Thursday, April 29, 2004

A Shift in Focus (In Other Words a Hiatus, Of Sorts)

Now that I've handed out my last final, and seeing that all I've managed to do lately is play catch-up, I may as well make official what I've been contemplating for the last few weeks. For a variety of personal and professional reasons, I'm going to be significantly scaling back my blogging--or more accurately, my blog-reading and blog-responding--for the next couple of months, perhaps for the whole summer. Of course, it's not like I'm a truly productive blogger (I'm pretty much confined to the Flappy Bird level of the blogospheric ecosystem), but I always have spent a good chunk of my time reading and contributing to and commenting on other blogs, here and elsewhere. That's going to change, at least for the time being. I have a few projects that having been laying around for months (even years), and if I don't finish or make good progress towards finishing them this summer, I might as well give up on them. Furthermore, I think my writing, both professional and personal, has been affected, and not necessarily in a good way, by my engagement with the blogosphere; I wonder if I'm losing my sense of how to carefully listen to, think through, and respond to a narrow and specific argument or idea, in favor of speaking rapidly and broadly. That's not an indictment of this form of discourse by any means. But I think I need a break from it, nonetheless.

I'll still post material here (perhaps around once a week or so) for the next couple of months, but whatever I put up will be reviews of books I'm reading, drafts of or notes on the book I'm writing, and other sundry research-related junk. (In other words, look for a lot of political theory stuff on nationality, community, identity, not to mention my guy Johann Gottfried Herder.) Occasionally my attention will probably wander and I may put up an essay that branches off into other areas I'm interested in (the EU, East Asia, Islam, religion, education, family, whatever), but I'm going to try my best to avoid topicality, since that will just drag me back to my favorite blogs all over again. I'm determined to keep to this schedule at least through July, when I'll be teaching a summer course here at ASU; maybe I'll keep it up longer. We'll see. (I'll probably continue to blog at Times and Seasons, though probably no more frequently than I will here.)

I figure there's probably 50-75 people who really do check my blog out regularly, as opposed to just happening to stop by; to those folks, my deepest thanks, and I hope you'll find some interest in what I put up, and what my summer work produces. In the meantime, since I just mentioned "my favorite blogs" above, I thought I may as well list them here, so anyone who doesn't already read them can know what I'm giving up. While I'm gone, read: Paul Cella, Kevin Drum, Amitai Etzioni, Noah Millman, Timothy Burke, Hugo Schwyzer, Laura at Apt. 11D, the whole gang at Crooked Timber, almost everyone at The Volokh Conspiracy, the same for Innocents Abroad, everyone at the beautifully redesigned A Fistful of Euros, Daniel Drezner, Nathan Newman, Matthew Yglesias, and of course, Andrew Sullivan. (I know, I know: you feel like you don't need to read him anymore either, and yet, you still do. Me too.)

Have a good summer, everyone.