Friday, November 3, 2017
November 3, 2017: 7 Years of Scholarly Blogging: AmericanStudier
[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 these quick reflections on my work, past and future, in this space!]
Two realizations over the past seven years that have helped shape my work in and beyond this space, and one that I’m still working to figure out.
1) My Biggest Project: I’m not sure exactly when I started to realize just how big of a project the blog was becoming, but I know why I did so: the Word document in which I have kept all of the posts. As I write this, that document is now 2744 single-spaced pages, the equivalent of more book manuscripts than I care to figure out. Yet while such statistics cause the occasional trepidation, in truth the dominant emotion they produce is one of immense satisfaction at the time and work that have gone into this project, as well as a recognition that it has become by any measure my most career-long and extended piece of writing. That the blog has led to the kinds of communal connections I highlighted throughout this week’s series, as well as to each of my last few book projects and many other opportunities, only reinforces how central it has become and will remain to every part of my career.
2) Valuing Digital Public Scholarship: Yet at the same time, I believe that the current structures of academia and higher education—and even the broader structures of public scholarship—remain largely unable to view scholarly blogs as anything other than private journals, unrelated to the bulk of what we emphasize and prioritize. I understand that they’re not peer-reviewed, although many forms of online/digital scholarship are not (at least not in the conventional sense of the peer review process). But they also have the ability to reach and engage audiences far more directly and meaningfully than do most peer-reviewed publications, and thus each form complements the other as part of a 21st century scholarly career. My experiences with AmericanStudier have thoroughly convinced me of the need to value digital public scholarship as part of our institutional, communal, and public conversations, and I’ve already done what I can to bring that perspective to Fitchburg State’s tenure and promotion process.
3) Further Conversation: As longtime readers of the blog know, my most consistent wish across all seven years has been for more comments, to hear more of what readers are thinking (including what brings them here, but also and especially their take on my posts and topics). Stats seem to show that I’ve gotten more viewers and readers each year, and that’s a really nice thing to see and not one I would ever take for granted. But I can’t lie, every additional reader also feels like another chance to hear a bit about and from that person—who you are, what brings you here, what you find, what you’d say in response, and so on. If adding a comment on a post doesn’t work for whatever reason, you should feel free to send me an email with any such thoughts as well. If I could average something like a comment or response per post for my 8th year of blogging, I’d find this space even more meaningful and satisfying than I already do.
October Recap this weekend,
PS. You know what to do!