I think that at least 200 of the 450 delegates must be using the one wireless internet connection at the Quadrant motel at the moment. My connection is running sooooo slowly!!
The welcome powhiri was fascinating, as were the very intricate carvings in the meeting house. You can see something about this at Tim Bulkeley’s Sans Blogue and I need to have a conversation with someone who knows more about Maori culture before I can make sensible comments. That and the reception were opportunities for me to catch up with people I haven’t seen for ages, including two people I haven’t seen since I finished my ministry formation.
I have posted some photos of the powhiri on flicker at http://s173.photobucket.com/albums/w52/judyredman/auckland/ Please note that I was trying to take photos of the carvings, not the people, but there may be people in them that you recognise. Also note that I am not good at taking photos of people at conferences – I get engrossed in conversation and forget that I have a camera with me. You can probably next expect photos when I go on the tour on Wednesday afternoon.
Today I attended the Australian Association for the Study of Religion session and heard papers presented by one of my doctoral supervisors, Prof Majella Franzmann, who talked about veiling in Manichaean texts; a paper by Matthew Dillon who was a co-supervisor while Majella was on study leave – talking about Cassandra and gender and the natur eof prophetic experience in Ancient Greece, and Toni Tidswell, ex UNE talking about the spiritual world of Muslim Women in China.
Majella and Matthew were part of the morning session on Religion and Gender which also included Joseph Gelfer from Monash University talking about gendered spirituality and the problem of spatial representation; Stephen Hunt, University of the West of England on the secularized discourse of the anti-gay Christian movements; and Angela Coco, whose topic was Gender: Pagan style. The afternoon session was on identity and gender in contemporary Islam. Unfortunately two of the four speakers didn’t arrive, but as well as Toni’s talk (with photos), Ibrahim Abraham from Monash University talked about Islamic finance and their ways of dealing with credit without offending Islamic prohibitions on usury. Very interesting – as were all the papers in their own ways.
I also bought two books from the Australian Theological Forum – Biodiversity and Ecology: An Interdisciplinary Challenge edited by Denis Edwards and Mark Worthing and containing articles by an interesting range of people; and Stem Cell Research and Cloning: Contemporary Challenges to our Humanity eds Gareth Jones and Mary Byrne, and again, interesting range of authors. Each of them cost me NZD5 or USD3.78 and they threw in a free copy of Creation and Complexity: interdisciplinary issues in science and religion eds Christine Ledger and Stephen Pickard. Nothing at all to do with my research but probably useful for my chaplaincy and hardly a problem if they’re not.
Got back to my room and rewrote the last section of my own paper after seeing how these other people dealt with theirs. I should now have about 35 or so minutes of talk, plus 10 mins for questions at the end of my paper and then more time during the general question time. I am on first on Wednesday morning and will be followed by two very different papers and a morning tea break and I’d like some feedback, which may be limited if I wait until the end, depending on the audience interest in the other two papers.
Having not brought my printer with me, I asked at receoption about the possibility of getting the last few pages of my paper printed once I rewrote them. I emailed it down an hour ago and have just had the printing delivered to my room!!!