My final paper is the creation of a blog, so to answer the second part of Leslie’s email I have just paste what I wrote about why I chose a blog:
Blogging is one of the most democratic forms of media and I chose it because I think it is a great way for the historian to reach a wider audience. The History Blogging project, run out of the UK, talks about this on its website. While there are concerns about using blogs for active research, ie someone publishing your work before you after taking it from your blog, I think for those of us who do public history blogging is a great medium. To me, traditional history (no matter how much I love it) has always been a bit stand-offish. It doesn’t really need to interact with others. Public history is opposite. It not only needs interaction, it fails without it. But how to get others involved? History that can be done dynamically, whether on a blog or on television, can draw the audience in and by telling a good story, can get them interested in history.
Now, as the video points out, this in no way takes care of all history. We can’t be academic squirrels- “oh, look at the shiny new technology!” We have to still do solid reseach. But these new technologies are a new platform. They don’t just change the way we do history, they change history. I see them as a way for even more people to get interested in the topics that historians already love.
Blogging also has other benefits. The first is that I can update the blog regularly, in contrast to a paper of book which would have to be reprinted. Additionally, I can choose a variety of different women to profile and do not have to maintain a theme, such as “pioneer women.” So far, I have chosen women solely based on the criteria of my own personal interest in their story. The blog also allows me to have a closer interaction with my audience. Unlike a history book or journal, readers can comment directly on the blog posts and a dialogue can be created between the author and the reader. It makes history more participatory and I think that make history more interesting. In addition to the blog entries profiling different historical women, I am also planning doing another feature on women making history in Idaho. Due to the more fluid nature of a blog over a book, I can write about women who are currently working in addition to women from Idaho’s past.
One of the most difficult parts of making the blog has been finding resources on women in Idaho history. I have spent hours looking for texts on the subject, for journal articles, and websites. What I have found has been compiled into a short list of resources on the blog for anyone who wants to explore the topic further. It is frustrating because of the inherent catch-22 in the problem. I want to write more about women in Idaho history than has been previously written, yet there is not enough written history that I can use to direct my research. I need more history to write more history.
I plan on continuing this blog after our class is over. I have enjoyed having the ability to share my work with a wider audience than my professors and my peers. My hope is to one day use my research to write a more definitive and well-rounded book on women in Idaho History. I would encourage other history students to use blogs to discuss their research. While I would not publicize research they plan on publishing in its entirety, I have found it a fun way to make history more public.