Another year down the rabbit hole, and happy birthday to Historiann.com! Actually, I think my first post went “live” on December 31, 2007–you’ll see some older posts in the archive, but that was when my designer and I were just tinkering around and working out the format and look of the thing. So perhaps today is Historiann’s un-birthday instead? (Cake at left courtesy of Cakewrecks, natch.)
Originally, I envisioned this blog as a way to help publicize the Fourteenth Berkshire Conference on the History of Women held last June, and to provide a forum for discussion of women’s history and gender issues in contemporary life. Things got political very quickly when I got swept up in the Democratic primary race last winter and spring and the general election in the fall, and I also dipped my toe into academic politics in various posts on the uses and abuses of tenure and academic bullying.
One of the things I’ve noticed especially this year is the almost complete absence of feminist commentary and analysis in the mainstream media. (Joan Walsh at Salon.com, and Marie Cocco of the Washington Post Writers Group, are the only two exceptions I can think of.) I think academic feminist bloggers are doing a real service in providing this analysis, albeit on their own time and their own dime–Feminist Law Profs, Tenured Radical, Echidne of the Snakes, The Global Sociology Blog, Roxie’s World, WOC Ph.D., and Anglachel’s Journal, just to name a few that I read regularly.
Dr. Crazy had a very interesting post a few weeks ago on the advantages of blogging anonymously. As many of you know, she is pseudonymous, but her blog is not linked to her real name or professional identity other than her discipline (English.) I agree with her that anonymous bloggers can write about things that those of us whose blogs are linked to our professional identities can’t. Sometimes I regret that–but because this blog was originally meant to publicize a conference in which I played a major role, being anonymous wasn’t a comfortable option for me. I also wanted to write more about my professional research and teaching interests–and since there are only (maybe?) three dozen early American women’s historians in this country, it would not have been difficult to track me down. In general, it seems like the people who blog under their real names (or whose pseudonyms are linked to their real names, like Historiann) don’t share as much about their personal or family lives or their specific work environments, whereas anonymous academic bloggers share more of those things but don’t reveal as much about their professional lives or research interests. That’s the main trade-off. I realize, however, that even having the choice of blogging anonymously or blogging as myself is itself a privilege–most of the “out” bloggers I know are tenured, and most of the anonymous bloggers are junior faculty or adjuncts.
I don’t know what exactly this blog will look like at this time next year, or how long I can keep up this pace of posting, but it’s still fun for me, and I am grateful to have so many very smart, very insightful commenters. I’ve really learned a lot from you all. Thank you.