Stories of PhD Mamas

I was pretty much past the hands-on mothering stage by the time I entered my PhD program in 2003 as my kids were almost grown and one was already out of the house. But I remain interested in the stories of PhD holders and students, especially those who share the … Continue reading

Dissertation Blues

I approached January and February as a time to really get my dissertation research organized and plunge in energetically. But I’m stalled. That’s not like me. I write and research easily. Could be the time of year. I’ve always thought of the “Jan-Febs” as the most depressing time of year … Continue reading

Is Blogging Scholarship?

Given that I started this blog to synthesize and examine certain content areas in my PhD program, I’m interested in any commentary on the intersection between academia and blogging.

One such recent piece appears in Tax Prof Blog, a member of the Law Professor Blogs Network, which reports on a panel titled “Blogging: Scholarship or Distraction” at the Association of American Law Schools annual meeting, with the program describing the session this way:

One of the most salient developments in the Internet revolution is blogging. Blogging has become a widespread cultural phenomenon and has had important implications for politics, the media and education. This panel considers academic blogging and asks the question whether blogging is a new form of scholarly activity or just a diversion from the pursuit of serious intellectual inquiry.

Lots of fascinating lists and categories in the report. A list of law-blog categories developed by panelist Lawrence B. Slocum could be adapted to just about any academic discipline:
1. Blogs by academics with a focus in the blogger’s academic
2. Blogs by academics with a focus outside the blogger’s
academic discipline.
3. Blogs by non-academics with a focus in an academic

Slocum went on to list 7 ways in which blogs are important for [legal] scholarship, adapted here for scholarship in general:
1. Internet-time (v. snail mail-time)
2. Open-source revolution
3. Google searches
4. Disintermediation (the declining influence of scholarly intermediaries)
5. Lifting the cone of silence (the waning of the acoustic isolation of the academy)
6. Globalization of the dissemination of scholarship
7. eBayization of scholarship (changing the marketplace of scholarly ideas)

Apparently much discussion in this panel centered on how blogging is harmful for untenured faculty, presumably both because it distracts time from “legitimate” scholarship and because junior, untenured faculty can be harmed in the promotion and job search by saying controversial or unscholarly things in their blogs. Continue reading