I just returned from the conference today. We went to the Hoover Dam and Grand Canyon afterward. Also, as promised here earlier on this blog, I left Vegas ahead on roulette, and my partner left ahead on slots. I said I had a system. Not sure how many times certain findings need to replicated before folks will believe them.
Here is an Inside Higher Ed article on the sociologists’ views of the conference. The comments are mostly negative. Personally, I had a good time and probably had my sense of social wonder stimulated more by Vegas than any ASA venue other than New York City, and I liked the novelty of it as an academic conference venue. But I can understand the expense concerns and recognize the general thrust of the moral one, even if sometimes I think people have sounded maybe-a-little-naive about what goes on at other venues where ASA meets.
Overall, given the basic principle that many sociologists will not cross a picket line–and, hey, good for us–I think (1) ASA was right to move the conference, (2) timed the decision to move just about right, (3) came up with a logistically suitable venue-and-date combination on short notice and executed the conference itself pretty well.
Granted, it would be nice if they could get the name of the “Evolution, Biology, and Society” section correct one day–several years after a name change, we are still “Evolution and Society” on the ribbon and “Evolution, Body, and Society” somewhere in the program. Someone in the section likened it to a boorish boss who keeps calling you by different incorrect first names, despite your polite corrections.