Sind Weblogs Monster? | Are Weblogs Monsters? - Part 10

posted by usha on 2005/08/17 14:06

[ Sind Weblogs Monster? | Are Weblogs Monsters? ]

The Editor suggested to post our respective papers from the workshop Emergence Room which took place last week.

Well then, this is what I had to say. The most of my remarks are familiar to readers of this Weblog topic on which they are based.

Academics Blogging on Kk.rev

Blogs are field of experiment, on the one hand, and they are more or less canonized, on the other hand. Thus, there is still some potential for the innovation of structures of communicating information. The focus of the Kk.rev-Weblogs are various topics in which the different researchers are interested. These topics concern political, cultural, academic, as well as very private subjects at the same time. Moreover, on what you are doing your research also tells something about you (although how much of a personality appears is prolematic).

When the editing team of Kk.rev started this Weblog with the somehow vacant title "Redaktion" all three of us were absolut newcomers. None of us was ever actively engaged in the Weblog community, only passively by reading some Weblogs of persons we knew (as, for example, Randgänge by Thomas Burg). Having a group Blog is not very common within the frame of Weblogs functioning as means for self-management by exposing one's own interests, skills and personality to the public. On the other hand, group blogs are quite common within the community of academic and news-oriented bloggers, as, for example, Genderblog or PolBlog. There is, at least in my case, an additional difficulty in writing this Blog, since my dearest research topics (philosophy, theory of literature, metamorphoses, narratology) do have no place within the Weblog we established and which is mainly dedicated to CE and SEE studies as is Thus, I often find it a bit difficult to write only about my secondary expertise in these fields.

Towards an Aesthetics of Blogging Research

The blogging academy (i.e. academia nervosa) mostly uses the often-discussed diary-style and offers singular thoughts, the critique of texts, sentences, speeches of scholars or politicians. The number of entries often is low and the field of specialization narrow. Many of the so-called "academic blogs" as the German price-winning Genderblog is almost entirely limited to announcements of conferences, books, etc. Thus, the image of the authoritative, "objective" voice of academia is kept alive. The individuals disappear almost completely behind the information they spread.

Any work in progress, the emergence of a stand-alone thesis is in most cases not made visible, neither from individuals nor from groups of bloggers. The rhetoric and style of fragments, of a cautious searching for a thesis, of going two steps forward and one back again seems to be little attractive, although it is most helpful to use Weblogs as a personal notebook and slip box. In the unfolding of the process of thinking there is the danger of compromising oneself, since in this way the thinking and writing has to be preliminary. To do so needs experience in both, thinking and writing, as well as the will to participate in a (mute) discussion with others. Maybe there seems also to be the danger of losing one's intellectual property to others even before a thesis has emerged totally.

Thus, a rhetoric of critique – often banal – has appeared with comments on daily and too often short-living news. On the other hand, principal values are discussed, often in too moral a manner.

What could be academic topics in a blog at last? Empirically there is almost no difference to newsletters or calendar of events: many bloggers stay on the safe side. On the other hand, academics imitate journalists and the criticised politicians themselves by using jugdements of a high morality, an essayistic stylish writing and by sticking to the central discourse about what is worth to be discussed. Nothing is wrong with that. But it does not have to be enough. Thus, the prospects of the academic weblog forum on Kk.rev could be:

  • to risk the preliminary thought;
  • to talk about one's own interests, blind spots, research attempts (the often used "I" in the Sofia-blog by Assen);
  • to transport an atmosphere beyond the mere information and to draw the outlines of persons and institutes behind conferences, events, research and so on;
  • to connect personal, intimate, and everyday topics with general questions of interest,
  • and to reflect on one's own opinions and their conditions of formation, for example, by using irony and – most important, self-irony.



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