Tuesday, April 25, 2006

Are they really French?

I was in Urbana, Illinios over the weekend, presenting a paper at the annual meeting of the Society for French Historical Studies. Amidst the cornfields of the greater Champaign area, my allergies raged. I was so hopped up on antihistimines that I couldn't take much in. Nonetheless, my paper, "A Place in the Republic," was well received. I even got some major encouragement from some heavyweights.

Actually, for an all-Alsace panel in the last group of sessions at the conference, we had a very large audience. The other two papers were well argued, and I look forward to any publications that might come in the future. As I gathered from the other panelists, Alsace is in more peripheral to French Studies than it is to France. Perhaps it's considered too German. Indeed, they expressed regret that they could not build a full career in French history out of studying Alsace, and that German historians were more receptive to their ideas.

As for the paper itself, I received only positive responses. The commentator was overjoyed by my "syncretic" approach. What really surprised me was how enthusiastic people could be about the German material in the paper. A few people wanted to know more about Landeskunde (German regional studies.) Others wanted to talk more about Adenauer beyond the German national context. Regular readers to this blog know of my admiration for Adenauer. I'm now more convinced that I will make a future studying him.

I attended only a few panels because of my allergies: one on environmental history, another on occultism and political prophecy. Right now I need to get some rest: it took me two days to get home because of problems at the Chicago airport, and running from gate to gate wore me out. However, in all that time, I was able to read Manuel Azuela's The Underdogs (an interesting fiction on the Mexican Revolution, which can be read here) and half of Kevin Boyle's Arc of Justice.

8 Comments:

At 7:49 AM, Blogger Brdgt said...

Congratulations! Now if I could only ensure getting that sort of response I wouldn't be afraid of conferences ;)

Who was on the environmental history panel? Gregg Mitman will finally be back from sabbatical this fall, so I'll finally get to work on environmental history again (you have to apply to get into Bill Cronan's environmental history class over in the history department).

I loved Kevin's book - it was so well written. Oh, and yeah, O'Hare sucks. When we fly it's hard to avoid it, but we still try, even connecting through Detroit, Cincinnati, and Milwaukee.

-Bridget

 
At 10:56 AM, Blogger Kevin said...

Just wanted to let you know that Civil War Memory can now be found at the following URL: http://civilwarmemory.typepad.com/civil_war_memory/

You have it linked on your blogroll.

Thanks, - Kevin

 
At 10:59 AM, Blogger Nathanael said...

I was afraid of getting roasted alive: it was my first major conference, and the audience consisted of people whose books I'd read in preparing the paper and my diss. I was quite nervous, but it turned into a positive experience and I have a lot of new enthusiasm. I'm even dreaming up new papers to write. Honestly, I'd tell you to just jump in.

The panel I saw was "French Landscapes between War and Peace," and one Wisconsonite was on it: Robert Lewis. There were other panels that dealt with environmental history that I didn't see, and many people came down from Madison to present (probably because it was so close by car, while so remote by plane.)

I've wanted to read Kevin's book for some time, not just because he was our grad head. I really like the attention he pays to land development and real estate as an issue of race. To be fair, the book is a history of Detroit with race at its center, which still works for me. BTW, you almost got me as a guest: there was a slim chance to make a connection through Madison that I almost took.

 
At 11:55 AM, Blogger Brdgt said...

Hey - anytime! We have a real guestroom now :)

-Bridget

 
At 5:47 AM, Blogger Jacmetolosa said...

I'm not french, i'm occitan - see my 'blòg' - regards.

 
At 5:48 AM, Blogger Jacmetolosa said...

my «blòg» : http://spaces.msn.com/jacmetolosa/

 
At 10:58 AM, Blogger Nathanael said...

At least Occitan in a Romance language!

 
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