Tab Tries: going to an ASNC lecture
ASNC what going to a lecture can do for you, ask what you can do for the lecture
For instance, when I joined the Anglo-Saxon, Norse and Celtic lecture on Gaelic-Scandinavian Kingdoms and bishoprics, I increased the attendance by 10%.
Despite being a small subject, ASNC is an extremely difficult, specialised but often overlooked (simply because I didn’t know anyone who did ASNC). It is literally overlooked by the university’s online timetable system. I had trouble finding when the lectures were happening, since somehow they did not appear on the online timetable. I applaud the 10 ASNCers that attended for not using this as an excuse to skip lectures.
When I arrived outside the lecture hall in the Faculty of English building five minutes early, I thought I could stroll into the lecture hall (it was more of a room) unnoticed. What a naive HSPSer I am. I waited outside anxiously and tried to blend with other cultured English students, until I gave up when I saw that their faculty café used personalised mugs for tea.
Once I saw that the number of people who had entered the room was enough that the lecturer wouldn’t start a conversation with me, I walked in and sat in the first row – what a great idea. Though to be fair, there were only two.
I have studied history all my life, so I thought I could handle the history of Gaelic-Scandinavian Kingdoms. They are just slightly earlier history compared to World War II history, aren’t they? No. I was so wrong. Once the lecture started, I was confronted with a map that I totally did not recognise. As much as the HSPSer in me likes to believe that territoriality is a social construct, ASNC likes to based their subject on historical facts so I was confronted with this ridiculous map for an hour.
Then all of a sudden I was thrown into a language that I didn’t understand. I realised at one point that I wasn’t writing as much as others did. Apart from the insignificant factor that I was dozing off 30 minutes into the lecture, I couldn’t write down a lot of important information (for example the name of the only dynasty the lecturer kept bringing up for the entire hour) because there was too much jargon.
When I was woken up from my nap by some juicy stories about a guy named Thomas and a certain Godred, it was towards the end of the lecture (sorry the Tab, I failed you). Nonetheless, I left the lecture feeling much more enlightened than I was one hour ago (can’t imagine going back to the time when I didn’t know that “thalassocracy” means sea-kingdom!):
What I Learnt
1. Although the lecture title was Gaelic-Scandinavian Kingdoms and bishoprics, those polities shouldn’t have been called kingdoms. They were rather “farmers’ republics”, which I believe is a much superior term because it invokes the fascinating image of farmers forming armies and fighting each other with shovels and rakes.’
2. The life story of Maccus mac Arailt’s, which can be summarised in his attack of a church at Penmon (Maccus was a YOLO soul after all), and that of his brother Godred mac Arailt, which can be summarised as being the brother of Maccus. We also learnt about Brian Bórama, who died.
3. People aren’t who I think they are.
At the end of the lecture, my ASNC friend went outside with me while waiting for his next lecture on Old English, which I politely declined to attend because I wished to return to the 21st century. When I asked what he planned to do with his ASNC degree, he replied, “I guess the same as any humanities student?” At that moment, I knew we were in the same boat, a boat that is leading us towards more student loans.
That hour was a totally crazy in that I stepped outside the abstract, theoretical, almost unreal terrain of HSPS to be in contact with a real subject. Can’t believe I almost abandoned my knowledge system for this investigation. When I returned to my room, I picked up Lévi-Strauss’s Totemism and read about how it is not the resemblances, but the differences, which resemble each other.
I felt safe again, far away from the bloody battlefields of the Gaelic-Scandinavian Kingdoms in the 10th century.