Yesterday was great - saw a very interesting lecture from David Hingstman on the history of forensics in the law in which he called the current confusion around forensic education (debate and speech) and forensic science a good thing, and something worth preserving a bit of uncertainty about. Especially within the context of a lay-jury system. It was well presented and thoughtful, and the resulting discussion was also interesting.
I attended a panel on pragma-dialectics which I found very enlightening and educational. Normally when I go to panels at conventions I am dissapointed. Not because anyone did a bad job or anything, but mainly because I feel like I didn't learn anything; that the papers were a rehearsal of comfortable norms in the field we all learned in graduate school, and I expected something more controversial I suppose.
Well in this panel I think it must have been a mix of the interesting subject matter - a paper on the rhetorical strategy of one-issue parties in parliamentary procedure, a paper on the reasonableness of Praeteritio statements, and one on the argumentative value of ridicule - and a mix of my rather amateur knowledge of pragmadialectical argumentation theory. I feel like I improved my understanding a great deal and I am interested in looking up some of the great sources provided on the handouts by the presenters.
My presentation is at 10AM and I hope it goes well. I have made some changes to my paper so I'll be delivering my talk from my laptop for the first time. I hope there are no technical issues! It isn't a powerpoint dependent talk (I never give those) but it is putting my life in the hands of Microsoft and for that I am usually quite sorry more often than not.
Tomorrow we leave Japan, and it's sort of sad but also sort of nice to head home. I've been travelling for about a month now, and some time to go nowhere, read and prepare for the upcoming academic year sounds perfect. I will miss Japan - this is a wonderful country with amazing things to do and awesome people - but this just ensures that I will return as soon as I can!