Wednesday, 29 February 2012

Five questions to the professor

This week we asked Henrik Rydell Johnsen from Lund University to answer our brilliant questionary.
Next week is the third cycle students compact seminar in Lund, so in honour of that we will post an interview with a Lundprofessor that week too.
and maybe some pictures from Lund?

1. Please state your name,age, university and connection to the RREprogram.
Henrik Rydell Johnsén, 45 years, Lund University, teacher in the programme, and coordinator for RRE at Lund University

2. What is your area of expertise? and which courses do you teach in the RREprogram?
Expertise: early Christian monasticism; I teach "Ancient philosophy and the making of theology in early Christianity"

3. How do you find the this way of teaching, which is not regular university courses but also not distance learning?
I like the internet teaching on Aula very much but also the compact seminars. I have appreciated that type of courses in my own studies earlier.

4. What do you expect from your students?
That they have already acquired academic skills and knowledge that correspond to master level studies.

5. If you could have any superhuman power, what would it be and why?

I would like to have some kind of superhuman power that could force politicians to take all the necessary steps that would stop further global climate changes.

Friday, 24 February 2012

5 Questions to the Professor

This week's instalment of 5 questions comes from Einar Thomassen, who teaches one of the two introductory courses held in Rome.  He forgot to mention under his expertise section his exemplary tour guiding skills!

1. Please state your name,age, university and connection to the RREprogram
Einar Thomassen, 60, University of Bergen. I have been involved in the programme from the planning stage and teaches in it regularly.
2. What is your area of expertise? and which courses do you teach in the RREprogram?
My main area of research has been ancient gnosticism and the Nag Hammadi Coptic texts. Branching out from there I have also worked on early Christianity and ancient religions generally. I also take an interest in Islam, which I have taught for more than 30 years; specific interests are Sufism and the Quran.

I teach (1) the introductory course on Religion and Society in the Ancient World (Rome course), (2) an Interaction course on Holy Scriptures, (3) a text course on the Quran. I also teach an introductory course in Coptic in Bergen, which is open to RRE students.

3. How do you find the this way of teaching, which is not regular university courses but also not distance learning?
I much prefer classroom teaching, where I can interact directly with the students. Distance learning is difficult for me, though it seems to work somehow.
4. What do you expect from your students?
Hard work, of course, but also curiosity and inquisitiveness: the impulse to look up references given in the texts you read, to discover by yourselves reference works in each area of knowledge, to identify the most important contributions on a topic, to use your local library avidly and intelligently.

5. If you could have any superhuman power, what would it be and why?
Multilocality, so that we did not have to do distance teaching.

Friday, 17 February 2012

The Art of Procrastination!

Pro. cras. ti. nate
v. pro. cras. ti. nat. ed, pro. cras. ti. nat. ing, pro. cras. ti. nates

  1. To put off doing something.
  2. To postpone or delay needlessly.
As hinted at in the title of this blog, procrastination is an art. Fact.  

As a master of procrastination myself, I intend to share some useful tips and websites in order to improve your procrastinating style.  Remember, procrastination is an individual art form and therefore as a budding procrastinator (you, perchance) one must find a way to suit ones own procrastination needs.  However, hopefully by sharing my own knowledge, I can bestow upon you some of the fundamental basics in procrastination.

1.  Prepare procrastination area.
Whether this be in the library or at home, you need to prep your surroundings.  I often choose the library as this subdues the side effects of procrastinating, mostly guilt.  If you are in the library, it means you have made the effort to leave home and procrastinate elsewhere.  You can also convince yourself that you actually did want to work, but you are tired from the journey into town and you need to unwind. 

Before actually beginning the process of procrastination, you must first make it look to all outsiders that you are actually doing some work.  Lay out pens, etc. the more stationary you have out the better it looks. Take the lids of pens for extra effect.  Open books and notepads to pages you have actually written on.  It is needless to say that the internet is the greatest and most fruitful source for procrastination, so get the laptops out!  Another handy tip is to have a Word document open; either the essay or assignment you have been working on, or, if you haven't even reached that stage yet, an old essay will do the trick.  

