Kalamazoo 2012

As promised here’s the post for today, though later than I’d like. Kalamazoo was more than just a blast. It was a valuable experience both professionally and educationally, and I made some good friends while I was there. It was nearly a full week of twenty-one hour days, staying up until three am talking, and then getting back up at six to get to breakfast and the plenary lecture. 

Here are just some of the highlights:

  • Arriving at Bilbo’s Pizza after eight hours on the road (including two at the border) to rest our weary bones and consume delicious Shire food.
  • Having my first session turn into a round table about how hierarchies, particularly medieval ones, are used to direct players in games.
  • Hearing some great stories from scholars who struggle to love their work in a discussion about how scholar’s relationships with their chosen text is similar to that of romance.
  • Talking with MEMO during the business meeting about how we can increase our internet presence and giving my first academic presentation with them that night. More on that to come this summer.
  • Meeting up with Milly Budny of the Research Group on Manuscript Evidence, an inspiring woman who’s both academic and entrepreneur, and talking until the wee hours of the morning.
  • Talking with the students who came with us about their experiences. For some of them, it was their first time at a conference like this, and it was pretty special. I hope to get some of their accounts up on Labyrinth, the UW’s classical studies student resource, this summer.
  • Attending a Gregorian chant workshop, where we learned medieval musical notation and sang actual Gregorian chants. I recorded one and I’m working on a song for it, because I’m inspired by community created music. If you’re a scholar who came here looking for it, I should have it ready for next week’s update.
  • Performing some music at the traditional Kalamazoo singalong, and giving them a Canadian content bump with some Barenaked Ladies and Leonard Cohen.
  • Organizing the first ever Kalamazoo Tweetup, where I met some scholars from all over the continent, including Peter from Medievalists.net, an amazing resource for news on medieval studies.
  • The Pseudo Society session, always the highlight of the conference, where I learned that Tolkein is not all that he seems, and what’s hot (and not) in the world of medieval studies fashion.
  • Spending the conference rooming with a friend of mine who’s now doing his PHD at Western, and whose company and intellectual contributions I’ve sorely missed.

Sunday was bittersweet as always, but we said our goodbyes and hit the road. I hope to be there next year, but we’ll have to see how things work out. Every year I’ve been to Kalamazoo I find it transformative, and I’ve never met so many people who are absolutely in love with their work. This year was special because I got to see the business side of things, being there as a scholar, rather than a student. It’s a different world, but one that might have a place for me yet.

Despite all of that, there were also blog updates this week. TPK featured a post on how to use secrets to make the game more interesting, and a wiki update on the elven homeland. Concept Crucible has a post on the thigns I’ve learned from Minecraft, and the substitution rule of the week is Conditional Exchange. Also, we’re just two weeks away from Headshots from the Heart, so head over to the site and check out some of our sponsors, interviewees, auction items, and the other amazing things we have going up every day there.

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