Pimms, Psellos and the Psychosexual

As I’m taking ample advantage of the beeeeautiful weather here, drinking Pimms, eating crusty baguette (ooh the snobbery) and planning my next few posts, I just thought I’d do a quick one advertising that I am giving a talk! Tomorrow! And it’s not yet finished!

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Pimms O’ Clock!

The paper I’m giving is entitled “Gendering Eleventh Century Byzantium: Michael Psellos, rhetoric and gender strategy in the Chronographia” and is far more interesting than it sounds. It’s part of the Centre for Byzantine, Ottoman and Modern Greek Studies Annual Colloquium and this years theme is “Middle Earth: Exchange, Influence, Memory & Legacy 300-2012” – so a pretty broad timespan.

CBOMGS Colloquium Poster

Postgraduate conferences and colloquiums are a vital part of most students lives as they allow us to get the experience we need in presenting research to a (often too well informed) public and improving our communication skills; not to mention that all vital skill of being able to publicly debate with people who, to put it delicately, hold a completely different view to you. These conferences can be extremely nerve wracking; currently I’m at the level of presenting where I completely blank on everything I want to say so need to really carefully script my speech, practically verbatim. Hopefully this will improve…

So if you ever get the chance to go along and support a friend or colleague at a conference then please, please, please take it. Even if you think you won’t have the slightest interest in any of the topics you WILL be surprised. One conference I attended late last year, following a talk I didn’t think would be all that interesting, actually ended up in everyone in the audience discussing the religious and psychosexual implications of pouring wax over your, ahem, vagina in the Medieval period to re-virginise (is that even a word??) yourself.* Sex and the City has nothing on a room full of women and men (though, admittedly, mainly women) with an average age of 55 talking about sexual self punishment and Medieval erotic symbolism behind mouths and teeth.

Also if anybody, who is happening to be giving a paper at a conference, colloquium, symposium etc. happens upon this, here are a few wonderful blog posts by Dr Liz Gloyn (yes from UoB…I am very loyal what can I say) of the Classically Inclined blog giving some handy tips on preparing for and attending academic conferences: hey presto and  voila.

Finally I noticed that the British Museum Blog has a follow up post on the Beau Street Hoard so, not wanting to ‘hit it and quit it’ (using this phrase in an entirely incorrect way I realise) here is the link in case you are interested.

Until next time,

Helen.

*Unfortunately I cannot remember which Saint this particular talk was on. I will endeavor to find out and do a post on her.

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