Wednesday, May 14, 2003

Congrats St. Scarlett on the completed M.Phil and your new status as Ph.D candidate! Also congrats on acquiring some time for a life... (I want some!) Although I'll have a few days off starting as soon as I finish the paper (on the status of the heart in the 13th century Anchoresses' Rule) that's due on Friday. I suppose I should spend those days off on thesis work... but I'm definitely approaching burn out and it's bad. I need to be relaxed by the time I get to Berkeley so I can deal with the new stress there...

Hmm, Nordic Congress of Ethnology and Folklore. That sounds like... I'm not quite sure what it sounds like, actually. Lace and Slovakia, though, that's intriguing. Much more interesting than Habermas (whoever he is), I think.

Medieval jousting tourney, Iris? Certainly, if not an authentic tournament, at least one of the tournaments in the romances of Chretien de Troyes and Marie de France, where the knights display their prowess at arms and bear the sleeves of their ladies-love (lady-loves?). I'm not actually sure how many times these kinds of tournaments occurred historically, and I certainly doubt that they always carried the kind of prestige/sexual benefit that the romances ascribe to them.

You're right about K-Zoo as a kind of competitive space, where prowess is shown by clarity of scholarship and alliances form and grow, while academic wars are quietly fought in the background.

I don't know if you noticed, but we went to a number of "popular" sessions... Arthurian, Tolkien, et cetera. There's a movement (represented mostly by the elder generation) that feels these subjects not to be overly worth studying. The theologians have their clique (you saw them at the Aquinas/Pecham/On Sitting like Socrates session) and the scholars of women's anchoritism have theirs (both the Ancrene Wisse session and the Barking Abbey session). It's quite possible to attend Kalamazoo and only go to sessions in your own particular tiny corner of the Middle Ages. (That is, unless you study medieval Spanish history, three different sessions of which were at the same time on Sunday morning, which, by the way, is the most hellish slot in the entire conference.) The academic wars are there, but if you stay in your own place, you'll only hear one side of them.

I must get work done today. I must get work done today. I must get work done today. Farewell, good sisters.

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