April 27th, 2009

Vanitas desk

Mission Accomplished?

For the past several years, Elisabeth Carnell and I have organized a series of sessions at the Medieval Congress at Kalamazoo on "Weblogs and the Academy". This series has, in its short history, featured roundtable discussions and academic papers. Here's what we've covered:

2006 - “Weblogs and the Academy: Internet Presence and Professional Discourse among Medievalists (A Roundtable)”
2007 - “Weblogs and the Academy: Pedagogy, Professionalism, and Technical Practices (A Roundtable)”.
2008 - “Weblogs and the Academy: Professional and Community Outreach through Internet Presence”.
2009 - “Weblogs and the Academy: The Scope of the Professional and Boundaries of the Personal in Open, Pseudo-Anonymous, and Anonymous Blogging”

They've been good sessions. (I have high hopes for the one which hasn't happened yet too.) They've presented stimulating ideas and fostered lively discussion both at the conference and back in the online world. They've been another way of helping to create community among medievalist bloggers. They've attracted an excellent variety of scholars to speak.

But we'd like to stop while we're ahead, before we've exhausted the topic entirely. We've covered the biggest issues we can think of and had a whole variety of exciting bloggers (of anonymous and named blogs) in to analyze it all.

What happens next?

Well, the world of medievalist bloggers is going strong. It doesn't particularly need our help. Having sessions on blogs at academic conferences has become more common over the years, so there are other opportunities for exploring the topic these days, at Kalamazoo among other places. Perhaps someone else would like to organize sessions around this topic.

If you can think of any major themes we've missed, we'd consider them: but we'd be even happier to support other people in organizing them in the future, assuming there's a need for them. Is there?
Fishy Circumstances

Hedgehogs of Doom

On the train on my way back from Canterbury today, I was reading The Tempest, as one does when one has assigned it to one's students for the week. I was struck by the plague of hedgehogs with which Caliban is afflicted. They're Prospero's fault.

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The footnote in the edition I was reading helpfully glossed "urchin" as "goblins disguised as hedgehogs". But same difference, really, for the purpose of perceiving doomish hedgehogs.

This reminds me of the Hedgehog of the Destruction of Ninevah, which I mentioned, but did not show, in my Eastercon talk. I know that a number of you have been curious.

A few years ago, C. and I were visiting Amiens. I realized that I would own the copyright on all the photos I took, which proved a real incentive for me to take a whole lot of them. I don't know if I noticed the hedgehog at the time, but noting it in retrospect, I sent it to oursin, who aggregates hedgehogs. ("Collect" may be too formal a verb for it.)

Curious as to what an image of a hedgehog was doing, hanging out on the west portal of the cathedral, I looked it up before sending it. Which is how I learned about the Hedgehog of the Destruction of Ninevah. (See it here in context with the signs of the zodiac and labors of the months.)

See also An article on the hedgehog.