The latest piece I’ve added is the following bit of prescient (or perhaps eternally relevant) American humor:
Bloggers like to talk about why they blog. I will talk here about why I have not been doing that (blogging, or talking about it) and what that’s meant for me.
The main reason is the obvious: having a kid takes away all your free time. And blogging, unless it’s done as part of your professional workload (or as an attempt to kickstart one of those into existence, like some spiritual entity one forms in effigy and then enchants into life through the appropriate charms, chants, invocations, and ritual gestures), is done during one’s free time.
Readers may have noticed that in addition to a general hiatus on this blog, the Immanence Shadow Blog (scroll down on the right) also stopped updating several weeks ago. This is because Google Reader, in its recent redesign, eliminated its Shared Items feeds, which means that I can no longer click “Share” on items in my feed reader and have these automatically show up in the Shadow Blog.
Responses to the elimination of this social networking feature on Google Reader seem to have been overwhelmingly negative (see here, here, here, here, here, and here). But Google doesn’t seem to have shown any interest in re-establishing any of it. Instead, they have put their energy into developing and refining Google+, hoping that users will follow them into that uncharted domain. I haven’t done that, and am looking for alternatives. Ideas welcome.
I owe regular readers an explanation for the lengthy hiatus on this blog.
As I had predicted would happen back in the summer, this semester turned into an extremely busy one for me.
Directing the Environmental Studies program at the University of Vermont is a large part of that busyness: it’s a large, interdisciplinary and cross-college program of nearly 500 undergraduate majors, which has seen its student numbers climb consistently over several years while faculty and staff numbers have actually declined. This has led to a barely sustainable staffing situation, though we are far from unique in that respect. Directing it involves a lot of advising (those 500 students) and overseeing of a somewhat complicated and highly individualized curriculum, reading and signing off on paperwork, organizing, leading and/or attending various kinds of meetings (in three different Schools and Colleges), overseeing the teaching of courses including our Students-Teaching-Students courses, putting out little fires as these arise on a somewhat regular basis, and so on.
Leon takes me to task for slowing down here, but finds much life in the ecophilosophical immanent-ontological underbrush — among fellow travelers Knowledge Ecology (who’s been on a roll lately), Immanent Transcendence, and Ecology without Nature. (And we should add Leon’s own After Nature.)
(Note: It’s all underbrush; no towering redwoods among us.)
He is, of course, right on all these counts. I’ve been a little nomadic over the summer (including spending beach time on Martha’s Vineyard this week with little rinpoche) and unable to spend much time online. I haven’t even managed to stay up to date with the Integral Ecology reading group (which hyper-prolific Tim has thrown several smoke-bombs into, and Michael will be wrapping up). And being program director in the fall will not make things much easier. But I am wrapping up my Ecologies of the Moving Image manuscript, which has been priority #1.
With that three-part series uploaded, I’ll be taking a break from posting extended articles here (as I’ve threatened to do once or twice already!) — with the exception of my contributions to the coming Integral Ecology reading group series, which will begin within a week and continue through June and July. The schedule and list of participating blogs for that series will be published soon.
Immanence will generally be less active over the summer months, but if anyone is interested in submitting a guest contribution — especially in a poetic or artistic vein — please send your ideas (or posts) to me at firstname.lastname@example.org. Since the “GeoPhilosophy” category of posts has overshot all others by far (up to 160, compared to 92 for “EcoCulture,” 81 for “Politics,” 69 and 68 respectively for “MediaSpace” and “SpiritMatter,” and less for others), I’d like to try to gradually rebalance the equation.
I try to reply to emails individually, but just in case I don’t get around to it, your thoughts are always welcome and very appreciated.
Gone to Earth (Haida Gwaii series, A. Ivakhiv)
Substantive posts on this blog will be more sporadic for the coming little while, since I really need to focus on wrapping up my cinema book.
But do let me know (by private email or public comment) if you’ve been finding the “Ecology-Ontology-Politics” series, or any of the other lengthier recent posts, useful. Those may eventually work their way into publications, but that’s such a slow process (and its results so inaccessible, compared to online publishing) that I wonder how worthwhile it is to expend the energy for it.
At the same time, while I’m happy to post more like those pieces, the price you pay for having them here should be at least the occasional comment (or even just an email)!
The Bill Cronon-Wisconsin Republican party tangle is making me — and many others, judging by the responses I’ve seen on academic listservs — think a little more deeply about how we use our e-mail addresses. Like many, I’m troubled by the possibility that someone could ask to see my e-mail correspondence on any old topic. But I also recognize that they have that right, or something like it, and that the same Freedom of Information laws allow me to ask for others’ e-mails — not everyone’s, but anyone’s who works for a publicly funded institution, like a university. That’s part of the price we pay for a public culture, which keeps us from the Hobbesian state of everyone’s liberty (with guns) against everyone else’s. It’s also what makes that culture vulnerable, but that makes it all the more important to use our public profiles in ways that enhance that culture’s viability.
Ian Bogost throws out a challenge to us (bloggers) all: How should blogs evolve? What kinds of media do we want for our thinking, writing, debating, communicating?
In other words, rather than celebrating what blogs allow us to do, or lament the knee-jerk negativity they still elicit in some (notably, academic) circles, and rather than merely taking them for granted as we’ve received them, how can we make them do what we want them to do? And if we can’t, what can we (eventually) replace them with?