On Wednesday, the university’s social and cultural events organizer Studium Generale hosted their second edition of Table Talk, a casual yet in-depth discussion centered around a main theme that anyone can participate in. Each month, Studium Generale will choose a new topic for Table Talk in which students and faculty alike can speak freely, without needing a deep knowledge on the topic beforehand.
“I’ve been thinking about the hierarchy that exists within our programs where you have a person of knowledge and then the knowledge-seekers so to say,” said Camie Karstanje, program director of Studium Generale. “I think this works well for those who just want to listen, but it’s not satisfactory for everybody. Some like to interact, so by taking away the stage and the gap between those with knowledge and those without, everyone who comes to Table Talk can be both students and teachers together.”
The format of Table Talk is reminiscent of the agora in ancient Athens, where enlightening conversations rang about amongst the intellectuals and common-day people in ancient Greek civilization. Of course, Table Talk takes place on a campus with brutalist concrete towers and dreary November skies instead of stone pillars and sunshine, but the idea is there.
On Wednesday’s edition of Table Talk, the focus was on modern feminism, an open debate on what makes a good or a bad feminist, and all the difficulties that come with calling yourself a feminist. Perhaps not a topic you’d hear in the agora of ancient Athens, but one that aroused a wealth of robust opinions that prompted the Table Talk to go on an hour longer than expected.
“I found it nice to see all the people who had the same interest as me, including a girl from my study who I had no clue shared this interest,” said a Masters student who preferred to remain anonymous. “You don’t really hear so much talk about left-leaning topics like feminism or wealth inequality on campus, so I’d like it if more of these discussions come about.”
What's to come
Although the theme for the next edition of Table Talk has yet to be announced, Karstanje hinted towards a few noteworthy themes, which included whether or not we’re living in a Cold War, and what should happen to all your digital files after you die, something known as the digital afterlife. More information about Studium Generale’s next events can be found here.