Monday, February 18, 2008

I assume the part about the dance floor is metaphorical...

Your time of day has a split personality -- sometimes it's sweat-streaked and loud, and you're on the dance floor, getting your third wind, and shouting lyrics like you'll never run out of energy. You are the time of night that carves itself into your memory forever, because you'll never forget how much you love these people and this moment and this song. It's not always about unforgettable parties, though. Sometimes your late night (err... early morning) burst of energy happens when you're home alone. Those are the times when you say, "I flat out refuse to go to sleep until I finish reading this book, or typing this page, or reorganizing my entire closet." In either case, you are the time of night when it feels sort of forbidden to be awake, but you love accomplishing something special long after everyone else went to bed. And hey -- you can always catch up on sleep tomorrow, right?

Thursday, February 14, 2008

CFP: International Society for the History of Rhetoric

Almost didn't see this one in time...
The Seventeenth Biennial Conference of the International Society for the History of Rhetoric (ISHR) will be held in Montreal, Canada, from Wednesday, July 22th July to Sunday, July 26 2009.

The biennial conference of ISHR brings together several hundred specialists in the history of rhetoric from around thirty countries. This will be the first meeting of the Society in Canada since 1997.

The Society calls for papers that focus on the theory and practice of rhetoric in its historical contexts from classical period to the present.

The main theme of the conference is "Innovative Perspective in the History of Rhetoric". Over the last two decades, new fields of investigation have emerged in the research being done in the history of rhetoric – or should we say "Histories of rhetorics". New spheres of activities (religious studies, queer studies, feminist writings, etc.) as much as new geographical areas (Amerindian, Asian and African traditions, among others) have questioned the a priori of a universal and hegemonic model based on a classical and occidental definition of the history of rhetoric. Papers exploring these new trends in Western and Eastern Europe, Northern Europe, Asia, Africa, and the Americas are welcomed.

Papers are also invited on every aspect of the history of rhetoric in all periods and languages and the relationship of rhetoric to poetics, literary theory and criticism, philosophy, politics, law, and other elements of the cultural context.

Proposals should be submitted for a 20-minute presentation delivered in English, French, German, Italian, Latin, or Spanish.

Group proposals are welcome, under the following conditions. The group must consist of 3 or 4 speakers dealing with a common theme in order to form a coherent panel. One person must be responsible for the panel. Each paper must stand on its own as an independent presentation. Each speaker submits a proposal form for his or her own paper; proposals for such papers must specify the group for which they are intended. In addition, the person who is responsible for the group must complete and submit a form explaining the purpose of the proposed panel.

Proposals for papers and for groups must be submitted on-line ( Please fill out the on-line form carefully.

Proposals may also be sent by mail to the following address:
Diane Desrosiers-Bonin, McGill University, Department of French Language and Literature, 853 Sherbrooke West, Montreal (Qc), Canada H3A 2T6.

Guidelines for preparing proposals are provided at the bottom of this message. The length of the abstracts must not exceed 350 words.

The deadline for submitting proposals is May 15th, 2008.

Notifications of acceptance will be sent out in September 2008. In a few cases participants may require an earlier acceptance date in order to secure funding. We will try to accommodate such requests if they are made with appropriate documentation.

Information about the conference, including accommodation at negotiated favorable rates, will be provided during the academic year 2008-2009. The conference registration fee is still to be determined; by way of indication it was around 125 euros / 150 US dollars for the previous conferences. Graduate students and scholars from certain countries may be eligible for reduced registration fees.

Looking forward to your participation,

Diane Desrosiers-Bonin
President, International Society for the History of Rhetoric

Guidelines for the preparation of proposals :
The members of ISHR come from many countries and academic disciplines. The following guidelines are intended to make it easier for us to come together and understand one another's proposals. The Program Committee recommends that all proposals contain:

1) a definition - accessible to a non-specialist - of the field of the proposal, including chronological period, language, texts, and other sources;

2) a statement of the problem that will be treated; its place in relation to the present state of research in the field under consideration; its stakes for the history of rhetoric;

3) a summary of the stages of argumentation involved in treating the problem;

4) scientific results and gains.

