I've kept this blog, on and off, since 2006. In 2015 I used it to chart daily encounters, images, thoughts and feelings about volcanic basalt/bluestone in Melbourne and Victoria, especially in the first part of the year. I plan to write a book provisionally titled Bluestone: An Emotional History, about human uses of and feelings for bluestone. But I am also working on quite a few other projects and a big grant application, especially now I am on research leave. I'm working mostly from home, then, for six months, and will need online sociability for company!

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Blogging, tweeting, conferencing and speaking with Chaucer

Once again, medieval studies demonstrates its technological magic-loving supremacy, with Eileen Joy's virtuosic tweeting of Jeffrey Cohen's plenary talk, "Between Christian and Jew," at the Leeds Congress of Medieval Studies. Of course, you have to read it backwards, unless you scroll down to the bit where Jeffrey appears at the lectern. Eileen says she had to tweet discreetly, but Jeffrey describes it as "finger magic."

If I had been giving a talk, and seen the formidable Eileen tapping into her phone in the front row, it would have made me very nervous, but I guess, as with the Hansard reporters, one could get used to it. Not that I personally am used to Hansard reporters, but you know what I mean. Actually, I get a little nervous when my students cite my lectures in the footnotes to their essays, but I try not to let that show.

Anyway, this feed (and I must admit I was following it last night as Jeffrey was speaking in Leeds on Monday morning), reminds me to prompt medievalist readers of this blog to send me a proposal for the New Chaucer Society Congress in Siena (Si, Siena!!) next July.

Jeffrey has already agreed to appear on this panel: hooray! I was also thinking if there was enough interest in this topic that I might even start a new blog a few months prior to the congress, devoted simply to the discussion of medieval blogs, so that the panel's deliberations could include those who weren't going to be at Siena, and those who wanted to remain anonymous, etc. But wait, there's more.... I have every reason to promise that such a pre-conference blog will feature occasional contributions from the ultra medieval blogger. So this is your great chance to speak with Chaucer.

Here's the call for papers: the deadline is officially tomorrow, but I'll accept offers for at least the next week.

Session organizer: Stephanie Trigg (sjtrigg@unimelb.edu.au)

For those scholars who are aware of them, the professional landscape of medieval studies has been changed, in recent years, through the advent of blogs and other online fora for the exchange of ideas. From the wildly engaging Chaucer blog to the collaborative scholarship of In the Middle, and a range of more or less anonymous blogs from individual medievalists, it seems that certain medievalists love to blog. But why? To what extent has blogging changed the way medievalists communicate with each other? In the idealised answer to this question, blogging makes it possible for isolated scholars, junior scholars, graduate scholars, disabled scholars and others to take part in a more democratic, more easily accessible exchange of ideas. But blogging can’t escape hierarchies or intellectual imprecision altogether, while the ease of anonymous or pseudonymous publication potentially threatens the accountability of more formal and more highly regulated mode of publication and intellectual engagement. Other questions arise, too. What are the copyright implications of sharing drafts or published material on blogs? How has blogging changed our understanding of medieval studies and its communities? Is there anything distinctive about medieval blogs? What is the future of medieval blogging? Papers are invited from bloggers, lurkers on blogs, and non-bloggers.

OK? So get to it and wing me a proposal.

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