|Pieter Breughel the Elder The Tower of Babel (1563)|
The more I look at Brueghel's Tower of Babel, the more beautiful it appears: its layers of architecture, its ports, its workers in the foreground; and that wonderful light that shines upon it. Does Brueghel making it beautiful favor it? Express some sympathy for it? There's much to sympathize with. One wonders about Tolkein seeing an image of this before constructing his own towers in writing... It appears as though the Tower is simultaneously being built and being destroyed. And where is God? Is he that ominous dark funnel cloud? Still can't get over his squelching of human ambition. Pretty bold to call the whole conference BABEL, isn't it? There was such revelry and goodwill there (makes me think of Genesis, Chapter 10 again - what was the city of Babel like before its divinely ordained destruction?) - and PLAY: with words, with language, with what things might mean. Which is what critical theory lets you do: is experiment and try out an idea and see to whom it speaks. I know that I can translate all of this back to the students (maybe without the critical theory per se) and get them to see see see even more.
And so now I'm back, having graded a set of midterms finally (only one more set to go) and facing a hectic week before taking off for Denver for the National Women's Studies Association conference. Wonder how the two will compare (let's just say that at the BABEL conference, there was a tattoo contest!). I'm taking more Jerusalem books and plan on writing in here a bit - you have to see Iris's election day coverage in any case.
Last thought: it is amazing to me to think of myself now in our 3rd floor studio office with Mac, deciding to find out what is going on in the world of blogging when it comes to medieval, finding "In the Middle," feeling like I'd come home in my head, and then now, meeting the people who making it all come alive. It's really quite remarkable, the technology thing. Tomorrow, I start "cyberfeminism" - will let you know what that is, and if there's a medieval connection.