developing world to anywhere in North America or
Europe is often greater than the average annual income in these countries.
This simple fact effectively bars the majority of the planet’s scholars
from taking part in international conferences, ensuring that they remain
open to only a privileged few. In contrast, conferences such as this one
allow nearly any scholar anywhere with a computer or mobile device and
adequate internet access to equally take part in the event.

In you get a chance, do check out our conference experiment at


Gregory A. Thompson, Ph.D.
Assistant Professor
Department of Anthropology
880 Spencer W. Kimball Tower
Brigham Young University
Provo, UT 84602

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