Unpacking social conventions can be pretty hilarious sometimes.
For example, it is standard practice for every academic to author a never-ending laundry list of what other people might perceive as our most impressive accomplishments. We call this our bio.
The conventional tone of what we say about ourselves in these things is so ridiculous that we write them as though someone else wrote them for us (kind of like when our universities announce that they would like to “nominate” us for awards but then ask us to write a 25 page application to bring money into the university). Once written and posted to a website, our bios are available for conference moderators and other strangers to introduce us as though they know us. The most delightful part of this odd scholarly exercise is that we get to sit there during our introduction and act appropriately modest and sometimes even shocked that they knew all of this detail — as if we had no idea that they would mention any of these things about us.
If you came to this portion of the site to participate in this strange social convention, you can find my conventional bio here.
But to have a more honest sense of the sweet serendipity of it all, the bio more to my liking goes something like this…
In the early-mid 1980s, ian not only chose to have BIG HAIR, he came very close to making another big mistake. He almost became a dentist (not that there is anything wrong with it). Nearing the end of the 11th hour, he somehow realized that schlepping teeth was something his dad wanted for him, but not something he wanted for himself. In what must have felt like an epiphany to a twenty year old, he realized that every single elective he ever took during his science degree was in philosophy. Upon graduation, bathed in uncertainty and existential angst typical of that stage of things, he made the bold (if not foolhardy) move of bailing on a career in the health sciences and enrolling instead in honours philosophy. His parents, while supportive, must have taken a deep breath.
During his studies in philosophy he fell in love with the law and was eventually sweet-talked into going to law school by this man while completing his doctorate in philosophy and teaching 800 students. Upon completing his academic degrees, ian was in the process of arranging to spend his articling year in toronto, writing appellate facta for the crown, when this man talked him into articling at what has since become this firm. He was then tricked by the then dean of western law to test-out a new three way interdisciplinary appointment in philosophy, law and information technology. This prank profoundly altered the course of his intellectual life, for which he will be eternally grateful. Soon after, with many friends in common, he met the only other canadian common law colleague in the burgeoning field of techlaw, michael geist. A few years later, that guy who talked ian into going to law school became geist’s dean. The rest is, as they say, history.
If there could possibly be anything else that you might wish to know about ian kerr, click here.