#UBClean #TuumEst


UBC Board of Governors in action.
Exemplary PowerPoint presentation of the century.
Photo: Jonathan Jenkins Ichikawa.

Well, it’s been an exciting last few days and a very exciting day today.

Happy Imbolg / Saint Brigid’s Day  [= Sunday evening through yesterday]: yet another New Year, like those of many other cultures this is a day associated with cleaning out the old and bringing in the new.

I won’t go into any of the tedious details and backstory and buildup and so on between Thursday and today, and you can follow along on Twitter for the public version like anyone else. Here are some visual and verbal highlights.

Why something happened:

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For more background on the issues leading to this protest, see this letter from the Faculty Association, which details how the BoG has, among other things, held committee meetings that left no official record, and made decisions about personnel matters without formal assessments or performance reviews. http://www.facultyassociation.ubc.ca/…/UBCFA%20Letter%20to%…

So here’s that thing that happened today:

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UPDATED: loads of lovely photos

Its medievalism:

  • use of appropriate heraldic colours
  • use of transparency
  • dress code: academic regalia, lab coats, dress up as your academic area, scholarly cosplay
  • use of visual/verbal puns (and more, and parody and pastiche and satire, that were omitted as deemed too subtle for our audience)

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“Thunderbirds” blue-and-yellow UBC emblematic colours on washing-up gloves

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Why did I have anything to do with this?

Love of civilisation, humanism, satire and the fifth estate, justice and social justice, ethics.

Feminist principle.

Medievalism: as a scholar whose work involves intellectual history and the histories of Paris university in the 12th-14th c., all things marvelously Golliardic, and then 16th century humanism and its innovations in the ideas and institutions of higher learning.

Commemorating the centenary of 1916.

In remembrance for my father, who died nearly five years ago. It was with him that I went to demonstrations, starting with Charter 77 and Solidarnosc and Amnesty in the late 1970s. He introduced teenage-me to Hume, Wollstonecraft, Godwin, Locke, Mill, Popper, Teilhard de Chardin, Nozick, Skocpol. Michel de Certeau, Raymond Aron, Isaiah Berlin. My father’s work involved transparency. He worked under Mario Monti at the European Commission. Yes, that Monti who was briefly Prime Minister of Italy in that briefest of optimistic windows after mani pulite.

Clean hands, #UBClean, transparency, you see how this was not a very complicated chain of ideas. (I did not coin that hashtag, that credit goes elsewhere.)

Some sample comments, all from @obrienatrix on Twitter unless indicated otherwise:

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More twittering and too-wit-too-woo-ing, from various sources. I took screenshots but it’s getting to the end of the day and I’m writing this quite fast in between two lots of marking, because that’s an important thing for students. So hopefully I’ve retained some indication of provenance. Most are at #TuumEst, #UBClean and/or as before @obrienatrix

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An excellent teaser for the @jichikawa collection to come (the poor man took something like 700 photos and is currently sorting them):

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And now, back to some good solid proper medievalising.

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Vivat et res publica et qui illam regit: peace and goodwill to all, and yes, that includes the people on the Board of Governors. They are all people: they may have forgotten that, and we may be able to help them to remember, which may be good for them as human beings and for the greater good of all.

[NB text and translations are wobbly: but the general sense is a start, the tune is there, and it’s good linguistic work / revision to correct mistakes. Latin gets rusty fast, this is a splendid experiential learning opportunity. Start practising now, ready for the next protest!]

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