Welcome, Thought & Action readers
The latest edition of Thought & Action, the scholarly journal of the National Education Association, includes an essay of mine on blogging, academics, and professional identity. An excerpt:
I started my blog AVERYFINELINE: Criticism and Commentary on Southern Gospel Music and Culture (www.averyfineline.com) in August 2004. If I confess that this was almost exactly the same time I started my dissertation fellowship, you would be entitled to question the soundness of my judgment, both as a blogger and a young academic. I would like to say that I started blogging about southern gospel music and culture as an enjoyable and intellectually stimulating diversion from the rigors of the dissertation. I would also like to say I started blogging to uncover the reasons why I have remained interested in, and engaged with, a form of music from a world and a way of life that, in most other respects, I left behind half a lifetime ago. These things have all turned out to be true, incidentally, but this has mostly been dumb luck.
As far as I can tell, the common denominator for this culturally and intellectually diverse group of readers is a fascination with my blog’s way of relating to, writing about, and trying to understand southern gospel music as something other than strictly the soundtrack for mainline fundamentalist theology. Attempting to calibrate one’s bloggerly voice to such a diverse audience is, I like to imagine, akin to the paradoxical experience at the heart of seventeenth- and eighteenth-century Puritan spiritual diaries. Copious journals about the perfidious souls of early America were made vastly more interesting for the impossibility of the authors’ knowing if they were hitting the mark set by an invisible audience. Fortunately, the eternal condition of my everlasting soul is not at stake (though some of my more orthodox blog readers would disagree). But the incommensurable backgrounds of my readers have thrown me back on my own instincts much of the time, forcing me to articulate to myself as I write for others why what I have to say about gospel music matters.
I hope to post a .pdf of the article soon, but in the meantime, please be kind to the newcomers.Email this Post