Currently wading through what has accurately been described as a 'tome' of readings for a Master Class I'm attending next Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday on "Cultural Intimacy and Social Poetics: a new agenda for cultural research". I found out recently in an email that all students participating will be required to be 'rapporteurs'. What the hell is a rapporteur? I was intrigued by this word which resonated of French and possibly medieval origins.
The image that first came to mind was a cross between someone who goes to restaurants alot and a very fast moving and lethal ground-dwelling dinosaur of the Jurassic period. However, I discovered upon looking it up in dictionary.com that rapporteur has a rather more mundane meaning of being one who "is designated to give a report, as at a meeting." Definately no food or violent acts involved by the sounds of it, unless we are referring figuratively and a bit dramatically to the verbal assaults that can be delivered at meeting room tables. The rapporteur is someone who brings back as in portare "to carry", an account, in this case to the other meeting participants, although in our case it is being applied to mean that the rapporteur will suggest ways in which the readings and the discussion link with local interests as well as taking notes and outlining the main points and directions at the end of the session.
The whole thing is just making me feel very nervous I have to say and I'm a little concerned that if called upon, I may, as local rapporteur, become the rapporteur of my imagination delivering a belching, gutteral, stuttering and beastly display, rather than the professional, calm and academic performance that will be expected.