2.  Wikipedia it!
Wikipedia is a great way of making procrastination feel like learning!  Once you open one page, you're off!  Open extra tabs galore and come back to them.  here are some categories I have found most useful for encouraging further reading (more tabs):
  • List of extinct animals
  • Royal families (not for everyone but I love a bit of aristocratic glamour!)
  • World War 2
  • A favourite TV show (e.g. Sopranos, Boardwalk Empire, America's Next Top Model, GAme of Thrones)
  • Harry Potter
  • Lord of the Rings
Reducing the guilt tip:  Wikipedia a subject matter in your essay/assignment.  This not only provides you with very helpful resources, but also makes you feel like you may actually be doing something fundamentally appropriate.

3.  Facebook- making stalking acceptable
Lets face it, we all like a good stalk; we pretend that we do not like someone nosing around our Timeline but really it kinda means your interesting!  When blending Facebook and procrastination, the key is to set your appearance to offline and try to not go crazy with the 'like' button.  This, and only really to other procrastinators which will have to time to recognise your increased usage, will show people that you are, in fact, not working.  Stick to flicking through photos and make all comments in your head.

Reducing the guilt tip:  I am afraid I have lead you into a trap with this one; there simply is not way to make Facebook procrastination not guilt free.

4.  Take a Break.
This is a pure gold procrastination tip, especially if you take this said break with someone else.  This will make it seem like to the person who has asked you, that you are doing work in which you genuinely do need to take a long, long break from.  I recommend coffee... and cake.

Reducing the guilt tip:  Tell yourself and have your friend tell you that working with breaks is a much more productive way of working.

5.  Make a list
Perfect way to procrastinate.  Make a list of all the things you intend to do.  This way you are actually writing and you are kind of doing work, just not the work that needs to be done.  The longer and more detailed the list the more time taken up.

Reducing the guilt tip:  This is already pretty much guilt free, but to make it even less guilt ridden, put deadlines on these 'To Do''s.  Make the deadlines ridiculously lenient so when you do eventually do them, they will more than likely be done in time, thus making you feel great and proactive.

6.  Make a blog
I think this one speaks for itself...

I think/ hope I have provided you with the necessary means to get your very own form of procrastination well on its way.  From here on in I wish you only one thing...


The Everyday Life of a Religious Roots Student!

We have had quite a lot of posts about applying and the new great one asking for the professors candid opinions!  But for you lot out there who are thinking about the course, I thought I would give you an exclusive look into the day to day aspects of a hardworking (?!) student's life!

So at the moment, like the rest of Copenhagen students we have just finished a number of exams.  I would say the average person has to complete 2 or 3 exam papers during this period, which isn't bad!  They can either be fixed or free exams, depending on how many assignments you have completed during the semester. (I will get to this thrilling discussion post haste!)  With a fixed exam the lecturer must set you a question based on a reading list you have selected and you have four days to complete.  On the other hand, the free exam leaves you far more time for the almost compulsory exam procrastinations (see other entries on helpful procrastination tips from an expert procrastinator).  

Unfortunately, there is no rest for the wicked after exam period as we choose our new modules and start reading for these.  Each module differs but usually, we have weekly assignments where we post a 300 (or there abouts) written piece about the reading and our interpretations.  We are then asked to comment on other peoples' pieces with a seemingly mandatory "well done, but" or "good job, however" as we then go in for the kill and disagree in good old fashioned debate style!  This year, I myself have chosen, what I feel are some great modules:  Latin (which I have always wanted to study, being a Classics geek!), and two 'interaction' modules entitled 'The role of women in religious communities and texts' and 'Ancient philosophy and the making of theology in early Christianity'.  Both modules offer different and interesting reading material and discussions, with plenty of primary sources.  So far, and in all honesty, I have thoroughly enjoyed both of them.

I am not going to lie and say that the workload is easy, because it isn't.  Like a full time job, you have to dedicate hours to a lot of reading and participating in discussions.  However, what we are discussing is interesting and if you through yourself in and get involved then there is so much to gain from it and others.  The real great thing about this programme is the mixture of people on it, and when you open up discussions about topics such as philosophy and gender studies, the opinions vary dramatically.  I feel that I have as much to learn from my colleagues as I do the secondary sources I read.

