DISCLAIMER: this is going to be much more a Sara-post than an FDR-post. Sorry!
This week, especially Monday and Tuesday were extremely busy – I was at the Huizinga PhD-symposium in Hilversum. The Huizinga Instituut is the national research school for cultural history; at this symposium the more or less advanced PhD candidates in cultural history present their research. I’ve known most of the people since we all just started (e.g. David Duindam, Linda Bleijenberg, Marrigje Rikken, Marrigje Paaijmans, Abel Streefland, Suze Zijlstra), so it’s great to see how everybody is doing now (frighteningly well, actually, most of them). To make it all even better (and more intimidating), every presenter invites a senior scholar from their field, in my case Ann Rigney, who is a great cultural memory specialist. I had to present on Monday morning, and I was (and had been) too nervous. It went well, I received great – encouraging as well as constructive – feedback, and I have no reason to be other than very pleased with it all, except that it was over before I felt I was quite there.
The rest of the symposium was great fun – the other presentations were really good, it was gratifying to see that my referent was one of the best and the Huizinga PhDs really are my tribe. It was a pity that I had to go to bed before everyone else (it was 11:30pm, I had sustained myself on luxury apple juice all evening, and just couldn’t keep my eyes open), but nice to sleep all by myself for once.
The symposium continued throughout Tuesday and Wednesday, but I had to leave during the last presentation on Tuesday, to drive to Leiden and teach Ian McEwan’s Atonement (Tuesday evening AND Wednesday morning). It’s one of my favorite books, but I hadn’t taught it before – thankfully, the students did a great job so it was a good class, despite my own lack of organized preparation.
Since Wednesday afternoon I’ve been mulling over Ann Rigney’s commentary (I’ll say more about this later) and brainstorming about the new chapter (see previous post), but now that the pressure is off a bit I’m also just tired. I’m looking forward to two more teaching weeks, eight more working weeks, and then 16 weeks maternity leave. All with nice weather.