It’s time for the American Studies Association annual conference, and this year, it’s in Baltimore. That means I get to loll around my house and then just hop on the bike and roll down the hill to the Hilton instead of paying a zillion bucks a night to sleep there. That’s what I did this afternoon, and I hung out in those boring rooms with their uncomfortable chairs and their air walls that seem to transfer sound rather than actually make another room. Those rooms have hosted so many different conferences and meetings and endless chatter, and today’s was about the many layers of racial difference and ethnicity, nation states and colonialism, hybridity and difference. It was good, there was listening, and I saw familiar faces that reminded me that I am known. It was nice. Then I rode back up the hill to home, picked up S. from the train station, fed us some dinner, and walked to the old churchat 2640 St. Paul for a panel of really, really smart people who talked in this old church about racism in the 21st century. It was so good, and Andy Smith said something I really needed to hear: there’s a difference between a politics of recognition and a politics of self-determination. I snapped this picture and thought about how many different ways the same spaces can be used. So many means, so many ends.