"Blogging Prof Fails to Heed His Own Advice":
The New York Sun has an interesting piece today about Daniel Drezner's tenure denial, as well as the broader question of blogging and the academy. Hat tip: Howard.
M (mail):
I feel bad for Drezner, as I would for anyone who seems, on the surface at least and to an outsider to his field, to have done all he possibly could to deserve tenure. But, it seems pretty speculative to assume his blog had anything to do with it. We just don't know. Often people who have great looking resumes get poison letters from reviewers. And, of course, tenure in top universities, at least in fields other than law, is very, very hard to get. The philosophy dept. at Penn, for example (which is not a top-10 dept. by anyone's standards) hasn't tenured anyone in well more than 10 years. Harvard's philosophy dept. went something like 25 years between giving tenure to applicants. So, while we might all wonder what effect Drezner's blog had, we don't know, and since not getting tenure is at least as likely as getting it in top places like Chicago (and since some bloggers have received tenure- Brian Weatherson, for example) I think it's perhaps best not to speculate too much when we have very little evidence.
10.11.2005 9:46am
Bob Rogers (mail):
Drezner's case is interesting since his blog was closely related to his research but went beyond his narrow field of specialty. I would assume his blog activities would get the same type of scrutiny as other public intellectual activities such as television appearances, popular magazine articles, etc. Academic institutions seem to like having Professors who make appearances on television news programs, but I wonder if it doesn't work against an Assistant Professor (especially at a top ranked place). Of course, blogs, being new, would get more negative reactions than TV appearances. I would hope that would change soon. Drezner's blog had more content than any talking head had time to communicate on TV.
10.11.2005 10:36am
Cold Warrior:
I fear everyone is missing the real story (and the real shame of it).

Was Drezner penalized for being to "out front" on nearly every issue of importance today, as expressed on his blog? Maybe, but maybe not.

But were Drezner's contributions to his discipline and to public discourse as a blogger recognized and rewarded? Obviously not.

And that's the true shame of it all.

Actions like these will only discourage young academics from taking part in real-world debates, and to retreat (again) into cloistered world of academia.

And that is a bad thing.
10.11.2005 10:50am
james (mail):

Dali Yang, dismissed the notion that his department considered Mr. Drezner's blog in making its decision. "I can assure you it's not specifically about the blog," he said.

The usage of 'not specifically' suggests the blog was a factor.
10.11.2005 11:43am
Triet (www):
In addition to Drezner's situation, I think this article warrants consideration of a blog's broader ramifications. I personally want to be very open on my blog, which often deals with political-social events of Vietnam and Vietnamese-Americans, but cannot. I have extended family still living over there. The international blogosphere deals with this every day. Do we write our true feelings--that may criticize Iran, Saudi Arabia, Vietnam, China, etc--or do we neuter our thoughts to protect extended family and friends still living under those regimes? Blogging by definition almost screams no censorship, yet our personal relationships censor us anyway.
10.11.2005 11:58am
PG (mail) (www):
Do we write our true feelings--that may criticize Iran, Saudi Arabia, Vietnam, China, etc--or do we neuter our thoughts to protect extended family and friends still living under those regimes? Blogging by definition almost screams no censorship, yet our personal relationships censor us anyway.

There's also the option of writing anonymously to reduce the likelihood that personal relationships will require self-censorship. And blogging does not at all "scream no censorship"; people who write under their real names generally feel obliged not to write about their workplaces, about their most intimate relations, etc. Anonymous bloggers quite frequently seem to be much freer to discuss their family troubles or workplace gripes, whereas those whose blogs would be easily identified with them must be more discreet. Drezner put his name on his blog; other bloggers in academe, such as Bitch Ph.D., do not.
10.11.2005 12:53pm
anonymousposter (mail):
Hmmm. Actually, to me it suggests that something that the blog exemplifies was a factor... there's a distinction...

James wrote:
The usage of 'not specifically' suggests the blog was a factor.
10.11.2005 1:08pm
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