Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Meeting strangers...

Some people are better at meeting strangers than others, I have never been very good at it -though sometimes with little encouragement I will put out my hand and introduce myself. This is what happened on Saturday just gone by.

The Arts Faculty held their induction day for all new Research Higher Degree (RHD) students. It was an opportunity to meet the Dean, various Professors and interact with about twenty new students. Suffice to say people are amazing, I met someone doing an Economics and Philosophy PhD, one on Middle Eastern Religion and even one on IT and Pedagogy. Current students and graduates also spoke about their experiences during their own RHD - there was a creative writing PhD student, a Comparative Literature PhD, a Political History and a Music Composer. It was amazing to be surrounded by people from such diverse fields, but all so passionate about their area and their research.

Still on the uni idea, Tuesday night was the first class for the Advanced Research Methods course that is compulsory for all new RHD students. I again met a range of new people and we had to share our freshly devised synopsises with each other. This turned out to be a great method of introduction that eclipsed putting your hand out as a way of meeting strangers.

This week has been great, I did a "How to write a Thesis" seminar and a "How to write a Literature Review" class, and attended an engaging, fast paced public lecture by Simon During titled "How to live in endgame capitalism", based around his latest book Exit Capitalism: Literary Culture, Theory and Post-Secular Modernity. Very very interesting (another birthday idea Mum and Dad?).

Description from the Routledge website:

Exit Capitalism explores a new path for cultural studies and re-examines key moments of British cultural and literary history. Simon During argues that the long and liberating journey towards democratic state capitalism has led to an unhappy dead-end from which there is no imaginable exit.

In this context, what do the humanities look like? What’s alive and what’s dead in the culture and its heritage?

It becomes clear that the contemporary world order remains imperfect not just because it is unjust but because it cannot meet ethical standards produced in a past that still knew genuine hope. Simon During emphasises the need to rethink the position of Christianity and religion in the past, and at a more concrete level, also analyses how the decline of the socialist ideal and the emergence of endgame capitalism helped to produce both modern theory and cultural studies as academic fields.


  1. Glad the meeting strangers thing is going well. I am usually one way or the other, bubbly and chatty like anything, or totally reserved and sitting on the side lines, can't see to find that middle ground!

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  3. i find it hard meeting strangers too. i think its easier if in the room most people are strangers to one another. it really difficult meeting them when they are all in established groups! that i find hard actually i probably just avoid it : )
    thanks for stopping by and saying hi, i have been meaning to all week. your lovely sister always says nice things about you. i hope you brooch has arrived safe and sound it was sent the day after you ordered. i guess it could still be on its way but shouldnt be far. enjoy what is left of the weekend x evie


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