Blogs > Cliopatria > For your convenience

Jan 22, 2005 11:17 pm

For your convenience

Cliopatria's History Blogroll has now been divided into categories. Roughly. This means that I have now read, at least once, every blog on our blogroll. Comments, suggestions (and we're always looking for new blogs), complaints and compliments may be registered here. They may be ignored.

A thought, after cataloging: I was struck, actually, by the very large number of"academic lives" (which is, I grant you, a catch-all category)," commentary" and"historians who write about many things" (into which category Cliopatria would also surely fall), and the relative paucity of strong regional and"epochal" and event-focused blogs. Some of that is a function of our decision (so far) to leave off blogs on our main blogroll, but I do think it speaks to the relative weakness, so far, of the blogosphere as a professional venue for historians. This is not yet the venue of choice for serious discussions. I think that can, and should, and will change, but we're not there yet.

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Julie A Hofmann - 1/24/2005

I think you're right -- it was just one of those things that hit me as amusing and also, somewhat important. Scholarship is easy to separate from life and teaching, because it's tangible (although not when we're actually doing it, and seldom to our non-academic friends and relatives, who rarely understand that, yes, we are paid to read). Teaching is often much more closely intertwined with us as people and our daily lives, perhaps because the prepping and grading often do happen across the home/office boundaries.

Jonathan Dresner - 1/24/2005

Actually, I would dearly love to create a "teaching" category, but there really aren't enough blogs that are primarily about the teaching of history as separate from the committee work, politics, historiography, writing/research, personal/professional tensions, etc. That is what "Academic Lives" is about: it's not intended to deprecate those blogs, but to separate them from the more outward-focused categories. If Invisible Adjunct were still blogging (under that name; for all I know, she's blogging now), that's where her blog would go. And it is a fine line [which is to say, a gray area], and my highly impressionistic quick looks at blogs unfamiliar to me, so I'm open to adjusting the categories if they don't work.

I actually see those academic life blogs as being a strength of the academic blogosphere, but it might be more effective if, for example, New Kid and ADM and Dr. History and Female Planet and Kelly in Kansas were to create a group of blogs: one for personal/professional issues, one for teaching issues, one for institutional issues, one for historiography/writing/research issues. Then we'd be able to create meaningful categories, and start drawing some of these strands together.

This is why I don't blog alone. The strength of blogging, in my opinion, is the seminar-like (or perhaps post-seminar-like) constant exchange between engaged scholars.

Julie A Hofmann - 1/23/2005

of course this begs the question of whether blogs should be serious academic sites at all.

I also think it's interesting that many of the blogs listed under "academic lives" tend to focus a lot on teaching issues, so that the categories allow readers to infer that teaching isn't a serious academic issue ...

(this is not a criticism, I just think it's interesting that the split should be so ingrained in our perceptions, since Jonathan is particularly well-known to us as a person who cares a lot about teaching!)

Sherman Jay Dorn - 1/23/2005

I wouldn't be too worried about having this set of messy categories (even if I'd put myself in the catch-all "writes about many things" as opposed to the catch-all "academic lives" category, by the barest of margins). Far from being a poor use of the blogosphere for history, it instead could be seen as grist for the mills of historiography essays some decades hence.

More practically, it may just be that we need to take a few years to figure out how to use blogs in a serious academic fashion. Maybe historical reference works could be done online now, with essays as the main blogs and commentary in, well, the comments. On the other hand, that would make the reference works more like the Talmud. On the third hand, would that be so bad?

Grant W Jones - 1/23/2005

Will then Prof. Dresner deserves a hardy well done! I was just teasing, "my" blog is not really a history blog. I just link to whatever is of interest to me or on whatever is bugging me at the time.

Ralph E. Luker - 1/23/2005

Grant, I'm surprised that you hadn't said something earlier, as we've had the History Blogroll for quite some time now. As you'll see from it, we are not excluding any serious history blog for any ideological reason. Would you mind to put the suggestion in comments on the History Blogroll page, where we are accepting nominations and self-nominations, which are encouraged? Really, it was quite a chore to put the whole thing together and for Professor Dresner to get it into a more coherent form.

Grant W Jones - 1/22/2005

I'm hurt. How could you forget little ol' me? :-)

Brian Ulrich - 1/22/2005

That makes sense. I was just curious =) My blog isn't primarily about history anyway, so I didn't even think about it until I saw the category breakdown.

Ralph E. Luker - 1/22/2005

You are eligible, but we just haven't replicated any of the blogs that are already on our regular blogroll. In that sense, when we created the History Blogroll, we also discriminated against all the Cliopatriarchs who do their own blogs.

Brian Ulrich - 1/22/2005

Just out of curiosity, am I eligible to be added to the history blogroll?

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