Did you know that people in disciplines like theology and biblical studies actually read papers to each other. Yes, you read that right. They stand up, pull out a manuscript, and then read it to you. Often never lifting their eyes from the paper. They just stand there. And read to you.
It's insane and madding. Why not just hand the damn paper to me so I can read it over a beer at the bar? Or in my room? Or at home?
You might not know this, but in the sciences and social sciences we actually don't read or present papers at our conferences. We speak extemporaneously. Without notes. There is no paper.
Historically, our talks have been built around visual displays of data and results. Before there was PowerPoint the talks were driven by slides. We took slides and overheads to conferences and showed data. That was the presentation. A title slide, some literature view slides, slides of methodology and the heart of the presentation, the results slides showing statistical analyses.
But there was no paper.
So now I've been invited to conferences like SBL and AAR. And I think they expect me to show up with a paper and read it to the audience. They don't understand that they've invited a social scientist.
We don't read papers to each other.