Figure 1. young Chechen soldier in Grozny, Chechnya (1995)
by EILEEN JOY
Just a quick note to to remind everyone again of Wiley-Blackwell's 2009 Compass Interdisciplinary Virtual Conference, which began last Monday and runs through tomorrow, The theme is "Breaking Down Barriers," with special emphases on Paradigms, Borders, The Environment/Energy, Communication, and Justice/Human Rights. The conference has over 800 registered delegates from all over the globe, which is exciting, while the actual number of papers is just about two a day [including, every other day, a keynote lecture, for a total of 17 papers and 5 keynote lectures], giving all of us plenty of time to read each other's work and comment. It's been exciting to read papers from so many disciplines and to participate in the dialogue back and forth between evolutionary psychologists, linguists, historians, sociologists, geographers, political theorists, gerontologists, urban studies scholars, cognitive philosophers, medical anthropologists, literary historians, and the like, covering topics ranging from literary geography to waste studies to disability studies to floodplain catastrophes to sociolinguistics to governance in virtual communities to moral panic, and beyond. And in many of the papers and discussions among and between the papers, there have been some really engaged commentary over the nature and practice of interdisciplinarity in general.
It has been heartening as well to see the participation of medievalists in the conference--most prominently, as keynote speakers, paper presenters and respondents: myself, Susan Morrison, Wendy Turner, and Valerie Allen. My keynote lecture [by videocast], in which I try to make the plea for the importance of medieval studies to ongoing debates about the post-human [and human rights], goes live today and, if curious, you can see that here:
Reading Beowulf in the Rubble of Grozny: Pre/modern, Post/human, and the Question of Being-Together