Wednesday, June 4, 2014

About Short-Form Medievalist Scholarship

In the initial post to this blog, I noted that one of the things that the blog will do is offer a venue for occasional bits of short-form medievalist scholarship. The justification for it deserves a bit of explanation.

That justification is presented, at least in part, in the 2011 issue of the Modern Language Association of America's* publication Profession. In it is a cluster of articles discussing the evaluation of digital scholarship, and in the introduction to that cluster is the suggestion that digital scholarship needs to be encouraged among junior scholars (126)--those who have not yet been awarded tenure and those who find themselves off of the tenure track but not secure in identities as independent scholars. This means that there needs to be more digital scholarship, and so more venues for it. Hence this blog offering space for such things. The same introductory essay notes also that "the digital is conducive to the kinds of projects...including pedagogy, public humanities, and the creation of scholarly editions" (125), and the Society has among its aims the promotion of wide public discourse about medievalism in genre. Indeed, the Society welcomes not only scholars but the artists who generate popular culture and the audiences who take it in. Since the blog form helps to open discourse, it suggests itself as a useful platform for short-form work.

In the articles in the cluster, Geoffrey Rockwell directly praises blogs for their ability to track emergent trends in research and scholarship and for their ability to present verification of scholarly and general impact through tracking reading figures (159-61). This aids the same encouragement of junior scholars noted above; the short works can be demonstrated as scholarly and as having been examined by others, suggesting scholarly influence. More relevantly, however, and the greater hope for the short-form pieces in this blog is the potential for commentary and sustained discussion that blogs provide. Kathleen Fitzpatrick remarks on the immensely valuable scholarly potential of post-publication comments on online materials (199-200). Since the stated mission of the Society is to discuss things, forums that promote discussion are to be sought--and so this blog will offer them.

*In the interest of full disclosure: I am a member of the organization. I also habitually write in it, so my comments will tend to follow MLA guidelines for citation and usage.

Works Cited
  • Fitzpatrick, Kathleen. "Peer Review, Judgment, and Reading." Profession (2011): 196-201. Print.
  • Rockwell, Geoffrey. "On the Evaluation of Digital Media as Scholarship." Profession (2011): 152-68. Print.
  • Schreibman, Susan, Laura Mandell, and Stephen Olsen. Introduction to Evaluating Digital Scholarship. Profession (2011): 123-35. Print.

No comments:

Post a Comment