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I’ve held off noting these reports beginning to emerge, because I wanted to put them all together in one post, but it seems like they’re going to trickle in over a relatively longish period, and I’m impatient. Here, I therefore point you, dear reader, in the direction of the admirable Magistra et Mater, who has begun compiling reports on sessions from the 2012 Leeds IMC:

IMC 2012 report 1: rules, filth and gender

IMC 2012 report 2: an early medieval sandwich

IMC 2012 report 3: Hincmar and the rest

Further reports will be linked back to this post as they appear.

Bodington Hall is for sale. Some may not be sad, others will miss it with the kind of nostalgia that only comes from having adapted to crummy conditions and found it a bonding experience...

Bodington Hall is for sale. Some may not be sad, others will miss it with the kind of nostalgia that only comes from having adapted to crummy conditions and found it to be a bonding experience… Photo by Particulations.

And this segues nicely into a glimpse forward to the IMC this year, which will be the first at the much vaunted new ‘on-campus’ locale. (For those of you who haven’t had the pleasure, the IMC previously took place at the University of Leeds’ residential halls, which are (or rather, were – they’re apparently being demolished, and some may say ‘good riddance’…) about 25 mins north of the city by bus, set among some charming sports grounds and not-quite-so-charming urban ring-road roundabouts. I will admit that the first time I went to the meeting I failed to note this and booked a ‘handy’ B&B directly opposite the campus proper, which meant I missed out on lots of the late evening shin-digs as I schlepped back to my digs on the last bus home…) I’m not sure yet how I feel about the move. No – actually I am sure: I feel ambivalent. The facilities may indeed be newer, nicer, shinier and better provided with air conditioning, but the fact that we will all be much closer to town, and therefore much closer to lots of alternative options for spending ‘non-conference’ time lurks as a significant potential drawback. Read the rest of this entry »

This is one of those wonderful moments in which something one reads for “breadth” turns out to be an essential spark for restarting the engine of the project one is supposed to be working on. But perhaps that’s not so surprising: the brain becomes attuned to thinking about certain things. It might not even strictly be thinking, because while new flashes of insight can come of it, it is really a kind of mental path of least resistance through which new information is processed by reference to old. The brain – or perhaps I should say ‘the mind’ – likes patterns. As shown in the famous, or infamous, pigeon experiment discussed by Richard Dawkins in The Enemies of Reason (above), it is attuned to seeking them in the exterior world; it is equally attuned to performing them in the interior mechanisms of thought. Thinking about, or returning to the familiar idea of codes and encoding as a mode of producing and understanding texts (whether we mean then or now) is one of my ‘mind habits’, as some readers may know.

So, speaking of patterns, I suppose no one ought to be surprised that this comment leapt out at me from Michael Camille’s discussion of Derrida’s engagement with the image of Socrates and Plato from Matthew Paris’ copy of The Prognostics (Oxford, Bodleian, MS Ashmole 304, f. 31v.), videlicet:

[a] message… is encoded and its decipherment is dependent upon the addresser and addressee sharing the same code.[1]

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I teach and research at the Centre for Medieval & Renaissance Studies in the School of Philosophical, Historial and International Studies, Monash University (Australia). Views expressed here are my own and not representative of the CMRS, SOPHIS or Monash.

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