Week 3: The problem may also be the positive

Marginalization in historic and academic writings is near commonplace. The misogynistic overtures and extreme racial undertones found in some of the most celebrated writings from the past couple hundred years are telling of the culture we find ourselves a part of. Creating one’s own way and defining the self in academic writings as a purpose has found a home in the blogosphere—the Internet journal.

The Blogosphere has created a safe haven for the wildly fanatic and young scholar alike. Each hoping to get their ideas out on their own time and without the over zealous red pens of copy editors. The blog is the ultimate publisher and the ultimate peer review system—if those reading are in fact peers of course.

The study of history in tradition is near tedium and comprises a litany of facts and ideas to memorize and regurgitate later. What the blog has allowed is a place of analysis and a place to “introduce some unexpected influence and ideas” into ones own professional work according to Tim Burke in Ralph Luke’s “Were There Blog Enough and Time”.

The conversation is what gives the blog its modernity. The blog as the classroom of the future creates a space for intellectual practice and diversity of theory. Alex Sayf Cummings and Jonathan Jarrett mention the “semi-permanence” of online material and the issue that arises from the rapid innovations technology and therefore the web undergoes. These

“Living in truth, lying neither to ourselves nor to others was possible only away from the public: the moment someone keeps and eye on what we do, we involuntarily make allowances for that eye and nothing we do is truthful”
-Milan Kundera “The Incredible Lightness of Being”

Should we then take this online material with a grain of salt? Can we be none to sure that the content is not solely written for the purpose of the potential reader but for true and uninhibited scholarship? This is an argument against the blog but also an argument against the traditional subject journal. All scholarship is for public consumption and will always have the reader in mind. The journal does not rid that problem but it may mitigate it as most often online scholarship is written in an effort to spark conversation and therefore may be a bit more raw and welcome to review.

We must choose for ourselves not to look and think of history and the study of it as a precast fabrication we must strictly adhere to. The amateur historian and the thought provoking academic can meet and shed the insignificance created by traditional modes of study and bounce ideas, theories, intuitive remarks in a free and open environment. The modern blog can be understood as an instrument, a tool, in the breaking of the chains of old scholarship.

-Lynn Robinson


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