Sunday, November 4, 2012

Thanks for a great conference!

The Making of the Humanities III is over. Thanks so much to all speakers and participants for your contributions! You were wonderful.

Information about the next conference in 2014 will be posted soon.

Best wishes,

Rens, Jaap and Thijs (the organizers)

Monday, October 22, 2012

Conference Handbook and Abstracts Are Online

The conference handbook with the full programme, abstracts and some practical information is online, and can be downloaded here. You will receive a hard copy version of the handbook at registration. A quick outline of the programme can be found here.

Some last practical info:

We cannot accept pin or credit card payments at the registration desk. So please bring cash for the conference fee and (optional) dinner -- see below under Registration for the exact costs.

There are direct trains from Fiumicino airport to the center of Rome. Taxis to the city center (i.e. within the Aurelian Walls) have currently a fixed standard fare of 48 euro; click here for more information.

Looking forward to seeing you all in Rome!

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Six Years Down

It is six years, almost to the day, since I went under the knife. I have just had my annual mammogram, ultrasound and review with my wonderful surgeon. I wrote about Suzanne a lot in the first months (here, here and here, especially) : she was a revelation to me, about how a brilliant technician could also be a calm, intelligent leader in the workplace. From my various encounters this morning,

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Teaching the History of Emotions

This year the Faculty of Arts introduced its controversial new coursework program. Until this year, the PhD in Arts at Melbourne was taught entirely by research thesis, externally assessed by examiners who had no contact with the student. Over the first year of their enrolment, our new students now must enrol in one of seven 2-hour fortnightly workshops, for which they

Sunday, September 30, 2012

Solo Improvisation - 30.9.12

This is Joel playing to a tiny video recorder when the house was otherwise empty this afternoon. This is how he is getting through the rigours of his VCE year. He sometimes struggles to balance the need to practise and play so he can do good auditions for music degrees at the end of the year, with the need to study and revise for his upcoming final exams.

My mother and I watched this together

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Evolutionary Music

Sometimes, and especially after dinner in the evenings, Joel will mooch towards the piano and start to play. At this end of the day it will usually be free improvisation. He will simply start to play, sometimes after a moment's thought; sometimes immediately.

Tonight, as the kettle boiled for tea, he produced three minutes of accelerating, deepening, bubbling, rippling sounds, ending abruptly

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Conference Programme is Online

The conference programme is now online and can be found here.

We received a total of 176 submissions of which 56 were selected for presentation (together with 5 keynote talks).

For registration, see below. We look forward to welcoming you in Rome!

Here is the location of the Conference Site (KNIR)

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Little updates

Wow, I could hardly remember how to sign in: it's been so long.

What's been happening? Here's a YouTube version of my book launch:

And here's a link to my fundraising page for my Very First Ever Fun Run this Sunday. I am going to run 10 kilometres around the Botanical Gardens and back and forth along the river, and am fund-raising for Amnesty.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

End of the story

It started as just a chapter in a proposed book on medievalism and gender, but Simon encouraged me to ditch the other chapters and just work on this chapter on the Order of the Garter. Even back then I knew I wanted to focus on the myth, whether true or no, of the Garter's origin in a embarrassing incident involving a piece of underwear dropping off in public. And I knew I didn't want to write a

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Gloria mundi

Yes, yes, I knew all about it. Little black planet looping around the sun. See it now — or eight years ago — and never see it again. Though the 'seeing' would be so heavily mediated you may as well watch it on TV or a computer animation.

Still, once invited to a Transit of Venus party/fundraiser with readings and music, I started to take a bit more interest, not least because Joel would be on

Monday, June 4, 2012

Registration is Open (extended to 25 September!)

Registration is now open, see below. Thanks to the generous support by the Royal Netherlands Institute in Rome (KNIR), the conference fee could be kept to 50 Euro only. The fee, which can be paid on site in cash only, includes coffee, tea and simple lunch for each day, a programme handbook and a copy of the proceedings of the last conference (The Making of the Humanities, Vol. II: From Early Modern to Modern Disciplines, Amsterdam University Press, 2012).

Registration for a single day is also possible, the fee of which is 15 Euro, but this does not include a copy of the proceedings which can be bought at reduced price of 40 Euro at the conference site.

The conference fee will be waived for (PhD) students -- please bring proof of student status. Free student registration includes lunch, drinks and a programme handbook, but it does not include a copy of the proceedings which can be bought at reduced price (40 Euro) at the conference site.

Registration for the conference dinner should be done before 25 September as well, the fee of which is 35 Euro per person.

See the location of the Conference Site (KNIR)


Please send an email no later than 25 September 2012 to with your name, affiliation, full address, and whether you join the full conference or just a single day. Please also mention whether you are a (PhD) student, and whether you want to join the conference dinner on Friday 2 November (35 Euro, please mention any dietary restrictions).


Participants will have to organize accommodation for themselves (except for the keynote speakers). Below follow some hotel suggestions.

Hotels in the neighbourhood of the conference site (KNIR):‎

More expensive hotels:

Cheap accommodation:

Rome's Convents (with curfew and relatively far from conference site)

Or find your preferred hotel via


The conference programme will be announced later this summer.

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Breath. Les voix d'enfants, chantant dans la coupole

My sister and two friends and I have children who sing. Not just singing in big choirs, or singing around the house, but singing in serious, career-forming ways. For example, a soprano doing post-post-graduate training in London; a twelve-year-old boy singing solos with the Melbourne Symphony, and appearing in the Magic Flute with the Australian Opera; another young soprano doing her A-level

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Writing, but not blogging

Want to see what I've been writing lately? It's not too late to help out with suggestions...

