One of my first thoughts when I heard that Trump was elected was that it meant much fewer opportunities to hear diverse voices at international conferences held within the US. I attend a lot of conferences – many of them have international audiences.
One thing that American’s don’t often realize is just how difficult it can be for someone to get to a conference in the United States. Now people will need to deal with increased hassle for getting visas as well as increased hassles for getting through border security – and increased worries about personal safety. If you think I’m overreacting, note that Turkey has already warned its citizens about travel to the US.
I think that international organizations will be re-thinking hosting conferences in the US. I will re-think attending international conferences in the US, even though I live here. If organizations want international representation, they will start hosting more conferences in Europe or Canada. I suppose that is a good thing for Canadians – but really, it is a bad thing for academics as a whole. It means that it is going to be more difficult for people to participate in conference – including US citizens.
I do think it will also mean more opportunities for Virtually Connecting. More people will need to present virtually and will also want to share in the hallway conversations that Virtually Connecting hosts. But even this makes me a little sad. In part because Virtually Connecting brings people closer together, and with that comes a deeper desire to meet in the same physical space. It is that desire which brought me to the OpenEd conference a few weeks ago. I really wanted the opportunity to share physical space with so many of the people I have met through virtually connecting. I see that there will be less opportunity for this sharing of physical space in the coming years.
That was only part of my reaction to the Trump election … it is the part I’m willing to talk about openly. As Canadians living in the US, we cannot physically attend protests – however, we can protest with our pocket books. With that in mind, my husband and I have made donations to charities that will need to provide more services, organizations that we believe in, Planned Parenthood and Mexican American Legal Defence and Educational Fund.