Nobody Goes There Anymore, It’s Too Crowded

Conferences are expensive, carbon-belching, superficial prestige-fests. At least, that’s what some people will tell you. In this episode we consider some of the arguments against academic conferences. Are they really worth the costs to the individual and to the planet? Can you actually communicate scientific substance in a conference or a talk? Are keynotes just warmed-over nuggets from your old Psych 101 class? And what are you even supposed to get out of conferences anyway? We discuss these arguments and relay some of our own dissatisfactions, but we also talk about why we keep going anyway. Plus: We answer a letter about breaking in to academic Twitter.


The Black Goat is hosted by Sanjay Srivastava, Alexa Tullett, and Simine Vazire. Find us on the web at, on Twitter at @blackgoatpod, on Facebook at, and on instagram at @blackgoatpod. You can email us at You can subscribe to us on iTunes.

Our theme music is Peak Beak by Doctor Turtle, available on under a Creative Commons noncommercial attribution license.

This is episode 41. It was recorded in two parts, on August 24 and September 3, 2018.