I had dinner with Ladelle McWhorter on my first night there. We spoke for nearly two hours about everything and nothing that I had really anticipated. Philosophy, projects, life, ideas, how things were going. We were supposed to talk about my reading lists for my comp exams and my idea for a dissertation project, but we only managed to sneak that in before I had to run off and make sure that I didn't have a parking ticket in my windshield.
I told her about my youtube channel and her place in the first video on role models. She didn't think it was creepy. Instead, she thought it was a cool project. I'm glad she approves.
We talked about affect, and the transmission of affect, and the sort of people who transmit a lot of affect. She said I am an affective person, and I told her that I now know that means I can affect people positively and negatively. Then we talked about the size of people's bubbles, the size of towns, and the ontological experience of affecting and being affected by others.(She also assured me that graduate school and small towns make people crazy, so I should expect to be kind of crazy for the next few years.)
|The panel on Del's book, "Racism and Sexual Oppression"|
I went to a paper by my advisor, Shannon Sullivan. I wanted to see how she handled the responses to her work since I expected it to be rowdy. Just as I hoped, she responded with clarity, coolness, and with a very obviously genuine air of wanting to learn and hear from the audience members' comments, despite the fact that some people in the audience responded with overt sarcasm, an inability to listen, and immature hyperbole. I have good role models.
Another highlight of the trip was seeing my friend, Ami. She is one of the loveliest individuals I have ever met. I only wish that we could see each other for more than one dinner, one night, once a year.
|Look at us two years ago with Del; PIKSI 2009|
And another thing: SPEP is one of the only things that I have really experienced that I can safely bet will be a part of my life for the rest of my time in philosophy. Every year I will go and I will see the same people; slowly I will become one of the old philosophers and new graduate students will be attending. They, like me now, will be poor, sleeping on the hallway floor in someone's apartment in town after driving across the border because they can't afford plane tickets or rooms in the conference hotel. Even though I love philosophy and there are good people, the thought of growing old at SPEP year after year weirded me out. I can't imagine having kids or even having a house with as much surety about how its going to be since I haven't yet had a kid or owned a house. But now I have been to three SPEP conferences. And it will probably be much like that, year after year. Until I quit or I die. And that is strange.