Dear internet: Sam and I will be at Leeds this year! (Kiera won’t; she’s doing ANZAMEMS and #DH2015 instead) I am super excited to be back at medievalist camp after two years away.
Things you might like to know, if you wish to either locate me or avoid me:
- You can find me, along with Regan Eby and Rachel Moss and our delightful moderator Valerie Johnson at panel 821 on Tuesday afternoon. The panel is entitled “Elusive Affection”; I’m giving a paper entitled “Lancelot in the Friend Zone” and Rachel and Regan will be doing fascinating things with historical sources. Why should you come to this panel? I dunno, but I can tell you why I organised it: because I find all these feelings things very confusing and like to take my confusion out on historical sources. By way of précis, a chunk from my paper (which I have finished early, for once):
Modern sociologists working on relationships have trouble agreeing on the defining element of friendship, especially as pertains to women. What separates a friend from a family member (or makes some family members friends and others merely relatives?)? What distinguishes friends from colleagues or acquaintances? In what ways is friendship like or unlike romantic love? Pat O’Connor, looking at friendships between women, synthesises four or five previous definitions of friendship and points out that all contain a bullet point for something she calls ‘primary quality’. Some of her sources called it affection, some intimacy; some talked about it in terms of the identity-shaping quality of the friendship; some in terms of felt “specialness”. This primary quality does not necessarily make a relationship exclusive – one person might have more than one such close friend – nor superlative, as such a friendship often exists alongside family and spousal bonds, some of which might be stronger or longer-standing. We don’t have a clear, discrete term for this ‘primary quality’ now: medieval English readers certainly didn’t. If that sounds too wishy-washy for you, my panellists are historians with srs facts! Regan, by the evidence of twitter, has found something exciting about pillaging as a form of homosocial bonding, and Rachel has many fascinating things to say about 15th c English gentry/nobility and their social relationships.
- You can find Sam talking about burial practices in Anglo-Saxon England at the New Voices in Ango-Saxon Studies panel, session 1001 on Wednesday. I don’t actually know what she’s got to say about them but given she won a prize for her hons thesis in this area I expect it will be very exciting.
- I will be going on the Kirkstall Abbey excursion on Wednesday (so not going to Sam’s panel. Sorry, Sam!)
- I will probably be tweeting, but sporadically since I don’t have data roaming!
- I’m not sure that I count as ‘flying solo’, given I’m presenting with my internet pals and travelling with Sam after Leeds, but I’m thinking of going to the Flying Solo / cool twitter people dinner on Wednesday.
- Lastly and most peculiarly, a while back I said to Rachel Moss that I’d bring a camera and collect photos for thisishowacademicsdress.tumblr.com. But I am really not up to harassing people for photos (especially since one’s clothes are not, in fact, the critical component of one’s conference participation). Still! I’ll have a camera. I want to practice taking photos of people instead of ducks. If you have an outfit you’re proud of (or horrified by? find particularly amusing?) and feel like contributing to an archive of the many and diverse ways one “looks like” an academic, waylay me!