Wednesday, June 08, 2005

Off to academic conference in Leuven, Belgium for this week

I'll be attending an academic conference (and presenting a paper--well, see below) in Leuven, Belgium (27 km west of Brussel) this week: leaving tonight and returning Sunday. Considering that Leuven is a Medieval city and historic center of learning in the Flanders, and the Katholieke Universiteit (or "K.U. Leuven") was founded in 1425, I expect my digital camera to be put to good use.

The conference organisers are doing something that I've not seen before (in my limited experience). Instead of having the paper presenters read their own papers, they are having discussants present summaries and formulate some discussion questions (about 20 min) then devote the rest of the time (about 40 min) to a brief response from the author of the paper and open discussion. That sounds like such a great idea: from experience, paper writers are often the worse people to present their own papers (e.g., they often insist on reading the whole thing even though it takes much more than the 20 min allocated...). The discussants are each scholars in their own right (some have papers to present as well) and thus just the right people to lay out an informed summary to get the discussion going. In any case, all the participants have all of the papers before hand--which we are suppose to read so as to be able to take part in the discussion intelligiently. Needless to day, the downside is that it takes more planning (more than a year since they first asked me if I was interested to do a paper) and effort finding a sufficient cadre of discussants.

Anyway, the conference (or "Symposium") is on "Arguments and Persuasion in Ancient Chinese Text", organised by the Sinology Department of K.U. Leuven and sponsored by--apart from bodies within K.U.Leuven itself--the Chiang Ching-kuo Foundation for Scholarly Exchange and FWO-Vlaanderen. That explains how they are able to pay for plane tickets and accomodation for the paper presenters. My paper is entitled, "On a Gedankenexperiment in the Mozi (墨子) Core Chapters". Looking at the line-up and the papers, it's going to be interesting (well, for me anyway), though admitedly specialised.

Blogging should be light; but who knows--there might still be things to talk about from a Singapore angle and even time to blog them.

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