I have not been writing on my blog recently. There are a variety of reasons for this, including the demands of graduate school, several alternate places that I write and some issues that I have run into in life, but perhaps the biggest concern for me in regards to the blog is the sense of purpose. When I started this blog I meant it to be a way for me to think about and talk about history while I did not have a formal platform. It was that general and as a result there was a sense of aimlessness. The one thing I did not want was excessive narrative of my own life. As I have gotten back into school the content changed slightly, and I spent more time reflecting on academia and society, as well as history. This is closer to what I want, but I am still not sure.
My ideal would be to help foster my own blog network among people I know who are writing and thinking about various topics, connected through mutual readership, commenting and supporting one another and collaborating whenever possible. In this goal, I have a standing offer to host blogs for other people. My dream in this event is to also host a forum community connected to this blog network that would (hopefully) foster collaborative and peer-review opportunities, as well as the opportunity to participate in academic debate. There are a number of problems with this goal, though, particularly in that my colleagues, much as I am, are pressed by their own work even if they are inclined to blogging, the internet or this sort of collaboration. There is also a fundamental lack of participants in general. The most successful forum communities I have or still do participate in have dozens of regular participants and hundreds, if not thousands, of members and occasional contributors. Of course this will not deter me from creating this forum with the hope that eventually something will come of it. Now, if only I had time to set all of this up.
But those are the goals for the aspects that are beyond my control and I still have uncertainty about my own blog, in part because I have heard horror stories about intellectual property and research projects stolen because they were posted online before publication. Now in my experience there tend to be five type of historian-academic blog:
-Relating everything that happens in the modern world to whatever project the author is currently working on
-Discussion of the academy and classes
-“This day in History”
-Commentary on politics and society
Now most blogs blend two or more of these different elements and, inevitably, mine will be no different. I started this for history and that will still feature prominently simply because it is central to my life, but more and more I expect that I will write about more diverse topics, including academia generally, self-review, book discussion, methodology, and commentary about society. Whatever piques my interest is fair game, though I expect narrative of my life will rarely feature. The key here is that I will also rarely feature straight narrative history. If some story comes up in my research then I may recount that, but that is about it. More often I expect my historical discussion to be in the form of contemplation and working through various arguments.