I just got back from my Genevan paleography course at the Meeter Center. I can't say that I was looking forward to leaving Yosemite to teach it, but once I got there, the folks at the Meeter Center and the students were so much fun to be around, I ended up having a great time that was well worth the trip for me.The students were mostly grad students getting ready to do research in European archives, though one participant from Holland is a more advanced scholar. They came from universities in Germany, Holland, Boston, California, Iowa, Montreal and there was one genuine Genevan who is working on a degree at the University of Geneva, but who just spent an exchange year at the University of Wisconsin. The students were fun and the staff at the Meeter Center was awesome as usual. It was great to see them. In addition, the staff threw a birthday party for me on Friday and then the students had another one for me on Saturday.
Academically I think the course was also a success. It's always a challenge finding a level of difficulty and of course it never suits everyone. The students were strong enough to allow us to read some pretty interesting documents, but perhas the documents were too difficult. I think in the future I need to have students hand in transcriptions so I can see better who is being left behind. I think most of them enjoyed their time though and I hope it was worth it for everyone. Several had research interests similar to my own so they seemed to enjoy the content of the documents and didn't seem to put off by my constant sidetracks into the minutiae of Genevan history (I'm definitely in the “knowing more and more about less and less” category when it comes to history). Enjoy it or not, though, over three hours of class every day for two weeks is a lot by itself and the students were super diligent, putting in a lot of work on the assignments each day. So by the end of it, everyone seemed to be getting a bit fatigued, especially me (I never did get my clock adjusted to the Midwest, so I kept staying up way too late reading, then getting up early). Still, in the end it was worth it even if it meant leaving Theresa and Yosemite for two weeks.
Update: Judith sent us all a picture of the class. Not everybody wanted it posted on the web, so it is not available here, but anyone associated with the course who hasn't seen it and would like to can email me or Judith to get a copy.