Once again, The Chronicle Explores the Perils of Scholarly Blogging...

Brian Lamb, Abject Learning, Jul 25, 2006
Commentary by Stephen Downes

I have been reading Juan Cole for a long time and have referenced him a lot in one of my other blogs. And while I respect his scholarship I am not surprised that some people would consider his promotion controversial (I would not be one of them). Still, he has handled the matter (mostly recently covered in the Chronicle, though the story is several weeks old) with a lot of class.

He writes, "The question is whether Web-log commentary helps or damages an academic's career. It is a shameful question. Intellectuals should not be worrying about 'careers,' the tenured among us least of all... Being in the middle of all this, trying to help mutual understanding, is what I trained for. Should I have been silent, published only years later in stolid academic prose in journals locked up in a handful of research libraries? And this for the sake of a "career"? The role of the public intellectual is my career. And it is a hell of a career. I recommend it."

And lest there be any doubt, I endorse this attitude, and it expresses a value I am trying to live up to.
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