It was an inauspicious start to my first venture in live tweeting. The wireless signal on the second floor of the Westin is low, and my battery life went from 2 hours to 2 minutes in just a few seconds. Apparently, eight-year-old laptop batteries aren’t what they used to be. With electrical outlets a scarce commodity in the meeting rooms, the result for you, the reader, is that you’ll get only a truncated view of the Southern experience.
I attended the panel, “Slavery and Territorial Expansion” this morning, chaired by James L. Huston. Matthew Mason discussed time, space, and slavery politics during the Missouri Crisis, focusing on the “doughfaces,” northern men of southern principles, and their influence during the Missouri/Maine Crisis of 1829-21. I’ll be honest, I felt rightly chastised for not acknowledging Maine’s role in the crisis in my survey classes. Like most people, I suspect, I emphasize Missouri and barely mention Maine. Kristen K. Epps’ paper addressed slaveholders’ emigration into western Missouri between 1825 and 1845. She argued that the border counties between Missouri and Kansas were reflective of small-scale slaveholding in the Upper South. Christopher Childers focused on popular sovereignty and race in California and New Mexico in the years between the end of the Mexican-American War and the Compromise of 1850. Unfortunately, I was trying to salvage my electronic interface during his paper, so I missed a lot of it; however, I heard that the paper was good.
Nicole Etcheson and Michael Morrison commented on the papers, but by that time, I had abandoned the heated and overcrowded room. Colleagues who attended other sessions mentioned the same overflow problems in their sessions. I hope that the overwhelming numbers are a sign of unexpectedly high attendance.
While the morning session was informative, I have to add that I also received a primer on Western movies and film noir from John Belohlavek, Dan Feller, and Aaron Crawford after I abandoned ship. My lack of film knowledge was embarrassing, but I have some good film recommendations to keep me busy during the winter months.