I’ve just posted the following response to Stanley Fish’s comments about my book; they should be up once they’re moderated through. In the interim, and for the sake of keeping this comment visible long after it’s drowned in a sea of commenter crankiness, here’s what I said:
This is a fascinating discussion of the shifts taking place in scholarly communication today; thanks to Prof. Fish for his exploration of new digital modes of scholarship. I’m honored that he’s engaged with my book so avidly and want to add a few brief thoughts to this conversation.
First, as several have noted, the project went through an open peer review process, and remains available online. The print version serves a key role, however, as a form of reverse compatibility with those in the academy who have not yet made the transition to networked reading.
But I want to note that I don’t entirely believe that “long-form scholarship… needs the interdependent notions of author, text, and originality.” Rather, I believe that scholarship circulates through a particular interpretive community, a concept I draw from Prof. Fish’s important intervention into assumptions about the fixed nature of texts and meanings. To this point, that interpretive community has relied on notions like originality to give meaning to its communications. I do not argue that these things are going away in the digital age, only that they are changing, as the interpretive community of scholars changes.
There is much resistance to such change from those in established interpretive communities. But changes are underway, and it is crucial for all scholars today — not just those working in new forms, but also those hiring and promoting them — to understand how new forms create new kinds of engagement.
It’s 4.25 am in Seattle, and I’m about to head to the airport, on my way home from MLA 2012. It was an amazing convention — I’ve rarely felt more energized about the opportunities ahead for the field, not to mention the amazing people working in it. I’m really thrilled to get to be a part of it all.
I’m planning to post the two formal talks I gave at the convention here in the next couple of days. I’ll look forward to keeping some of the conversations that began over the last few days alive in the coming weeks.
We began 2012 yesterday in keeping with tradition, by doing a lot of lying around and recovering. We’d had a late night, which was made doubly late by my downstairs neighbor’s rockin’ party, which rocked on until 3.30 am. So there were naps and movies, and that was more or less the sum of the day.
Today, however, we’re back at it: the agenda includes both attempting to get my final presentation for #mla12 into reasonable enough shape (where “reasonable enough” equals being able to refrain from embarrassing myself in the event I don’t get any more time to work on it) and getting myself more or less packed and ready to fly out on Monday.
Here’s hoping that these two days bode well for the year to come: rest, relaxation; productivity, focus.
And just to round out what has been a completely insane week, an article reviewing Planned Obsolescence, including an interview with me, is up this morning at Inside Higher Ed. Thanks to Steve Kolowich for a fun dialogue!
(Now back to the enormous pile of work I need to get done. Which is one certain way of making sure that this flurry of attention doesn’t go to my head.)
I’ve got a new column up at the Chronicle this morning. This one’s been in the works for a bit, and I’m really happy to have it out in circulation, and to see it getting some attention both from the DH crowd and from other scholars as well.
The discussion on Twitter has been great so far, but I’d love to have your feedback on the Chronicle site as well.
I’ve spent the last two days in a meeting of the MLA Program Committee, thinking about, among other issues, the future shape of the convention — the new kinds of sessions we want to encourage; the new kinds of issues we want to take on. We’ve got some exciting plans in formation, but I’m curious about your convention experiences: what are the best sessions you’ve attended that didn’t use the standard paper-reading format?
I started rewatching Sports Night on Netflix this week, and am finding myself amazed, first, at how well the show has held up, not to mention how well Josh Charles and Peter Krause have held up thirteen years later.
But beyond that, and far more importantly: I’m amazed that I’d managed to completely forget the absolutely horrid laugh track.
Pretty funny to watch an underappreciated show about an underappreciated show being made for a tone-deaf network that aired on a tone-deaf network.
Two things I’m noticing about my lovely new MacBook Air (which replaced my 3.5 year old first-generation Air):
1. It’s fast. Especially over wireless. Way way faster than my early-2009 iMac. I’m not sure why that surprises me, but it really does.
2. The power key is way too close to the delete key. Just saying.
I’m headed to Ithaka Sustainable Scholarship 2011 today and tomorrow. I’m taking advantage of the slightly delayed start by actually sitting in the Starbucks where I buy my morning coffee, instead of taking it and running.
Let me tell you, this place is very different at 9.15am than it is at 7.15am…