It’s a great time to be an academic blogger
In the land of history blogging, there’s a new blog to report. Joining Frog in a Well Japan and Frog in a Well China is Frog in a Well Korea, creating a fine triumvirate of Asian history blogging. Involved in all three projects are my fellow Cliopat Jonathan Dresner and my fellow Harvard history grad student Konrad Lawson. Check all three out!
Cliopatria is launching an effort to recognize the best in history blogging. The Cliopatria Awards will go to Best Group Blog, Best Individual Blog, Best Newcomer, Best Post, Best Series of Posts, and Best Writing. The Patahistorian has generously nominated me for some of those awards; thanks, Dave, but I think I’m ineligible, since I’m also a Cliopat. But, right back atcha, Patahistorian. I’m nominating you for Best Newcomer. I’ve been poking around the blogosphere myself looking for likely nominations in all categories, and right now I agree with Brandon at Siris–there are just too many great history blogs out there!
**UPDATE!! Ralph and Sharon have pointed out in the comments that Cliopats are eligible for individual awards, but Cliopatria itself is not elegible for Best Group Blog. Judges, of course, cannot win categories for which they are judges.**
Now, the metablogging portion of our discussion. My buddy Sepoy over at Chapati Mystery (which is being redesigned, by the way, be patient!) has an excellent post on what constitutes academic blogging, and academic blogging’s future. Money quote:
All blogs are not created equal. Similarly, all bloggers are not the same kind of bloggers. Blogging – a time-stamped tool for disseminating information and receiving feedback – is as vast and diverse a phenomenon as those with access to a computer terminal.
I couldn’t agree more. So I’ve been feeling rather warm and fuzzy about the academic blogosphere lately, especially as I write up the results of my survey of two months ago (yes, it’s coming, I promise! I’ve just been dissertating and job marketing and blogging takes a back seat most days to the tasks of finishing and getting a job).
And then I read something like this. I’ve been watching Paul Deignan slowly self-destruct from the sidelines, and it has prompted me to wonder if this will add fuel to Ivan Tribble’s fire. (And this right after a column I’ve written for CHE goes to press defending academic bloggers generally and blogging grad students specifically–stay tuned for that next week.) Although I’ve tried to make sense of the sequence of events, and I’ve tried to see this from Paul’s perspective, I can only come to three conclusions: 1. Outing Bitch PhD is completely unnecessary and offensive. 2. The UNI prof who contacted Paul’s advisors acted unwisely, but not illegally. The appropriate response from both Paul and his advisors would have been to ignore him. 3. Paul’s threatened libel lawsuits against both Bitch PhD and the UNI professor are preposterous.
I have believed since I began blogging that this medium has great potential to bring the academy to the public and the public to the academy, revitalizing both at a time when those inside and outside the ivory tower seem to be separated by an ever-widening gulf. Paul’s threatened lawsuits threaten that potential by publicizing a brief and silly squabble that would have faded on its own. Nevertheless, I think this situation is an exception to the rule in the academic blogosphere. 99% of academic bloggers are committed to “[m]aking a critical engagement with the social and political world that she inhabits,” as Sepoy says in his post. Amen to that.