I had a good time, heard a couple of really interesting papers, and got to see some friends (the best part, to be honest). My seminar was run well and had a good discussion.
I felt like I noticed a few things, and checked with someone else, who thought maybe to one, and yes to the other.
1) People from my generation were there in relatively low numbers compared to the people 10+ years ahead of us, or 10 years behind us. Maybe folks my age are mid-career and what with the holiday and such, didn't come? Or they've moved into administrative stuff? Or we're just in lower numbers?
2) When I first went to SAA, there was a fairly strong and visible group of African American scholars. I saw none of that group, and few African American scholars overall compared to those years. I'm not sure what's happened or happening.
3) Looking over the crowd, it seemed very male, and not only older men. There were several men who looked like they were posing as enfant terrible types, right down to the pony-tail.
4) There was an anime conference going on at the same hotel with the Shakespeare conference, and the two crowds were very different. It was really odd seeing someone in anime costume walk through the Shakespeare crowd. (The Shakespeare crowd, we like to think we're among the edgier folks in the English department, but we looked very staid compared to the anime crowd.) Thus, the enfant terrible men looked like real posers in comparison.
(Do women ever get the cache of being the enfant terrible, with the combination of admiration, exaltation, and admonishment from the good old boys, or does a woman just get the criticism?)
And a related observation: I caught a cold. I could feel it coming on last night, and it's been getting worse. Blah. It's amazing how something relatively as innocuous as a cold can make you feel lousy.
I rode back on the shuttle with a man who was way more revealing of his private life than I was quite comfortable with. And he had that too wide eyed look that some people have.