Thursday, October 6, 2005

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Scholar-blogger thoughts, cont'd

Following up on my last post:

Oxblog's David Adesnik is happy about the new U of C Law School blog -- and the extent to which the law school is proud of its existence -- but nevertheless believes blogging remains decidedly out of the academic mainstream:

What the issue comes down to, I think, is the perception that blogging is inherently unbecoming of a scholar. Posts are brief and rapid-fire. But what I hope that more faculties are beginning to discover is that blogging can serve as an important complement to the traditional forums for scholarship.

No one thinks that blogging should replace books or journal articles. But I think it can serve as an invaluable means of allowing scholars to apply their knowledge to current situations without having first to write a 30 or 300 page manuscript. Thus, I wish the UC faculty bloggers all the best and hope that their example will demonstrate that blogging is anything but the academic equivalent of lese majeste.

In the spirit of the last paragraph, I would encourage the IR scholars in the audience to check out Dan Nexon's post about the debate over the role that norms play in world politics. He's looking for feedback.

posted by Dan on 10.06.05 at 05:07 PM


Scholars are supposed to publish journal articles in journals almost no one will ever read. This is the path to tenure and promotions for most professors.

posted by: save_the_rustbelt on 10.06.05 at 05:07 PM [permalink]

Yeah Dan, that's the ultimate question, right -- will this blog help *anyone* reach the brass ring of academia: tenure? Or will it serve as a hindrance and a distraction? I don't see academic blogging taking off in any meaningful sense until the academic establishment (and its promotion system) learns to live in harmony with the blogosphere.


posted by: Phil Carter on 10.06.05 at 05:07 PM [permalink]

OK, now I feel like an ass because of the previous comment.

Dan, I've only read your work in Foreign Policy and Foreign Affairs, as well as on this blog, so I'm not familiar with your scholarship. But I think you have a first-rate intellect and I'm disappointed that you were denied tenure. And I'm especially disappointed that blogging might have had something to do with it.

I see professors like you and Eugene Volokh as public intellectuals, blazing a 21st Century path in the footsteps of 20th Century public intellectuals like James Q. Wilson, Sam Huntington, and Arthur Schlesinger. For all that those men published inside the academy, I believe they truly made a difference because of what they published outside the academy (see, e.g., Wilson and Kelling's famous "Broken Windows" piece in the Atlantic Monthly.) I feel very strongly that universities must find and promote individuals like you who will be the next century's public intellectuals, and that university promotion systems must recognize the value of blogging.

Best of luck to you, and please accept my most sincere apologies for my ill-timed comment.


posted by: Phil Carter on 10.06.05 at 05:07 PM [permalink]

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