It’s been a very busy weekend of fruit processing and illustration, Reader, beg pardon in the delay in recapping about my public talk last Thursday. Once again I would like to thank the staff of Lodi Public Library and those who showed up for helping to make the event successful. The audience was numerous enough that more chairs had to be set up and more handouts printed (if you were there you already know this though, of course). There were two front page articles in the Lodi News-Sentinel as well. At the moment I am taking a look at feedback forms so I thought I would take the opportunity to respond to a comment or two that were made there. Many were ideas for future talks which are great and will be used to create future medieval events.
A few inquired about the school I earned my postgraduate degrees from. Some inquired about my language background as an archaeologist. I began medieval Norse language and historical studies properly after I transferred to UC Berkeley as a junior from San Joaquin Delta College. I confess though my love of anthropology kept me from a BA in Scandinavian studies. I earned one from UCB’s prestigious Anthropology department with a focus on archaeology. There were very few graduate programs in the United States able to support an early medieval application of 4 fields anthropology. There were even less on the West Coast so ultimately I took my graduate education abroad. I looked for a program able to give me the support and contacts necessary for a community college graduate trying to break into international medieval studies. I ended up at the University of Nottingham’s Archaeology Department, arriving to earn an MA in medieval archaeology and ultimately staying for my PhD as well. Nottingham is home to the Centre for the Study of the Viking Age as well as the Institute for Medieval Research. So- what is it like being at a research university with an active medieval program? I if I had to sum it up in two words: supportive and inspirational. I came in with a rare combination of skills and degrees recognized but unfamiliar as the Associate of Arts degrees don’t really have an equivalent in the UK. I had a solid 4 field conception of anthropology [still do actually], the basics of medieval Norse and early medieval history under my belt after having taken courses from eminent professors at UC Berkeley during my undergraduate. The CSVA and the IMR are both well known internationally for promoting interdisciplinary research as well as public involvement and so were a decent fit for me. I have many contacts now that never would have been possible at this stage of my career if I hadn’t gone there.
Basically, Reader, I’m living proof that it is still possible to successfully go from one of California’s community colleges to international study. Don’t get me wrong: it’s not been easy- but some of that is part of earning a postgraduate degree. Some of it is getting past the stereotypes associated with attending a community college, particularly one in an area with a reputation similar to Compton. If you truly care about what knowledge you pursue, though, it is possible.
On that note I’m off to edit. I’ve got a stack of writing and editing all needing to be done by the end of August and the days are just getting shorter.