Why Blog? why
not? …the demands placed on candidates for tenure, especially demands for publication, have been expanding in kind and increasing in quantity…
…junior faculty members are meeting these ever-growing demands even though this is a time when universities have lowered or eliminated subsidies for scholarly presses and libraries have dramatically reduced their purchases of books in the humanities. And despite a worsening climate for book publication, the monograph has become increasingly important in comparison with other forms of publication.
Report of the MLA Task Force on Evaluating Scholarship for Tenure and Promotion (December 2006) PRO Recommendations from the MLA Task Force Report:
3. The profession as a whole should develop a more capacious conception of scholarship by rethinking the dominance of the monograph, promoting the scholarly essay, establishing multiple pathways to tenure, and using scholarly portfolios.
4. Departments and institutions should recognize the legitimacy of scholarship produced in new media, whether by individuals or in collaboration, and create procedures for evaluating these forms of scholarship. CON proliferation of new forms of publishing, including e-publishing and self-publishing The granting of tenure should not be reliant on whether the vagaries of any publishing system did or did not allow a text to come into circulation, but rather on the value of that text, and on the importance it bears for its field. Peer-review thus demands to be transformed from a system of gatekeeping to a mode of manifesting the responses to and discussion of a multiplicity of ideas in circulation.
Kathleen Fitzpatrick, “On the Future of Academic Publishing, Peer Review, and Tenure Requirements” (The Valve, 2006) limited audience (even in academia) The problem, according to university presses, is that we are not reading one another as much as we once did - or at least that we are not buying one another's books and assigning them to our classes. There are, I know, economic factors here: we are reluctant to buy, let alone compel students to buy, expensive books. But judging from the fate of even modestly priced academic books in our field, the problem is not exclusively economic. Somewhere over the past decade, our interest in one another's work - or, again, at least in owning one another's work - seems to have declined.
Stephen Greenblatt, MLA Presidential Address 2002 (Academic theorists equipped with advanced degrees, who make up yet another species of limited reviewers, are worthy only of a parenthesis. Their confining ideologies, heavily politicized and rendered in a kind of multi-syllabic pidgin, have for decades marinated literature in dogma. Of these inflated dons and doctors it is futile to speak, since, unlike the hardier customer reviewers, they are destined to vanish like the fog they evoke.)
Cynthia Ozick, "Literary Entrails" (Harper's, April 2007) Lit crit should finally die the death it so much deserves. Lit departments have floundered for decades because they have forgotten the text. Instead, they have pandered to the politically correct idiots who can neither read with sense nor write with style. May they ALL be flushed down the toilet where they belong.
Comment in Chronicle of Higher Education (September 2007) If closed peer review processes aren’t serving scholars in their need for feedback and discussion, and if they can’t be wholly relied upon for their quality-control functions — if they appear, at least to some, “quaint and primitive” — why do we cling so ferociously to them? Arguably, the primary purpose that anonymous peer review actually serves today, at least in the humanities, is that of institutional warranting, of conveying to college and university administrations that the work their employees are doing is appropriate and well-thought-of in its field, and thus that these employees are deserving of ongoing appointments, tenure, promotions, raises, and so forth.
Kathleen Fitzpatrick, Planned Obsolescence Preoccupation with peer review prejudice against form For the record, he does not call this a blog, partly, he says, because “I hate that particular syllable,” but also, more importantly, because “it doesn’t catch what I’m really trying to do, whether successfully or not. These are essays. When I think of a blog — and maybe I’m being unfair to bloggers because I don’t spend much time in the blogosphere — my sense of blogs is that that they’re written very quickly. This is stuff that I compose and recompose, and then recompose and recompose and recompose. It’s very written.”
(Interview with Jeff Nunokawa about FB 'essays') Another thing about blogging: lots of people with certain reading habits don't read blogs. I have nothing against them, but I don't read them, either. This is as much a function of available time as anything else. By restricting myself to published writing (whether digital or print), I am in effect ascribing value to the gatekeeping function of editors. I don't do this because I'm a snob, but rather because there are only so many hours in a day.
(Leonard Cassuto in Guardian 'live chat,' 2011) Blogs are just like other forms of writing, such as books, in that there's a whole lot of trash out there—and some gems worth reading. It just depends on what you choose to read (or write). And of course many (most? all?) other genres of writing have elements of self-promotion and narcissism. After all, a basic requirement of writing is the (often mistaken) belief that you have something to say that's important. . .
Dan Cohen, "Professors, Start Your Blogs" Dan Cohen:
Viewed properly, the open web is perfectly in line with the fundamental academic goals of research, sharing of knowledge, and meritocracy. . . . Jo VanEvery:
Scholars lose sight of the fact that academic publishing is about communication. Or, perhaps more accurately, communication appears disconnected from the validation process. the fear factor problems with print alternatives to print reasons to reconsider part of the kneejerk response to blogging on the part of established academics might be the concern that the field and its practices are getting away from them. It would seem to me that the average academic (or academic journal) seeks to avoid exposure. Publishing an article in the "Journal of narrowly-focused humanities studies" is a good way to hide. Those who do manage to find you will probably be sympathetic. Plus you always have the shield of peer-review: clearly someone thought what you said was ok. Even if someone disagrees with you, the differences will likely be on details that very few people will know or care about. Besides, by the time that person manages to write and publish a response, your article is in the distant past. In any case, this almost never happens. Since 93% of humanities articles are never cited you can safely publish with the assumption that no one will ever mention your article again. Phew!
Alex Reid, "Digital Digs" knowledge dissemination other benefits intrinsic value (intellectual stimulation, writing practice)
exposure to new ideas and perspectives
conversation and connections (including non-academic)
opportunity for knowledge mobilization outside usual parameters A key aspect of the digital revolution is not the direct replacement of one form of scholarly activity with another, but rather the addition of alternatives to existing forms. . . Previously if I wanted to convey an idea or a research finding, my choices were limited to a conference paper or journal article or, if I could work it up, a book. These choices still remain, but in addition I can create a video, podcast, blog post, slidecast, and more. It may be that a combination of these is ideal—a blog post gets immediate reaction and can then be worked into a conference presentation, shared through SlideShare, or turned into a paper that is submitted to a journal.
Martin Weller, "The Virtues of Blogging as Scholarly Activity" (CHE April 30, 2012) BLOGGING DOESN'T 'COUNT' limited access "every year JSTOR turns away 150 million requests"
(CHE, January 2012) alienation from broader culture 'ivory tower' practices contribute to public misunderstanding, misrepresentation
(this has political consequences) http://jovanevery.ca/communication-vs-validation-why-are-you-publishing/ http://www.mla.org/pdf/taskforcereport0608.pdf http://www.thevalve.org/go/valve/article/on_the_future_of_academic_publishing_peer_review_and_tenure_requirements_or/ http://chronicle.com/article/The-Virtues-of-Blogging-as/131666/ http://chronicle.com/blogs/wiredcampus/jstor-tests-free-read-only-access-to-some-articles/34908 http://mediacommons.futureofthebook.org/mcpress/plannedobsolescence/ http://www.openlettersmonthly.com/novelreadings/cassuto-on-blogs-i-have-nothing-against-them-but-i-dont-read-them-either http://www.dancohen.org/2006/08/21/professors-start-your-blogs/ http://www.alex-reid.net/2011/03/on-the-value-of-academic-blogging.html Rohan Maitzen
FASS Research Retreat
May 4, 2012 http://www.openlettersmonthly.com/novelreadings/ Novel Readings http://www.openlettersmonthly.com/all-the-world-to-nothing/See the full transcript