The seventy-ninth annual meeting of the American Philosophical Association (Eastern Division) was held recently, as is traditional, in the week between Christmas and New Year’s Day. This year’s meeting was held in Baltimore at the new Convention Center, which is part of that city’s recently completed harborside development—a copy of Boston’s Quincy Market—of office towers, hotels, restaurants, and shops. The sixteen hundred professors and graduate students spent much of their free time between seminars and cocktail parties wandering through the boutiques and food stands in the green-roofed glass pavilions nearby.

When they returned to the Convention Center the scene looked remarkably similar, for there is nothing an academic convention resembles so much as a Middle-East bazaar. Special-interest groups are given space to hawk their wares—pamphlets, books, magazines, buttons, and now video...

 
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