May 9th, 2009


Blog categories

Name a blog by a medievalist. Any blog. You need not comment to list it, but think of one.


The first and most obvious one which came to the mind of someone on a roundtable I attended today was Now Peter is doing wonderful and interesting things there, but I certainly don't think of it primarily as a blog. It includes a blog, but the site does a whole lot more than provide a news feed on medievalia.

Yet in the mind of this presenter, a news feed blog was the most obvious example, an exemplum among blogs by and for medievalists. This isn't the first time that I've seen news blogs privileged over other kinds, specifically professional, critical, academic life, and other personal blogs. I can't check right now, but I'm fairly sure I've been seeing news blogs crop up as winners in "best blog" categories very frequently lately. They're a good and useful service, but they certainly aren't the only kind of blog out there, and they show an ignorance of the richness of the medieval blogging community, its resources, and its history.

It's really made me think today. Should there eventually be a critical online book-equivalent for the "Weblogs and the Academy" series that we've been organizing? Why is there such a hierarchy of blog types? (I've heard some constructive answers to that today, and hope to continue the discussion at tomorrow's 3:30 session, this year's installation of our series.) Should we care that someone working professionally in online presence was less interested in more analytic, critical, and personal sites?

(Note: I'm reading a lot into a a few lines here. The short talk wasn't about blogs; it was about online presence modes, and only mentioned blogs in passing as one example of that. After a few sentences on, he also mentioned Per omnia saecula in passing. Also, that medievalist bloggers have real senses of humor. He didn't omit other kinds of blogs entirely, but the speaker clearly privileged news over other types of content, at least in unplanned instinct.)