Another daily duty for me other than work hard, is to play hard!  I am an international student studying in Copenhagen and there is plenty to do!  If I'm not catching up on the gossip over coffee, its the cinema, a great independent restaurant, or even a sneaky drink!  I always feel that you have to balance your time, all work is not healthy and when there's so much fun to be had, why not have it!  I believe that us 'Religious Rooters' share this mentality; we are often found in the Student House gossiping together and try and organise regular events where we can just catch up!

Anyways, I think thats about it!  See ya!

Wednesday, 15 February 2012

Five question to the professor- week 7

As mentioned in an earlier blogpost, we decided on doing some interviews with professors and other staff connected with the RREprogram. First one out is Martin Ehrensvärd, from Copenhagen University.

1. Please state your name,age, university and connection to the RREprogram.
Martin Ehrensvärd, 44, University of Copenhagen. I'm the local coordinator which means that I'm the one with most contact with the students, trying to make sure that everything runs smoothly. I also lecture in the programme.

2. What is your area of expertise? and which courses do you teach in the RREprogram?
I'm a Semitic philologist by training and have mostly published in the area of language, mostly classical Hebrew but also Arabic. I teach classical Hebrew and classical Arabic, and in addition I lecture in mysticism and some early mystics.

3. How do you find the this way of teaching, which is not regular university courses but also not distance learning?
I love it! I teach via Skype, and I love the flexibility of it - being able to teach students resident all over Scandinavia. Also, the teaching can go on undisturbed even if they or I am travelling. On a side note, the students in the programme tend to be bright, and this adds tremendously to the joy of teaching.

4. What do you expect from your students?
I expect that they sign up to the courses out of a genuine motivation to learn - and that they expect to be able to spend seven or eight hours pr. week, including classes. I also expect and encourage them to cooperate with me so that we together can create the best possible learning environment. When everybody state what they think without holding back, it is much easier to go forward together.

5. If you could have any superhuman power, what would it be and why?
Very interesting question. Ok, well, my greatest wish for every human being, including myself, is that we become more curious about what it actually is like to be in other peoples' shoes. In other words, the empathetic urge to set one's own agenda aside for a moment and genuinely sense into what is going on 'over there', be it in another person (like a relative or colleague) or a group of people. So, I would choose the power to plant the idea in everybody's heart that it might be a good idea to start genuinely finding out what it is like to be in someone else's shoes, especially the people one is in conflict with. And why? Because I think this would make the world a vastly better place to live for everyone.

Tuesday, 14 February 2012

an RREproject

The video tells you how people studying RRE at the moment thinks about the program. But what is the opinion of the professors? and how about those who graduated during the year of 2011? Our project for the next weeks will be to reserach this and present you for interviews with some RREprofessors and former students. Hopefully we will have a post with "five questions to the professor" already next week. stay tuned!

Saturday, 11 February 2012

The RREstudents proudly presents....a video!

This video was made by Hala during our compact seminar in Århus in November. If you want to know why YOU should chose RRE as your master, watch it!

Thursday, 9 February 2012

RREchilling out in Copenhagen

Thursday the 16.of february some of us RREpeople from Lund and Copenhagen will be spending the evening at Cafe Cadeau, a non-profit cafe situated in H.C Ørestedsvej 28C, at Frederiksberg in Copenhagen area (close to "Forum" metro station).If you live in Copenhagen or nearby, or you happen to be in town, please feel free to drop by and meet us, we will be there from around 18 and until the cafe closes (21:30).  :)


Wednesday, 8 February 2012

Copenhagen info

Thursday the 9.of February (tommorow) at 12:15 in room 243 at the theological faculty in Copenhagen, there will take place an infomeeting for students curious about studying RRE. if you yourself are interested, or you know somebody who might be, this is an important date to remember.

we will try to post info here at the blog about stuff happening related to RRE in the different universities, and if you would like to email or meet with one of us students, please write an email to: and we will be happy to help you :)