My conference takes place at Carleton University in Ottawa. The choice of location for this annual event is part of an egalitarian effort of our association. The goal is to hold a conference at every single one of Canadian universities in turn. It is, of course, a failed project. Some universities are located in places where nobody wants to go. Some schools don’t have the capacity to accomodate this enormous annual congress of Humanities and Social Sciences. This is the kind of fate that expects any attempt to impose equality by force.
Of all the places I have visited so far for this conference, Carleton University seems the worst in what concerns organization and facilities. Ottawa is beautiful this time of year but we have to be stuck far away from all the fun in this sprawling inconveniently located and geographically confusing campus. I want to hope that the substance of presentations will be worth spending three days on this very uninspiring campus.
The question I always want to ask is why in North America campuses are located so far from anything we can call “life”? The students come out of college with no experience of living in a real grown-up environment. It becomes so much more difficult for them to adapt to less infantile environments than campuses. It is also so much harder to develop intellectually, emotionally and in any other way when you are stuck in this boring artificial enclosure for years.