Sunday, September 26, 2004

Color me registered

It happened just like they said. After the initial euphoria, I think I've come down with a case of culture shock. Symptoms include: depression, bitchiness, and lack of motivation to do anything but consume any fried food foolish enough to enter my field of vision.

So instead of wallowing in all that, I thought I would catch you up on what's been happening over here. I'm in the computer lab at the university, which I'm now able to use because I've registered for classes and received a student ID card which I can swipe through something to gain entry into this building during off-hours and weekends. This makes me feel like a secret agent or at least someone with a real job. I don't know what that real job is, but you can rest assured it involves things not readily available to the public during off-hours and weekends.

Well, I suppose the most noticeable defining factor of this semester is the fact that I'm taking not three, not two, not even one, but ZERO film classes. That's right, they're only offering first- and fourth-year film studies classes until second semester. I would settle for first-year classes, but I've already taken the UW equivalents. And I can't settle for fourth-year classes because they're completely full.

I found this out when I met with my adviser (spelled with an "e" over here) last week. Unlike at UW, over here you choose your classes for the whole year just before the start of the term. And instead of doing it yourself over the internet, you meet with an adviser to do it. My adviser happened to a former Husky himself, originally from Spokane. This was absolutely delightful until he informed me that my ass wouldn't be sitting in a film class until next year. He didn't say it like that, though.

So what I had to do was choose an entirely different schedule on the spot. With countless people waiting to see my adviser after me, here's what I came up with:

A study of the early history of the European peoples known to the Greeks as Celts, with discussion of the relationships between the various types of evidence, archaeological, artistic, linguistic and documentary. Topics under consideration include migration, the druids and pre-Christian religion, social organisation and increasingly violent contacts with the Roman world.

The past two decades in Scotland and Ireland have witnessed a remarkable literary renaissance, not only resistant to metropolitan literary and linguistic norms, but also to inherited notions of Scottish and Irish identity. New modes of urban writing, working-class writing and women’s writing have altered the landscapes of Scottish and Irish literature. The course will examine a range of Scottish and Irish texts, adopting a comparative framework where appropriate, and focusing on such issues as: the role of writing in the construction of national identity; the relationship between nationality and gender; the literary use of non-standard language (demotic and synthetic Scots, Hiberno-English); regional identity and the urban/rural division; narrative voice; literature and politics.

In 802 the Vikings mercilessly sacked Iona. This course introduces students to a period of warfare and pillage, political turmoil and social transformation, but also economic expansion and cultural innovation. Scandinavian raiders fanned out from their homelands to most parts of northern Europe, the Mediterranean and America. Analysis of Viking incursions, particularly in the British Isles and Baltic world, will feature the gradual transformation of these pagan raiders into Christianised settlers. The emergence of the post-Viking kingdoms and the contribution of Vikings and Gaels to the emergence of clanship will be traced. So too will the predatory impact of the Normans, descendants of the Vikings, in Scotland, England, France, Southern Italy and the crusading states. The course concludes with, study of the collapse of the Angevin Empire, perhaps the most powerful political entity Western Europe had witnessed since the Roman Empire.

There's nothing wrong with any of these fascinating topics, but I'm a little disappointed. Hopefully, they'll keep me interested enough to make me forget that. After all, it wouldn't kill me to learn a bit more about the area of the world I've decided to inhabit for a year.


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