About This Course


Nate Silver, a statistics geek, turned blogging into a media career as a political forecaster.

“Web logs”, although they were possible in the 1990s, became a popular phenomenon in the 21st century. Anticipating the phenomenon of social media, they were initially personal, reflecting a long tradition of English-language “confessional” literature. Today, blogs serve every conceivable function, from providing a flexible space for serious news, political writing, art and scholarship to keeping military families in touch during a deployment, giving advice, serving as easy-to-build web pages and platforms fore creative projects, or selling goods and services.

This course is taught in three five week sessions, each of which is worth one credit and which take students to the next level of sophistication. You may sign up for any or all of them, depending on where you want and need to begin. Blogging I will cover the basic tools, technology and principles of blogging; Blogging II helps you think about what kind of community you want to be part of as a blogger, and how to cultivate the readers you want; and Blogging III (which begins in January 2015) addresses critical approaches to the blogosphere as a realm for cultural production with its own rules, language, social dynamics and political economy.

Our class has also been invited to contribute to This Week in Incarceration — Past and Present, a blog on the website of the Global Dialogues project at the Humanities Action Lab. In addition to working on our own blogs, weekly assignments will be eligible for publication on this site, potentially driving traffic to your own sites. Students who do not wish to be responsible for their own blog may collaborate in building and maintaining a group blog on incarceration that will provide regular posts for This Week in Incarceration.

Screen Shot 2014-04-01 at 4.18.02 PMYour Teacher and Blogger in Chief. Professor of History Claire Potter has been working full time at The New School for Public Engagement since 2011. She began her widely-read blog, Tenured Radical, in 2007. In 2011, it was picked up by The Chronicle of Higher Education, the premier publication for higher education professionals. Since she became involved in writing online, she has moved into the larger world of digital publication and digital humanities. She is currently serving on an American Historical Association ad hoc committee that will suggest guidelines for evaluating digital scholarship in academic promotion and tenure; and she is writing a collection of essays on academia in the digital age, Digital U: Why Crowdsourcing, Social Media, Word Press and Google Hangouts Could Save the Historical Profession.

Students also may wish to sign up for NHUM2001, Introduction to Digital Humanities (Fall 2014).