Hilary Term has gotten off to a wonderful start, most particularly due to the last few glorious days of frosty sunshine that Oxford has laid on to welcome everyone back. It’s lovely to see the libraries full of familiar faces once again. With our doctoral applications now out of our hands, we can now gratefully turn our attention back to our current programme of study.
In some ways, Hilary Term will be much less busy than last term, at least in regards to the number of classes to attend. The only required course is one of three optional modules, of which I’ve chosen The Twelfth-Century Renaissance. The seminar meets once a week for an hour and a half for discussion on the week’s reading and culminates in a 10,000 word paper due after Easter Break.
I also have several language classes I’m continuing: French for Historians (a reading class once a week) and Medieval Latin (one hour a week on grammar and reading a medieval text, and an additional hour on Friday afternoons for more reading).
Then’s there always plenty of other research seminars and lectures to fill up the rest of the time. The undergraduate lectures are open to all the members of the university, so I’ve been going to some of medieval history lectures (“General History II”). Not only are they useful for getting the broader picture and an overview of historiography of the topic (Feudalism, Chivalry, etc.), but most of the lecturers are excellent speakers and brilliant historians in their own right, so I am also learning more about their own views and how one goes about constructing an academic lecture at the same time.
Then to top the week off we had Burn’s Night in college, a formal dinner to celebrate the works of the Scottish poet Robert Burns, with the obligatory haggis, bagpipes, and whisky all present and accounted for!