At the Shakespeare Association of America (SAA, to those on a first name basis) today, there was a session called the "NextGenPlen," basically some younger scholars gave papers. One was especially good, the others fine, but not quite as interesting to me.
But what I really noticed was that all of them were pretty much New Critical approaches.
If you'd had that session ten years ago, everything would have been Catholicism, bodies, geography, with maybe some materialism or a woman writer.
Twenty years ago, there'd have been some critical race studies, Queer theory, New Historicism/Cultural Materialism.
But now, everything was very much about close reading texts, with some historical awareness, yes, and with theoretical assumptions, but not overtly theoretical. Where will things be in 10 years?
When I'm at a conference, I often feel very isolated in my usual life. At home, we're all deadly concerned about the budget. Everything is trying to figure out strategies for survival. Here, it's not like that.
At home, I live in a pretty small community. Here, almost no one lives in small communities, or if they do, it's a suburb of a large city.
I feel like my life is very narrow, very constrained, and very wintery.
I got a chance to talk with a friend from grad school that I wasn't expecting to see, and that's been a delightful treat. So at least there's that.