Monday, January 24, 2005

The Diary Form Echoes

"What do bloggers blog about, actually?" asks a colleague of mine at Emerging Communications. Since reading this entry the day before yesterday I have been asking myself the same question, over and over again.

Clearly blogging is publishing, self-publishing with many features in common with the fanzine and mail art cultures that seem to peak in the late 1980's and early 1990's when digital and production technologies were making rapid advances but just prior to the web going wide and public (similar to the situation with multi-track tape recording in the 1970's and 1980's which had such a massive effect on popular music culture). Clearly these media forms run parallel or perhaps parasitic to the more established forms of then contempory publishing.

As to the content of a blog entry I encountered something interesting yesterday in Sherry Simon's "Gender in Translation: Cultural Identity and the Politics of Transmission" (1996) when she discussed the keeping of diaries by translators and quoted Goddard (1995)who aligns it with the accounting or documentation of "the work in progress":

Keeping a diary becomes therefore a means of providing a record of the "interdiscoursive production of meaning." (Simon 1996:24)

In the context of Simon's text I noted that the diary form of writing returns echoes of meaning to the author. To quote Simon further could the blog be in fact a "privileged symbol of the self-conscious process of representation". In this context she was referring to the hologram as "an overlapping trope of intertextuality of the interaction of discourses" (Simon 1996:27), but it does fit well with a blog as well I believe.

I'm not sure if such a format; self published, self-reflexive, morphic, would suit the stationary by necessity field of academic publishing, although one never knows what the future will present and there are a number of high profile academic bloggers who have posted theses and papers to their blogs, but usually well after the disputation and paper's publication. To "focus on minor details or peripheral issues" is a vital part of the process of authoring a multidimensional and deeply immersive text such as a PhD thesis should be.

Sherry Simon will visit Umeå University, to deliver a seminar at the Department of Modern Languages (English) on the 1st March 2005. I would recommend it to anyone interested in translation studies (in the broadest sense), culture and identity studies.

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