If Academic Blogging is a Carnival, Where's the Cotton Candy?

I don’t have a lot of time to write about this now (I’m way behind on my grading), but I’d highly recommend the CHE article “The Blogosphere as a Carnival of Ideas” by Henry “his real name” Farrell, who is himself a member of the Crooked Timber blogging collective.

It’s a great piece. After a few opening paragraphs where I thought Farrell was going to go down the really tired pseudoanonymous blogger argument thing again, he gets into swing with an argument that I and plenty of other academic bloggers have made for a while now: “blogging isn’t a hobby; it’s an integral part of their scholarly identity” and blogging should have some place in the realm of academic publishing. Here’s a longer quote:

Why are so many academics beginning to blog? Academic blogs offer the kind of intellectual excitement and engagement that attracted many scholars to the academic life in the first place, but which often get lost in the hustle to secure positions, grants, and disciplinary recognition. Properly considered, the blogosphere represents the closest equivalent to the Republic of Letters that we have today. Academic blogs, like their 18th-century equivalent, are rife with feuds, displays of spleen, crotchets, fads, and nonsenses. As in the blogosphere more generally, there is a lot of dross. However, academic blogs also provide a carnival of ideas, a lively and exciting interchange of argument and debate that makes many scholarly conversations seem drab and desiccated in comparison. Over the next 10 years, blogs and bloglike forms of exchange are likely to transform how we think of ourselves as scholars. While blogging won’t replace academic publishing, it builds a space for serious conversation around and between the more considered articles and monographs that we write.

Right. And that’s what we’ve been saying for years now. I’m just glad that Farrell said it as well as he did and that the CHE published it. Go read it; you’ll be glad you did.

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