Experimental Pragmatics & Visa Problems

Experimental pragmatics is the science of language use. It’s also a great conference held in Europe every year and a half or so.

I’ll be attending this spring to present a poster. Well, the poster is an excuse; mainly it is simply the conference for my field, and just about everybody who works on problems similar to the ones I work on will be there.

I am excited about going to Europe for the conference (the other two I’m going to this spring are in Denver and in Davis, California), which is a good thing, since we may all be doing more of that in the future.

This morning, the New York Times reports that conference organizers are increasingly reluctant to hold their conferences in the United States. The reason is a resurgence of visa problems for foreign researchers trying to enter America. Many will remember that this was a major problem post-9/11 and contributed to the precipitous fall of America’s standing as a place for higher education. These issues improved somewhat in recent years but have mysteriously cropped up again in the last six months.

The article uses no hard numbers to support its claims about an increase in visa processing times or the decrease in American-based conferences. Still, the decrease in US-based conferences makes sense; American visas are hard to get, and their availability has been unpredictable in recent years.

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