sexta-feira, 16 de novembro de 2012

Journey to Utopia: Day Five

New day. Breakfast, commute and there we were again at the Royal Ontario Museum. We didn't want to take any chances of being in the dark again. Also, we had one hour and a half to see the exhibition and any other part the museum we hadn't been able to visit because I would be going to the conference. The first activity would start at noon.

As we arrived at the floor, there was this animated projection of the world from Pangeia to the modern days.

The exhibition was very interesting. We learned about what the scientists made to reconstruct those big dinosaurs (or the small ones too) out of maybe 20% of their bones. Sometimes they almost had the complete fossil, but it was not the rule. Some were from South America, others from Africa.

This is me trying to pretend I was about to be attacked. Bad acting.

Here in Florida I learned we should be nice to the alligators, so I was patting this one. They are not so scary, you know.

After the dinosaurs, we still had some time so we decided to go to the African part of the museum and the Pacific and the Native Canadian parts as well.

Then, we went to the Egyptian exhibition and completed the Roman and reached the Greek.

As we were leaving we went to the museum shop but I saw nothing interesting there. There were only these very postmodern chairs and I had to sit there and strike a pose.

After that, it was almost 11:30 and I would have to get the subway to go to the hotel where they were holding the conference. Dale had already showed me where it was the day before. On the way, I grabbed some tacos at a Taco Bell and had one while walking there, as lunch. I would save the other one for later. I was already late.

Signing in was pretty easy but the structure was a little bit different from last year. The name tags, for example, were not printed and done but the guy would get the plastic and copy your name, handwritten or let you do that.

I got in late to the first activity of the conference. Professor Lyman Sargent was giving a seminar about Paper presentation, Research, Publication, and Building a career. Some of the hints he gave were very localized for the American context and others were very useful. Some obvious, some interesting.
Then from that, I went to a Panel called "Science Fiction". There were two people talking about Ursula LeGuin, one from a literary perspective, but  she spent too long talking about the Utopian theory. The other talked from a philosophical perspective, contrasting Le Guin's The Dispossessed with Aristotle's Politics. The third speaker was Andrew Milner and he talked about the radio programs of science fiction and it was something interesting because it is something people hardly ever talk (or write) about.

There was another panel in the sequence and there I was to see three people talk about "Utopian theory". The first to talk was Ruth Levitas, who wrote The Concept of Utopia and she was talking about Utopia as Grace, so she mingled some theology with her philosophical approach. She was one of the big names taking part of the conference. After that, Nancy talked about empathy, a very interesting concept. After that, Zac Zimmer, who had shared the room with me the previous year, talked about the relations between the conquest of America and More's book, Utopia.

The last academic activity was a plenary in which 4 or 5 people, long-term members of the Society of Utopian Studies talked about a history of the Utopian studies, their relationship with it and some ideas they had of where we should be going. It was then that I heard Brazil is going to start their society and that feminist studies have been thinning the last years. These made me wonder.

After this, they were organizing a reception. That meant, at least, some free food and one free drink. More importantly,  it was time to talk to the people I had met the year before and to meet new people. I could not refrain from approaching Tom Moylan, whose work I just love and introduce myself. After all, we had already talked by email. We talked for 5 minutes and he was very friendly. I told him I was going to interview Marge Piercy and he was very excited about it. I asked for some ideas for the interview and he told me he would think about something. Then, I met my supervisor Phillip Wegner, and he introduced me to the "University of Florida" group: some people who had been his students at University of Florida but are currently teaching elsewhere in the States.

I also introduced myself to Andrew Milner. I had read some texts by him and heard my Brazilian advisor mention him, he also studied Raymond Williams. He was indeed a friendly person and we would be together the next morning as he would chair the panel I was in.

After some time, people started to go and I thought it was time for me to go too. The day had been very long and I still had to spend some time commuting before getting home (at least this is how I felt at Dale's house). And my plans had originally been to visit the CN Tower that night. It didn't work. I was so tired, I just wanted to take a shower and sleep. So, no CN Tower. Maybe the next night. I was too anxious as well, since my presentation would be early the next morning.

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