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Gleeful: Never My Love

Joel's vocal group doesn't have a proper name yet. They don't wear a uniform: "performance black and grey" is the dress code, which can mean anything from a white shirt, a black miniskirt, a grey cardigan, a pretty brown dress with a hint of white petticoat. They have only just learned to bow properly, together, and have almost stopped messing with their hair between songs. Some are tall; and

Friday, March 9, 2012

Utterly incomprehensible interwebz joke

I *will* finish this chapter and this review this weekend. In the meantime, by way of a warm-up to fabulous writing, check out Still Life with Cat's utterly fabulous utterly incomprehensible interwebz joke:

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Stéphanie la deuxième

One of the great joys of the Centre of Excellence has been the appointment of nine fabulous post-doctoral fellows in various hubs of the Centre around the country. We have two at Melbourne: Sarah and Stephanie. Both are fabulous young women who are throwing themselves into the work of the Centre with such enthusiasm it is quite inspiring. They have their own projects to work on; they are

Sunday, March 4, 2012

In which I go national

With thanks to the good people at the National Library, Humanities Researcher is now regularly being archived by Pandora. I'm quite chuffed at this. For a start, it means I don't have to worry quite so much about backing up or losing past entries in a blog meltdown. When I have a bit more time, I'm going to explore their site more thoroughly and see what other blogs they are archiving like this.

Saturday, March 3, 2012

Day Surge

A minor operation. A procedure I've had before, in the same hospital, with the same gynaecologist. The worst thing beforehand was fasting after an early breakfast, and missing my 11.00 coffee. I picked Paul up from the airport after two weeks away, we ran a few errands, and then he dropped me at the hospital at 1.30. The Women's hospital is a new building, and I'm in the private ward, Frances

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Flying, mortality, perspective

A lightning fast trip to Sydney I did *not* have time for, given the terrible juggling of writing and reading deadlines I am trying to wrangle at the moment.

The plane flew in low over the suburbs, not along the coast as I'm more used to: all the little houses lined up, shuddering each time the planes fly over. Taxi to hotel, walk to dinner with colleagues (where I disgraced myself, I suspect,

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Jury service

Write, write, have a little holiday, write, pause to process a thousand emails, write, write, have big ambitious thoughts, have a possibly serious and threatening brush with post-Tamoxifen side-effects, then write some more.

And then, today: jury duty. I've never been called, not once, so was curious, though very scared of getting empanelled in a long trial. In the end, you actually have very

Thursday, January 19, 2012

That horrible moment when...

You know the drill. You've submitted your thesis to the examiners, or your essay or book has gone through final proof stage when ... you discover a book published ten years ago on exactly your topic that for some reason you never came across and have taken no account of.

Resigned to the worst, I trudge over to the library to find the offending, newly discovered volume, and turned with foreboding

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Audio, video, Wagner: face, dream, Melancholia [SPOILER ALERT]

Last week, three immersion experiences: painting, experimental video-audio art, and cinema.

I am sitting for (I learn that "to" is also acceptable, though somewhat precious) a painter friend who is returning to portraiture after a few years painting in other genres. I sat for Kristin many years ago, and am once more enjoying the afternoons in her studio. We used to be neighbours and regular

Monday, January 2, 2012

Call for Papers: "The Making of the Humanities III"

The third international conference on the history of the humanities, "The Making of the Humanities III", will take place at the Royal Netherlands Institute in Rome, from 1 till 3 November 2012.

Goal of the Conference
This is the third of a biennially organized conference that brings together scholars and historians of humanities disciplines to draw the outlines for a comparative history of the humanities. Although histories of single humanities disciplines already exist for a long time, the history of the humanities as a whole has only very recently been investigated, and the first monographs have just appeared.

Theme of the 2012 Conference
The first conference on the history of the humanities, held in 2008, discussed the early modern period (1400-1800), resulting in the edited book “The Making of the Humanities” (AUP 2010). The second conference, held in 2010, focused on the transition from early modern to modern disciplines (1600-1900), and a volume of papers is currently being prepared for publication. The theme of the meeting in 2012 will be The Making of the Modern Humanities, focusing on the period 1850-2000, as well as four general panel themes that across all periods (see below). Topics include all aspects of the history of philology, linguistics, literary studies, musicology, historiography, art history, theatre studies, (new) media studies and other humanities disciplines, with an emphasis on their mutual influences, and their interaction with the other sciences.

Conference Panels
In addition to the theme of this year’s meeting, there will be four general conference panels that cover all periods, areas and disciplines:

Panel I: Objectivity in the Humanities
Panel II: Methodology in the Humanities
Panel III: The Search for Patterns in the Humanities
Panel IV: The Sciences and the Humanities

Invited Speakers
Lorraine Daston (Max Planck Institute for the History of Science)
John Joseph (University of Edinburgh)
Glenn Most (Scuola Normale Superiore di Pisa)
John Pickstone (University of Manchester)
Jo Tollebeek (University of Leuven)

Abstract Submissions
Papers can be submitted to the general theme or to one of the panels. Please indicate on your abstract whether you want your paper to be considered for the general theme or for one of the panels or both.
Send your abstract of maximally 400 words to:
Deadline for abstract submissions: 1 June 2012

Registration and Accommodation
Registration for the conference will be possible from June 1st 2012 onwards. The conference fee will be kept to an absolute minimum, and will be waived for students. Except for the invited speakers, the conference organization will not pay for accommodation. Information on accommodation will be posted later this summer.

Huizinga Institute of Cultural History (Working Group History of the Humanities)
Royal Netherlands Institute in Rome
Institute for Logic, Language and Computation, University of Amsterdam

Rens Bod (University of Amsterdam)
Jaap Maat (University of Amsterdam)
Thijs Weststeijn (University of Amsterdam)