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Thursday, November 2, 2017

November 2, 2017: 7 Years of Scholarly Blogging: Rob Velella



[This coming weekend will mark this blog’s 7-year anniversary (my November 5th debut post on Du Bois has unfortunately vanished). In honor of that milestone, I wanted to spend the week highlighting some of the many wonderful academic and scholarly bloggers to whom this work has happily connected me. Leading up to a few reflections on my work, past and future, in this space!]
Three sides to a unique but also illustrative public scholarly voice and career.
1)      The American Literary Blog: I first met Rob through his daily American Literary Blog, which quickly became an early and influential model for my own blog in many ways (perhaps most especially the discipline to produce quality posts with that level of frequency). We then had the chance to write Guest Posts on each other’s blogs, and that too modeled for me the way in which digital scholarly connections can genuinely enrich each conversation and become ideal versions of online and academic communities. While Rob has since moved on to other, ongoing pursuits (including those I’ll mention), his blog remains accessible and vital as an illustration of all those and many other goals.
2)      Performing Poe and Hawthorne: As his Guest Post on my blog reflected, Rob has been offering public scholarly performances as these two 19th century authors for many years; but as his information sheet attests, he has stepped up the frequency and scope of those performances in recent years. Too often, we (however you want to define that we) treat living history, performance and interpretation, museums and historic/cultural sites, and other such spaces as entirely distinct from public scholarly writing; whereas in reality they’re all on a very clear spectrum, one focused on the question of connecting history, culture, literature, and related topics to public audiences. Rob’s career importantly makes it impossible to miss those intersections.
3)      Public Education: Rob’s working these days as a Student Development Specialist at the Community College of Allegheny County, one clear reflection of his commitment to public education. But (as I understand it) he began his professional public scholarly career as a Park Ranger at Cambridge’s Longfellow National Historic Site, which reflects another and equally meaningful side to his commitment to public education. Earlier this week my younger son’s 5th grade class took a field trip to Concord’s Minuteman National Historical Park, and I’d say such moments represent not just fun excursions, but the intersections of different and complementary forms of public education. Rob’s been modeling those intersections throughout his public scholarly career, and I look forward to seeing where he (like all my week’s focal voices) goes next!
A few thoughts on my own scholarly blogging tomorrow,
Ben
PS. Bloggers, scholarly or otherwise, you’d highlight?

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