Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Mellon Seminar

The semester is a week advanced and this year I am facilitating a Mellon Seminar. The topic? Mapping Death: Religious Preparations for the Afterlife Journey. The Seminar consists of myself, five graduate students from various departments (Religious Studies, French Studies, and Anthropology) and a webmaster. We are in the process of developing a webpage for the Seminar, so if you are interested you can track our progress.

Each student has an individual research project to work on, and then we are collaborating in terms of method and theory, sharing our approaches with each other. It is an exciting seminar and I am so pleased to be part of it. My own individual research project involves mapping ancient Gnostic metaphysics and praxis.

Here is a short description of the seminar:
This is a collaborative research seminar consisting of fellows working on cross-culturally mapping death journeys and religious preparations for them in order to investigate the relationship between the anticipated afterlife journey and the group's metaphysics and praxis. The fellows will be engaged in the creation and cultivation of a rich interdisciplinary approach to the comparative study of traditions, a 'new' history-of-traditions approach that is conscious of the historical contexture of traditions, their referentiality, confluence, communal generation and conveyance, responsiveness, changeability, accumulative nature, and variability in transmission. Members will be working on individual research projects related to the seminar's mission and their dissertations. At the end of the year, they will present their final projects in a roundtable symposium that also will feature invited papers from three external scholars who will visit the seminar at various sessions during the Spring semester. The papers from the symposium will be edited for publication in a volume.

Friday, August 27, 2010

What the new year has brought me

The trip to Bangor was wonderful. I had a good exchange with those in attendance and am inspired to continue my work on the Gospel of John. When I came home, I went on a family vacation for most of August to a place where the internet and cable TV don't exist (my sister's). My Blackberry was acting up (and still is: email and internet keep going down; what's the problem?) and so I didn't post a thing, not that much academic thinking was happening anyway.

Then when I got home, I returned to the aftermath of a flooded house. No not a hurricane. Not a tropical storm. But a broken pipe under my kitchen sink. So my place is a disaster. We are living in two upstairs bedrooms, hoping to get some contractors in soon to get started on the demo and rebuild. The floors are ruined. I have holes in my drywall. Base boards torn out. Painted surfaces destroyed.

And two days later, school started. So here I am. I will try to post more frequently, but amidst this mess I feel like it is good that I even make it to drop off my son at his school and show up at mine.

Oh, and Wade has started a new career this week as a high school science teacher...