Re: Where are the traditional academics at our carpet conferences?

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Posted by Saul Yale Barodofsky on January 16, 1999 at 12:13:07:

In Reply to: Re: Where are the traditional academics at our carpet conferences? posted by Marvin Amstey on January 15, 1999 at 08:50:24:

: : : : : : 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.

: : : : : -Jerry-

: : : :
: : : : 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.

: : : Tom, Did Wood say anything diffferent from what he published in Vanisging Jewels? That essay waas excellent, but if he gave a talk that was already published, what's the purpose? I'm not accusing since I wasn't there, but most talks that I have heard with a title similar to what the speaker has written - as Boralevi suggested will occur at the next ICOC - as not worth one's time; there's no new information. At scientific meetings, we forbid such presentations. Marvin

: : Marvin- Wood ran through a history of the Saryk, specifically. The talk was good, very informative. His delivery is interesting and he threw anecdotes relating to his field experience to illustrate some of his points. He was worth it. As was Ms. Barber. Dr. Jull from the C-14 lab at the University of Arizona spoke also, but I am not qualified to interpret the information he offered, but many found him interesting as well.

: A talk about the Saryk, indeed, was diferent than his published piece in VJ where he had only a very short paragraph. I'm sorry I missed it. Perhaps, the ICOC will recognize his expertise and invite him to lecture. It certainly beats an essay on why I love my rugs and what's in my collection (aka one of the TM talks). Marvin

Dear all,
in answer to Yans question: There seems to be a reluctance on the part of academics to speak at non-academic conferences - especially rug conferences. Lately, this is starting to shift, as we can see from the presenters at the latest Aorta (Tucson Nov. 1998). My question comes from 22 years in the collecting textile business, and the many conferences I've attended. There are many fields of academic study that I have always felt would greatly benefit our work in textile study: i.e. Ottoman scholars who specialize in the donations to the mosques (Yanni Petsopolous mentioned that much of his information on kilims came from such sources). There is also the question of slavery amongst the Turkoman peoples, and their production of carpets with a "mixed heritage." And my all time favorite (mentioned at an early T.M. conference by a Canadian dealer (Friendly) who claimed his great-great-great grandfather was a dealer in Russia in the mid 19th century and that he had his journal, where it was written that he had suggested to the Turkoman peoples which patterns and shapes were selling better, so that they could (and did) concentrate more on them). I would love to get this idea out of my head, or have it authenticated by a reputable scholar of the area.
all best, saul

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