Monday, February 11, 2008

Somebody help me...

I've just used "thematize", "narrativize," and "textualize" all together in one paragraph.

Does anyone have an enema for my brain?

Some interesting posts to get back to when I have time

These posts are all related to access in academic publishing--access to publications (as a writer) and open access to published resources (in other words, open access).
(I know, I should really figure out one of these days...)

Saturday, February 09, 2008

CNY Vignettes

Kerim has a post illustrating more-or-less what my CNY (Chinese New Year) has been like so far. More or less because I've been trying to work in the midst of CNY festivities and have been less successful at work than Kerim seems to have been.

Last year we took off the day after CNY to go to Oberlin. So this year we're spending some time with the in-laws (who fortunately have a net connection), and I'm prepared. I've brought along a big huge book to read and some of my dissertatables. But I don't have my laptop along because I figure(d) I can use the computer in the living room when no one else is at it. I don't want to spend too much time hiding up in the third floor bedroom away from everyone. That'd be unsociable.

When we get there I find that my biggest competition for computer time, my five-year-old nephew, is coming CNY Eve--a surprise since I thought they wouldn't show until the next day at least. Oh well. I always have my book.

Reading turns out to be OK, but I have to do it in our third-floor bedroom away from all the noise going on downstairs. I have to wrap myself up in a couple of blankets, too, since the room is about 10 degrees C. (That's cold!) After a few hours of that, my very long American nose has icicles hanging from it.


The red envelope in the nephew's pocket keeps falling out, and finally his mom can't stand it anymore and tells him she's confiscating it. He says, "You can have it."



"Does it still have money in it?"

"Yes, it does." Pause. "I love you, so I'm giving it to you."

From what I know about Hakka families, family members don't say "I love you" very much, so my sister-in-law's face registers a combination of emotions: tenderness mixed with shock mixed with embarrassment. (He's sure to make use of this the next time his dad yells at him.)


A couple of days later, I finally get a chance to spend some time on the diss. during a lull in the computer use. I gather up my Oolong tea and my dissertatables and set myself in front of the computer. Pop in my flash drive, open up my new chapter in Word. I decide to resave my file under a new name, just in case, but find that I can't find the "Save as..." function. (They have a really new version of Word, all crazy colors and undecipherable icons and I can't do a thing with it...) So I give up on resaving and just start working. A few minutes later I want to insert a footnote and find I can't find the insert footnote function, either. So I end up copying and pasting another footnote and changing its content. Whatever.

After about 10 minutes of this, the nephew comes over wondering what game I'm playing. We end up playing the crazy taxi driver game on the computer instead, since we agree my game wasn't as interesting as this is. The crazy taxi driver game is where you drive the wrong way down streets, through parks and lakes, into mailboxes and palm trees and up walls in order to get your fares to their destinations asap. (It's great training for future drivers here.) We play that until dinner time. After dinner visitors come by and you pretty much can't dissertate in the living room when you've got company. Lots of folks ask me how my dissertation is going and tell me I need to work harder on it.


It finally happens--something I've been worrying would happen for years. With an evil grin on his face, my nephew comes up to me as we're all sitting in the living room, looks at me, and announces, "Meiguo ren!" *Sigh* My own nephew... Maybe I shouldn't have insisted that he call me "Uncle" in English...

Despite that, my wife and I take him out to a coffee house/amusement park-type something or other place (undefinable this place is) the next day. He and I take a ride on a little train that runs around the park, we get him a balloon, and he runs around for a while, which worries us (especially when he runs down the 45 degree hill to the parking lot). But he's pretty well behaved and doesn't call me "Meiguo ren" anymore, so I can't complain.

So I haven't gotten a whole lot of work so far since 2/6, but I suppose when I look back on this winter break, I won't count it a total loss. And we still have a few weeks until the spring semester starts, so I'm not totally without hope.