Saturday, April 01, 2006

Free Lunch

It was a pleasant surprise to fine that there is still such a thing as a free lunch, for one was provided at this weekend’s conference on the Conceptual History of Social Justice. Admittedly, only sandwiches, but the department’s better-quality sandwiches, rather than bog-standard ones. And thankfully, there were plenty of them, so the distributional rule of abundance (‘take as many as you want’) applied. Otherwise we’d probably all have starved before anyone could agree on how to distribute them ;-)

The conference itself was quite interesting, although it was very much a toe-dipping into something I don’t know much about for me (the period between Aristotle and 1971 is ‘a little hazy’ as far as I’m concerned). Still it was good to learn a bit about the period and debates, as well as participate (albeit rather passively) in an event bringing together philosophers, political theorists, historians and economists.

Unfortunately it didn’t prove an occasion for networking – I didn’t meet anyone over the two days. I guess that was largely my fault, since there were plenty of people I didn’t know (mostly non-Oxford), but the temptation was to talk to people I did know but hadn’t seen in a while. It’s always easier than the slightly awkward ‘so, what are you working on?’ kind of conversation that characterises most conference meetings, and freshers’ week. I will have to make more of an effort in Reading next week.


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