Into the Blogosphere by Laura Gurak

Into the Blogosphere is Laura Gurak’s new edited collection on Blogs. The subtitle is Rhetoric, Culture, and the Community of Weblogs.

When blogging first started there was little written about it except to point to it as a new phenomenon. Now, there’s volumes.

Check out Scholars Who Blog in the Chronicle of Higher Education.

Blogs are supposed to provide a space for free speech. The faculty in this article defend issues of personal tone, free range of topic, etc. My own blogging experience as an academic has been dismal, and I don’t know that I will ever feel free to say what I want, although I typically say it anyway. There are many times, though, when I stop typing something and erase because I know a student might be reading.

It’s depressing that academic censorship, the lack of academic freedom (which we supposedly don’t need because we have free speech), and the southern gentility that governs our expectations about a public, professional presence all serve as an inducement to self-censorship on my own privately-owned site simply because the site is part of the public sphere.

Question to the class: Self-censorship of a blog by an academic. This illustrates

A. The internalized prison guard in Foucault’s Discipline and Punish.
B. Exciteable Speech — a.k.a. reiteration of the heteronormative matrix that keeps the hated as non-subjects (in the world according to Judy). Wrap your mind around that one, baby.
C. Further proof that the masses should simply stop working and join Hardt and Negri’s party.

To grade your exam, email your answer to: Salon. I’m sure someone there will know how to grade it.

1 Comment

  1. I totally agree about the “chill” of speech online. I have a “friends only” blog which I post to with abandon, but on the public ones I don’t disclose, say, my dream last night about making love to a goat and, god-forbid! signing up for cell phone service with verizon. Shesh!

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