Jesus built my Tardis*

Highlights from today's Culture and What We Do Workshop at a place that's not TUWSNBN:

- Was I the only one who found "Huguenot Transnational Movements" funny? Did they not remind you of the anti-globalisation protesters who congregrate on the Mall every so often in DC?

- The best story (since there was a lot of talk about judging stories. I still say the interesting question is how is a story claimed and recognised as a story anyway rather than what constitutes a good/better/best story) was the one by the old Jesuit bloke about his stay in a monastery in Syria and about his work in the "world of theology" where they apparently "do history" (but not in the you know not very pleasant meaning of the term "do"). There was also a lot of talk about the "same God, one God" and about fleeing Christians.

- The finger rules: Apparently it's fairly common these days to raise one finger to say you have a question and two fingers to say you want to add on to the topic currently being discussed. Two fingers are quite possibly also useful for doing this. I'm just saying it's a distinct possibility.

- It's rather fun to watch the ways in which people read a text. Where I saw Tilly (and oh why didn't Fluff the Magic Dalek talk more about causation?), one critic saw "jargon". Where I read factors, another wanted a hub-and-spoke dependent variable. The more I attend these things (workshops, not finger-raising sessions), the more I realise how different the languages which we approach our subject matter with are. E is possibly going to write more about that. Possibly.

- As with much of English (I'm a bit better on the Irish-English aspects) and European history, Blackadder had provided me with my in-depth knowledge of the subject so far. Today, thanks to FTMD, I added a bit more to my store of knowledge about the topic.

- "Caught up in Bohemian politcs": I guess he didn't mean down in Freak street**.

- In the wood-panelled room, sitting around a large wooden table, I kept expecting Professor Dumbledore to walk in at any time during our discussions. Or, offer me some trifle to help me think about whether research should be generalisable and where do you stop (short answers: Yes, but and you stop when you run out of money).

- I didn't get why FTMD focused exclusively on Protestantism when asked about why his research mattered. Didn't it also matter because the research was describing a (relatively) new way of talking about causation in world politics? Didn't it also matter because it's using insights from sociology to help us understand world politics problems?

- Why is everyone so vehement about disciplinary boundaries? E is going to (hopefully) slag off the anti-humanities/literature folks but, hey, I have a degree in the humanities and it's not any better (or worse) than my PhD-ing will be. Except PhD is from an American university so that makes me more employable in the non-American world (hopefully). Content-wise, community-building wise, epistemic-community wise, disciplinary boundaries are a bloody pain in the a*(^ and should be transgressed or ignored as much as possible. So there.

- The knock-down fight on ideal types at the end of the session. It made everything worthwhile. One would hardly think of ideal types as something worth fighting over but they were. And, it was a fun fight (My view: ideal types are evaluative since they are built for comparative purposes. Some folks just seem to see "evaluative" differently).

- E and another not TUWSNBN PhD-er both had AnotherBigNameConference pens.

- Passing notes across the big table is really obvious. And, I think we're getting too old to pass notes.

- A brief shoutout to my part of the world by FTMD. (East) Asia is apparently putting out a lot of research on the similarities between the current situation in world politics and events in European history.

- Of the fifteen people present, half were TUWSNBN folks. Don't other DC unis have people of their own? Do we have to make up the numbers at all these events? Eh?

- Being introduced (along with E) as a "Doctor Who nut". I prefer "someone interested in the sociocultural implications of television as exemplified by that venerable show, Doctor Who" myself. Or, a Who-ee for short.

I'm headed off to check up on Syrian monasteries and residences in said structures but will leave yous in the capable hands of E, who will hopefully be writing up a more substantial and AngryYoungPerson post on what went on. Hopefully. One of us has to be angry. I hear it sells blogs.

* Thanks to E for the title inspiration. Maybe that's my paper topic for this gig: the impact of Doctor Who on Images of Empire.

** PTSD would like to make a disclaimer (one of many) that, despite this street being fairly close to school, this half of PTSD didn't actually spend time there. Oh, and it's not always that smoky as in the picture. Really it's not.


At 9/29/2006 11:02 AM, Blogger Bionic-Woman said...

Some quick bullet-pointed thoughts:
1. I agree with the you re: the interesting qs about stories.
2. I can't believe the finger rules have caught on. The pic rocks.
3. Tilly being read as "jargon" is rather alarming :-(.
4. Agreed wholeheartedly on disciplinary boundaries. Quick thought: if you can deploy it in the argument effectively it shouldn't be an issue. Why do I say that? Coz sometimes people try to pass off their general flakiness as "interdisciplinarity".
5. Note-passing = always a good idea!

Awaiting E's AYP thoughts....

We gotta have a conversation someday IRL where you talk the way you blog...Blogger P always says what she thinks and the RL-P I often interact with leaves stuff out or decides not to participate.

At 9/29/2006 11:21 AM, Blogger Priya said...

Amusing--maybe it's you more than me? Since P IRL is pretty much the Blogger P (ask all and sundry, esp the woman who fired me a few weeks ago :-))

Except perhaps a bit quieter and not participating in itself is participating (or so I reckon).

At 9/29/2006 2:42 PM, Blogger Bionic-Woman said...

Or, perhaps the configuration that is you and me or in which we have found ourselves in the most part...which of course hasn't happened too frequently in RL either. Yup not participating is technically a form of participation in the comm studies sense but I meant more the fact that I always get more teasers of your opinions than the entire festival which almost always end with the "never mind" shrug...I like the entire festival coz I can actually get to see more of you in that...just a harmless, no offense intended comment :-). I think I might have had this conversation with E in the past....not entirely sure though.

At 9/29/2006 6:02 PM, Blogger Elizabeth said...

Yeah, probably. It sounds familiar.

And how come I have to be the AYP? Why can't I be the reasonable one?

Don't answer that.


Post a Comment

<< Home