Sunday, November 21, 2010

NaBloPoMo 21 -- back home

NaBloPoMo 21 -- Home again



Hey all, I'm forgiving myself for the lack of blogging because I was at a conference. I was at the SEMA conference, enjoying myself with people I like. There were some great people there, and some good papers -- especially those I heard on Saturday morning, which included a very nicely put-together one on Hildemar of Corbie and the construction of monastic space and my favorite (and not because it was given by The Cranky Professor): one on Agobard of Lyons and the Magonians. It wasn't really about space aliens, which made it all the better because we got to talk about them anyway.

Given the subject of the conference, it wasn't surprising that there were lots of papers that referred to revenants, ghosts, and other such things. Nor was it a big shock that many discussions included references to the impending Zombie Apocalypse. I was polite, and did not correct the person who used I Am Legend as an example of a zombie story. People. Read the book before seeing the movie. There were also some papers that had some iffy bits, I think. I'm not convinced we should consider John Donne to be a Tudor writer. Really, I think he is much more representative of the unpleasant James Stuart and his religion than any of the Tudors... In fact, there were a couple of lit papers I heard that could have been much stronger had the authors been better versed in the history they used to attempt to contextualize their arguments.

It's a funny thing: most of my friends who are lit people are really pretty damned good with the history. Most of the historians I know who use literature are pretty good at using it, too -- although I will admit that most of us tend to rely on the safer historical interpretations. Because of that, I tend to think of all medievalists and classicists to be interdisciplinary types as a rule. This experience reminds me that interdisciplinarity is not merely about using each other's sources, but having a rather firmer understanding of and rooting in each other's disciplines. It also reminded me that honestly? periodization across the disciplines can be sort of difficult.

Anyway, it was a very great time, and my esteemed colleague from VA Tech and Modern Medieval put on a really good conference. There were blogger meetups without planning them, and I got to report some fun stuff back to a person who probably needs a new nickname, so that was nice.

Otherwise, my weekend also included some interesting prospects on the personal front...maybe. And I have now officially started to worry about my writing commitments.

2 comments:

Anastasia said...

I agree with you about interdisciplinarity. It's precisely why I tend to think most classicists and historians I know are particularly bad at interdisciplinarity when it comes to my discipline, religion. It's precisely because they don't seem to understand that it is a discipline with it's own conventions and methods. Conversations and methods that are important to religion are often not taken seriously.

tenthmedieval said...

I shall stop raising my eyebrows for a moment and say, instead: ha! I am plotting to use Agobard's bit on the Magonians as an unseen passage for my interview candidates this year, on the basis that I assume none of them will ever have met it before. The more it leaks on to the web like this, of course, the less well that works. What was Prof. Tinkler saying about it, and do you know if it will be printed?

All in all it sounds like a good conference, anyway. I wonder if I can afford two US trips next year... But I fear it's not possible in term-time, alas!