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The 50th International Congress on Medieval Studies

Pardon for the delay in posting but I was recovering from an unintentionally red-eye flight back to Chicago on my truck home from the 50th international Congress of medieval studies. Apparently I respond ugly to 3 AM travel. A lot happened while I was in Michigan and in true rambling fashion I’ll relate the fun parts and some of the new advances in medieval research.I broken this down my day-it’s how all of us experience the Congress, after all. In general though as with every medieval conference I attend everyone was incredibly nice any idea exchange is fantastic.
Wednesday. This day began what I like to call stupid o’clock or 4:30 AM when I landed at Chicago O’Hare. What an unholy time of morning. CTA was easy to navigate though and I made my way to Chicago Union Station.

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Chicago Union Station

An Amtrak ride later and I was in Kalamazoo. From what I was able to view of it Kalamazoo is like so many small towns in the US with a good school. And for four days many on Sunday left early this quiet town became inundated with medievalists from all over the world. The first day many were still arriving. I came to registration collected my things and drop the bags off at the dorm. There probably around where immediately I ran into a friend to who I had met at CSANA a few months prior. I went to dinner the first night with he and the group he had come with. Gonzo’s has a mean pulled chicken aioli sandwich and some wicked names for brews. The conversation was fantastic and all of a sudden I had new friends. A walk once we got back to campus and then I crashed.

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WMU swan sanctuary.

Thursday

I woke to humidity like I have rarely experienced in my life. I took a walk around the campus lake. As an aside there’s a lot of Plantago species in WMU’s lawns. Session began at 10 AM and went until 9 PM with a long break for lunch. I listen to everything from Biblical numerology within Irish texts to 12th-century Northumbrian identity. I explored the exhibit tables and collected book discount forms. I talked about medieval identity and in general had a very good time. I viewed the wine bar from a distance as I didn’t see anyone I knew at that point and there was a massive amount of people crammed in socializing. I was a bit jet-lagged anyway so called it an early night.

Friday

Plenary at 8:30 AM that’s new for me. Dr. Cary Nederman spoke and it was well received by those awake. Brewing session- where rather unsurprisingly everyone knew each other from previous Kalamazoo sessions. I ran to an excellent CARA lunch where I met some very interesting medievalists. Then I went to the reenactment session sponsored by the Dark Ages Recreation Company to relax and have fun before my session at 3:30 PM. I forgot my handouts up to my room but otherwise things went well. It was a good session overall and I look forward to to work coming for my fellow Viking Society nominated delegates. There was an astrolabe workshop I finally got to learn how to run astrolabe as well.

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The walk between the halls and most sessions.

Saturday

Saturday I crammed research related presentations all day. I need to process the more completely at this as this is heady stuff. Saturday I also got to hang out with a group of medievalists representing the IMR at the University of Nottingham-people who I haven’t seen since returning to the US in 2012. Dinner was excellent at food dance in downtown and then came the famous Congress dance. Or infamous if you asks some. I’ve never seen such a large group of people dancing without a care for appearances in my life. Really. I’m not making fun in anyway. I honestly believe that more opportunities should exist for people like this.

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Campus deer.

Sunday

A half-day filled up with back-to-back sessions sponsored by University of Aberdeen. And with that the conference was over. Many left early that morning. The campus seemed deflated but is very pleasant when no one is around. There are deer and also birds. I packed and had an early night for the journey home the next day.

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Flowers near the lake.

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