Sunday, May 23, 2010

Satellite Campus

Day two of the conference was quite eventful. I skipped the early morning sessions to wander around the downtown area. The cottage country towns really flourished in the 40s, when the wealthy families in Toronto bought up land for cottages, and the architecture of the towns often reflects that. I found a small tea shop and had a delicious breakfast made with local cranberries, before perusing the farmers' market. I didn't wind up buying anything because I had nowhere to put the produce, alas. I also got to take a few good pictures, including one of a bell tower for Girl Tuesday.

Luce Irigaray was the keynote speaker, appearing via satellite from France. She was very much how I had imagined her to be, right down to her mannerisms. She was also very funny, which I hadn't anticipated. She spoke to us in English, but had many of the questions translated into French, which was quite interesting to watch--many of the questions became only pieces or approximations in translation.

My own paper was well-received, despite being in the last panel for the day. I don't think that I read it as well as I could have, but for my first time around I was pretty happy with it. The moderator for my panel has encouraged me to revise and submit it for publication, so that gives me another thing to add to my list of things to do this summer. The rest of my panel was also quite good: one person discussed how Disney's Beauty and the Beast rewrites the story of Cupid and Psyche, and the other talked about how atonal music is used in an expression of love. It's really cool to see people who are so enthusiastic about the things that they are researching--almost infectious, even. I even had a couple of people tell me that listening to my paper made them want to rewatch the films that I'd discussed, even though they hadn't enjoyed the films the first time around.

The conference as a whole was overwhelming in the sense that while it was interdisciplinary, it was dominated by philosphers and political scientists, which is quite intellectually intimidating once people get going. (It's also good for reminding me of the gaps in my own knowledge; I haven't done much theory since finishing my MA, and some of it, like Spinoza, I haven't read since high school.)

The real highlight of yesterday, though, was dinner. One of my colleagues came down to see my paper, and he stuck around for dinner, which wound up being a six course vegan affair. We sat with Gad Horowitz and Shannon Bell . The food and the conversation was delicious. I wound up at a pub afterwards (that did not have my beloved Strongbow on tap, though they made for that with Sleeman) discussing the current political climate at the university. (I'll write more about that tomorrow.) I met one of the political science profs from the university, who asked me what courses I was taking, and who guessed my age at 22.1 Needless to say, I did not get in until late (which is why I didn't update yesterday). I'm looking forward to sleeping in my own bed tonight.

All in all, it was a pretty good weekend. I did a reasonable job of not letting my social anxieties get the better of me, though the banquet dinner the first night was a real challenge in that respect. There was good food and good conversation--what more could I ask for?

1 Flattering? Strange? The jury is still out.

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