For those of you following the discussion here about H-Net, listservs and blogs, and the future of scholarly conversations in a digital environment, here are a couple of additional links for you. The discussion of these issues that is going on on the H-German list has included two more posts. Here is a clip from Nathanael D. Robinson of Brandeis University who concludes:
The success of a blog that would, in Paul Steege’s words, become “a collaboration in German history”, would depend on the enthusiasm and character of its participants. /Frog in a Well /and /Chapati Mystery/ do a great job setting the tone for blogging in their respective fields of study. Konrad Lawson, Alan Baumler and Manan Ahmed combine rigorous scholarship with far-sighted concern for technology and irreverence. The anonymously-written /Another Damned Medievalist/ provides insights into the working of the academy. The list of fine blogs is long. However, they all engage in discussions across the blogosphere rather than concentrate on only their own blogs. I’d recommend that Germanists become more involved before taking the next step. [I added the links here, since one can’t do that in an H-Net posting.]
And here’s an excerpt from a longer post by Erik C. Maiershofer of Hope International University, who wrote:
What if we didn’t cede the blogosphere to everyone else? What if our unfinished thoughts (and the rebuttals and contestations) were available for the world to see? Rather than undermining the authority of us professional academics, might such a strategy expand our relevance? Might it invite more and different participants into the kind of discourse we so often wish for in public?”
Both of these contributions to the discussion raise a very important issue that I did not when I first brought the issue up two weeks ago. What are the consequences for academics of ceding the public discussion of issues we care about to others? I can’t tell you how many times over the years I’ve heard a colleague complain that so-and-so in the news media, or this person he spoke to at a cocktail party just didn’t understand the historical dimensions of this, that, or the other issue. As long as we keep or professional conversations locked behind the walls of email listservs and annual meetings attended only by us and our graduate students, is it a wonder that others don’t know as much about history as we’d wish?
Finally, for those of you who are German speakers, here’s another blog that has taken up the thread.