The recent silence on the blog is naturally a byproduct of an awkward international move, some complex and tedious university administration, considerable amounts of walking to and fro and a general reluctance to take time away from my partner to write a blog entry.
From the 22nd to the 24th of July I traced a 1900 kilometre parallelogram across Western Canada in my car. This was an unavoidable stage of my T4 student visa application.
Bartolus de Saxoferrato (1313-1357) a Bolognese jurist, constructed one of the more ingenious arguments for special legal and social privileges for academics. The legal codes of Justinian defined the athletic hero as one who survived “at least three trials of courage in competition.”* Bartolus reasoned that the heroic trials of the academic began during the student years with constant testing by the Masters. The second trial took the form of the private disputation — the equivalent of the thesis defence. The final trial was the public disputation under the scrutiny of the University and the academic public. We might understand this now as the conference paper. Bartolus went further than the Roman legal precedent and claimed that his contemporary academic trials were the same, conceptually, as the joust and deeds of arms that defined the martial elites.