One of the coolest things going on this year is a student-run colloquium for the grad-folk. Everyone even remotely related to the study of Gruub in all her glory can feel welcome to come on down and talk shop. Nothing to spectacular there, right? We bring in articles from various parts of the Gruub matrix and talk about them, which is cool, because we get to see what's state of the art in related fields that we've never really mucked about in. Every other week, we invite professors in to talk about what they are working on and such, which is nice, because on no-prof weeks, we can have the more informal talks without the stress of a possible advisor or committee member hovering about, but we've still got them around when we need them.
What's very cool about this, and what makes it better than I thought it would be, is that we've ended up talking about things that we need to know on a practical level that I've never heard discussed openly and freely in groups of academics that didn't involve booze. Not only are we talking about the field, but we're asking, and actually getting fairly important professors to talk seriously and thoughtfully about the politics of (for example) writing reviews ('You cannot write any kind of review, positive or negative, without making enemies' - obvious in hindsight, perhaps, but very good to know). We're talking about the hows and whys of inter-departmental and inter-field-al (?) territorial fights and biases, and because we've got people from so many fields, we're getting a really broad overview. It's a lot of stuff that seems to be generally learned by painful experience.
Last meeting, we had a wonderful knock-down drag-out fight over the implications of emerging broadening and lengthening of copyright laws as it relates to Gruub Studies. How Frickin Cool. And not something that would come up in a seminar except to perhaps feel a twinge of guilt as you run off copies of entire books.
I guess this kind of colloquium might not be a groundbreaking thing, but I've never seen it before, and I'm really impressed how it's working out. It seems to be a very useful way of easing us into the role of academics in a broader way than just writing another paper.
The copyright issue was especially interesting. I may need to do a post or three on that one. What do you folks think? Is copyright helping you more than it hurts you nowadays?