Dan's Metablog
Writing about blogging, identity, and narrative

First post   Saturday, October 22   4:57 PM

The Master of Arts Program in the Humanities here at UChicago requires me to write a master's thesis in order to get my diploma. It could be a creative thesis (and I'll admit that the prospect of writing a work of fiction was tempting) but it's my impression that most of us are writing academic papers on the subject of our choice.

Right now it looks like my research project is going to have something to do with blogging: the short description I sent in a few minutes after the deadline last Sunday was "blogging, narrative, and identity," but that's not written in stone.

I'll admit that I'm new to this field. Though I've been casually interested in blogging, especially its literary aspects/implications, for quite some time, I've never before engaged the subject academically. My undergraduate education was a mix of English lit survey courses (I was particularly interested in modernism) and fiction writing workships. I took a single theory course my senior year, a ten-week survey of influential twentieth century theorists, and only one of those theorists dealt with the Internet.

This page serves a number of purposes: It lets me segregate writing on a subject of little interest to most of my readers from the rest of my personal weblog, it allows me to organize my thoughts and sources, it (perhaps ill-advisedly) lets readers watch me compose my master's thesis, and (assuming anyone else is interested) it allows me to test my arguments and ideas on an audience.

Where am I starting? Right now I'm reading through Into the Blogosphere, a collection of scholarly articles on blogging. My friend Graham happens to have an article there. Other good sources online are Google Scholar and, oddly enough, del.icio.us, where a user named glueckauf has tagged sites about "blogresearch." It'll be a while before I sort through everything; I probably should have started with a narrower focus but I'm still trying to figure out the most interesting area of study here.

As far as meatspace goes, I'm also searching through my library catalog and the catalogs of nearby librarys with interlibrary loan, looking for books about weblogs, blogging, or blogs. Not much there so far. A lot of introductory stuff I don't really need; I've found about three interesting books.


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