Posted by Tom Cole on January 14, 1999 at 09:19:43:
In Reply to: Re: Where are the traditional academics at our carpet conferences? posted by Jerry Silverman on January 13, 1999 at 18:21:37:
: : Dear Jerry,
: : thanks for introducing this topic, which I feel is apt, and certainly interesting. However, I must say that the over whelming question that comes to my mind is: Why do traditional academics tend to avoid Oriental Carpet Conferences?
: : Any ideas?
: : all best - saul
: Damn fine question, Saul. Especially when I think it was the concensus opinion at ACOR IV that the most interesting lecture was Henry Glassie's, the ethnologist from Indiana University who spoke about rug-weaving in Turkey from the perspective of the young women who do the weaving.
For those who missed AORTA (and there were many who did), the lecture program there organised by George O'Bannon and Sally Komerska was a real pleasure for the most part. It included Elizabeth Barber, renowned for her study of pre-historic textiles, and William Wood, a Turkoman ethnohistorian. These people can be considered real academics in the truest sense of the word. Unfortunately, there were few there to listen to what they had to offer, but those who were, witnessed wonderful academic presentations. Why are there not more of these people invited to speak? Inquire with the academic committees of the conference organisations. Jerry cites Henry Glassie's talk as "academic". Without casting aspersions on Henry at all (as I admire his oratorical skill as well as his sensitivity toward his subject), I would classify his talks as ethnographic in content; his mission is apparently to introduce us, as westerners, to the mindset of the people who produce these wonderful weavings we all love, rather than scholarly academia of social/historical background. Please correct me if I have misinterpreted Henry's themes. Truly academic lectures often go over or around the heads of the average conference attendee, who is essentially there to be entertained at the very least. Learning something new is a bonus. Also, I would think it is not an absolute fact that college professors are the only ones who can deliver an academic presentation. A degree and pay check from a university or other educational institution does not preclude the possibility of an equally well researched and academically sound paper from the plebians of the rug community.
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