Sunday, March 11, 2007

Symposium Humanitatum 2007

One of Andrew's teachers nominated him to speak at this year's "Symposium Humanitatum." It's really quite a small event but a fairly high honor to speak at. His paper was titled, "Inferno XXVIII: Orientalism and Oedipus Meet Dante and Mohammed," and as Karen said, it is not the easiest paper to digest. However, because I spent all semester talking with Andrew about Dante, especially the Inferno and the influence of Islam in it...and because I edited his paper a million times last semester, I understood more than most there.

I also spent all this week helping Andrew shrink down his paper.

He had to turn in his paper for a peer review back in January and he didn't hear back and didn't hear back and didn't hear back. He had decided that he probably just didn't get selected. Then they started advertising for it about two weeks ago. He came home all bummed out one day because he really had wanted to do it...but apparently they hadn't chosen him.

Then last Saturday evening Andrew got an email asking him to be ready for the next Saturday. He had to cut his paper down to 7 pages from 11, and get all prepared to give his speech. He was pretty stoked, but also had a ton of things due last week so that meant that I played editor and cut his paper down to size.

Yesterday he presented his paper. He really wanted me to film it but he didn't want me to bring the camera and tripod and make a big deal out of it, so instead he phoned his mom and asked her to bring their tiny digital camera...she did a wonderful job filming and posted his presentation on her blog (which I then stole and put it on our blog):



Courtesy of The Real Heiss blog

I don't blame you if you don't want to listen to it all. It really is rather intense: a comparative literature paper in three languages? No thanks. You should watch the first few seconds though because he flashes his "nervous" smile at his family right before he starts speaking. He did a good job though. I don't think he said, "Ummm..." and he made an effort to look up, even though he was nervous--not that he really had need to since the audience was comprised of his parents, my mom, Josie, me, the family of another speaker, a few random people (like 2), and the assistant dean of the college. That is all.

After he was done, we (Andrew and I) were invited to a catered lunch at the Museum of Art Cafe. Andrew opted out instead, to go to J Dawgs, a little hot dog stand just south of campus, with his parents. J Dawgs has become a favorite of Andrew's dad. They sell really big hot dogs with a "secret sauce" and a bunch of other toppings. It was really pretty good, as far as hot dogs go!

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