Today was the second day of the conference and it was pretty uniformly lame. I was even unimpressed with Simon Frith’s plenary session, which didn’t seem to be transmitting anything new. Aside from giving a brief history of sociology in the UK and the emergence of popular music studies, his major claim was this: sociology tends to serve the state in the management of its subjects. Well, duh. That’s why statistics are called statistics. That’s why many people in anthropology and the humanities are a uncomfortable with quantitative data collection to represent populations: it can inform state policy decisions in unintended ways. Certainly, anthropologists have to worry about this as well with their ethnographic work, but statistical data creates the kind of truth that states are more comfortable using to justify their actions.
Well, enough about that. I yawned my way through the day and then went to meet a bunch of friends at Restaurant Chengdu, which is located on 15 boulevard Strasbourg in the 10th arrondissement. This is the same restaurant that I had once ordered take-out from when I was living in the Strasbourg / Saint-Denis area of town back in September.
I met a bunch of friends there, including one Chinese friend who took care of ordering everything for us. We pigged out on piles and piles of delicious and spicy Szechuan food and staggered home. Although I think the food could probably be topped by some of the restaurants I know in Toronto and Chicago, it was by far the best Chinese food I’ve had in Paris. Really delicious.
Oh, and while we’re talking about food: for dessert this afternoon, while having lunch near the conference site, I had a crepe filled with poached pears and MOLTEN MARZIPAN. Ohmygod it was amazing.