Having looked at the debate among critical geographers over blogging and social media (here, here, and here), let’s look at another, adjacent discipline: anthropology.
No work necessary: Ryan Anderson’s latest post at Ethnographix does it for us. Anthropologists, Anderson writes, have been “slow to find their way into the vastness that is the internet.” Fortunately, there are some excellent exceptions. His overview of them covers almost all of the anthro blogs in my own blog reader: Savage Minds, Neuroanthropology, Zero Anthropology, Middle Savagery, Archaeological Haecceities, media/anthropology, Michael Shanks’s excellent personal blog, and a few others. (I would add Anthropology.net and Material World to the list.)
Anderson has cross-posted the piece, plus a readers’ poll, at Daily Kos.
(This could become a little like my Environmental Thought and Culture graduate seminar, where we do a survey of how different social science and humanities disciplines are meeting the eco-critical challenges of the twenty-first century. Next stop: philosophy? sociology? English lit? communication studies? I’ll leave those to others, for now.)
(Note: (polo)(blogo) bears no relationship to bolo’bolo. But maybe it should.)
The last few posts raise the question of whether it’s better for me to post newsy snippets like these as separate blog posts, or if I should keep them in the Immanence Shadow Blog (Google shared items feed). I’ve generally confined them to the latter, except when there’s something particularly important or worthy of comment. It’s a question of whether readers prefer the constant drip-drip of blogginess — like Leiter’s or Harman’s philosophy blogs, Grist’s environmental feed, et al. — or an occasional but substantial release of the blog-gates.
One of my favorite object-oriented bloggers (who we’ll call A) writes that “It’s not surprising that there’s a wave of attacks on scholarly blogging” (emphasis added), pointing to another’s (B’s) post about “blowback from academics regarding blogging.” B’s post cites only two examples, “here on (A’s) blog (circularity #1) and here on (C’s).” The one on A’s blog mentions only C’s, and the one on C’s refers to a certain D’s and… back to A, where the only mention of blogging comes on an mp3 link. D’s, meanwhile, as I explained here, referred to a single “question raised” about blogging — one critical comment amidst dozens — in a discussion on a particular listserv.
So we have one attack that’s really just a curmudgeonly whine (the one from the listserv that, in its context, turned out to be the exception that proved the rule, which is that everyone loves blogging). And we have a second (on A’s mp3, which I haven’t listened to, so I can’t say much more about).
Friends, what say we wave off the attacks, relax, exhale?
Stu Elden has been posting about a debate debate on the Critical Geography listserv over the virtues and pitfalls of blogging, and of using blogs, Twitter, and other social media as research tools and data.
I’ve been trying to follow that debate, at least to the extent that I’ve been able to follow anything on the listservs I subscribe to (which hasn’t been much recently). The ease of following blogs as opposed to listservs is one of the points I made in a comment to the list. I find that listservs can be more difficult to keep up with than blogs, since blogs just roll into one’s blog reader, which make their posts more easily organizable, taggable, shareable, searchable, and so on. When one follows one or two listservs, as many disciplinary scholars are likely to do, it’s not a real bother to keep up with them. But when one follows several, as interdisiciplinarians tend to do, it can become overwhelming. I’ve unsubscribed from some recently, but still stay on a handful (for the record, E-ANTH, Critical Geography, the Environmental Communication Network, ASLE, the Peirce List, and two or three others I can’t remember right now).
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Levi Bryant responds to my last post (and by extension to Chris Vitale’s) here. I agree with him that he and Graham Harman have made worthy efforts at addressing concerns that are central to process-relational philosophical communities (e.g., in Bryant’s Difference and Givenness and in the books of Harman’s that I’ve lauded on this blog); nowhere did I claim they have “made no arguments.” My point in the comparison was not to “appeal to authority,” as Levi claims. It was simply to point out the fact that one could fill a modestly sized room with the books that have been published by Deleuzians, Whiteheadians, Peircians, Bergsonians, Jamesians, neo-Spinozans, Hartshornians, Batesonians, panpsychists, biosemioticists, affective materialists, etc. etc. (not to mention Buddhist nondualists and other non-Western-based philosophers, at which point we would need a modestly sized building, not just a room). One could not fill a small shelf yet with OOO books.
This says nothing about the quality of any of these books. But it does say that the former (process-relational) traditions have been productive research programs (in philosopher of science Imre Lakatos’s terms), which is almost as good as one could hope for in a field as paradigmatically pluralistic and divided as philosophy. The difference between a productive and a moribund research program is not always easy to tell except in retrospect, but the level of continuing idea-generation and publishing, including efforts that traverse between and across the various sub-traditions I’ve just mentioned, is relatively healthy. Given that state of the field, Kuhnian paradigm shifts are probably not on the philosophical horizon anytime soon. But I admire OOO-ists’ efforts (and enthusiasm) to cut a wide swath through current philosophical discourse, and I actually cheer them on in doing this (since I share at least some of their interests). But let’s keep things in perspective.
On an unrelated note: my blogging will likely be minimal over the coming weeks. I may polish off a few half- or mostly-written posts from my drafts folder, and I will continue to update my Shadow Blog (since that takes no time at all). You may see a few guest bloggers here as well. But otherwise, don’t expect too much activity here, especially on this objects-processes debate.
For some inexplicable reason, my post on Spike Jonze’s movie Where the Wild Things Are keeps getting an inordinate number of hits, seemingly from casual passersby. These are people from all over the world, coming (sometimes) in droves to that one blog post, generally dropping into this blog directly from Google, and I can’t find any connecting link to an outside source that would account for all that traffic.
It’s old, and it wasn’t a particularly substantive post, even compared to some of the other film reviews I’ve posted here. So why all the interest?
Compared to last year’s report, this one will be brief.
The blog has been a little more active this past year than in its first year, featuring some 200 posts (compared to 140), many of them short but some quite substantial. Highlights included the cross-blog Vibrant Matter reading group (in May and June), the recurring process-object debates (see Geophilosophy), more writing on film, and more political commentary (including about oil and the Gulf spill and other environmental matters).
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Fifty visitors at once on this blog (according to Sitemeter). That may well be a record… If the pages load slowly, that’s probably the reason… Must be the books.
Some of the videos on this blog seem to have not made it through the migration from MovableType to WordPress. That’s because this blog is on the University of Vermont server, which has fewer options for embedding videos than do stand-alone WordPress blogs. You can still find those videos from the Search bar of the old blog, but I will gradually work through them to make sure they’re here if they deserve to be.
The old blog will remain in place until it’s taken down (which I’m told will be sometime soon, but earlier predictions about such things have not been reliable). Until then it remains a useful record of this blog’s first two years. The category pages now give you a complete chronological file of all the posts in each category — which is a much quicker way of scanning through what’s been on immanence over that time than working your way through the posts here. The old blog also has a much more complete tag cloud.
The old blog is no longer accepting comments, nor will I be adding anything to it, except for the occasional reminder to the remaining subscribers (166 and dwindling) to come join us over here. It is at this point a sarcophagus, a dead record of the first two years of immanence. (A brief annual report will be coming soon. And expect a few changes in the new year.)