This past week classes began, which means the craziness has begun. I only have classes in the afternoons and on two days each week, amazing I know. On Wednesday I took the 20 minute train to my university in time for my four pm class. I had read somewhere that class didn’t officially begin until the following week, but I wasn’t sure and since you can only miss one class I thought better be safe than sorry. There was no class. Instead of twiddling my thumbs I read a book and soon enough it was time for the second class of the day – Corrientes Spirituales. To get a feel for the spiritual currents of the time period we are focusing ourselves in the Monastery Descalzas Reales (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Las_Descalzas not as good as the spanish link but at least you can read it) and using this as our launching point. The next day I had my other class – Fuentes Documentales. This class is one of the mandatory courses that focuses on using the correct documents to understand a given historical situation such as the Nobility, which is our topic. Thus far I am very happy with my decisions of courses and will see where they take me.
Now as for the craziness. Instead of waiting till the end of the semester (January) to start talking about paper assignments, both professors wanted us to give an idea of our paper topics on the first day to have them concretized by next week. Slightly stressful when in many cases I didn’t really know what either class was fully about. Fortunately after giving my historical interests both professors guided my decisions and I have started to do research on both this weekend. I think that I will like working with these topics. For Corrientes Spirituales I am going to write something about the demarcation of religious and secular space in the monastery. This monastery is actually in the heart of Madrid just one metro stop from my home and so I think that I will go tomorrow to get a better understanding of this undertaking. For my other paper, I have been doing research to see if my current topic is viable. I want to write about the Royal Seals that were used in the New World in lieu of the king’s actual body. These seals were placed on documents and were then given the same reverence as if the king was physically there with the people. Since the class focuses on the Nobility I would like to focus on how the multiplicity of the King’s image enhanced his power in a place that he would never set foot. However this topic must first be approved before I continue further. All in all it was a great first week of school. I made some new friends in my small classes and I am looking forward to the rest of the semester, especially evidenced by the fact that I have spent all day yesterday and today researching my two topics.