Friday, December 23, 2005

The Next Whisky Bar

Today the wife and I are trekking down to the in-laws for a holiday visit. I'll have to make some food before leaving, including my roaster butternut squash soup, so I won't have much time to blog.

Jonathan Dresner has stepped down from active involvement in Cliopatria. I wish him luck. He has been, after Ralph, the glue of the organization. It's interesting that he feels he needs to free up time to develop Asian history blogging:
I want to experiment with class blogs. I want to make the Frog blogs one of the landmark sites in Asian historical scholarship and pedagogy, and the Asian History Carnival an engine of a growing on-line community of interest. I want Asian history topics to find their way into the History Carnival and Carnivalesque and even the Teaching Carnival regularly, and that requires that the Asian historical blogging community grow and make stronger connections internally and externally.
Will it be a trend for academic bloggers to concentrate more in their fields? The three Frog in a Well blogs (Japan, China, and Korea) are remarkable group endeavors that delve deeply into their subject matter. Adding on bloggers over the past year and starting new blogs for each country (where's Frog in a Well-Mongolia?) Dresner has created a strong academic community with an identifiable on-line presence. (Konrad Lawson's contributions are particularly good.) I wonder whether Europeanists should group themselves in a similar manner.

[ETA] If you are looking for some new blog to read today, check out Inside Iran, written by an American student in Tehran.


At 11:35 AM, Blogger J. Otto Pohl said...

Well it might make sense if there was a clear border between Asia and Europe. Which side of the line do Russia, Kazakhstan and Turkey go on? I generally classify myself as an Orientalist which is a much broader term than Asianist.

At 3:42 PM, Blogger Jonathan Dresner said...

I think that academic bloggers will probably be more specialized as the field matures, yes. There's a place for a wide-open venue like Cliopatria, but we need specialist venues as well. I'd love to see Frog in a Well become a model for regional specialists, and I'd love to see it become part of a community of regional history blog projects.

For the record, Konrad's actually the founder and main driving force behind the project: I'm just the loudmouth spokesman/senior statesman...

At 10:36 PM, Blogger Nathanael said...

I admit that there is something satisfying in having a group blog for each nation/region. You (and Konrad) have done a great job assembling scholars who are willing to regard blogs as a serious academic forum. Looking at the field of people who do continental Europe, I can only think of a handful of people who have experimented with blogging, most of whom are rather young. Perhaps I should poke around more--look for profs who have tried innovative things with the internet as an educational tool, who might be open to experimentation.

Russia, like Turkey, is everywhere and nowhere. "Orientalist" is an interesting designation, but I see Russian/Soviet Central Asia as something closer to doing British India. Although contiguous with Mother Russia, don't places like Kazakhstan also resemble colonies?

At 5:42 AM, Blogger J. Otto Pohl said...

Well Soviet ideology explicitely rejected the "colonial model." Terry Martin I think describes what they replaced it with best as an "affirmative action empire." But, the issue of Soviet colonialism is I think separate from where is the border between Asia and Europe. After all a very good case could be made that the Soviets colonized Estonia and Latvia. Two countries that are most definitely European.

Kazakhstan straddles the line between Europe and Asia probably more so than even Russia or Turkey. Kazakhstan's northern border with Russia is completely arbitrary. There are no geographic barriers. The population of Kazakhstan was about half European and half Asian for much of recent history. The Kazakhs themselves also became "Europeanized" or more acurately "Russianized" to a much greater extent than the people of Central Asia proper. The designation of "Euarsian" applies to Kazakhstan more so than any other country.

At 11:19 AM, Blogger Nathanael said...

Come on, have a little fun. My Rhinelanders think Asia begins at the Oder ;).


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