About My Blog

eddie_carson (41K) Last summer while attending a history conference, a professor of history from a very elite New England private school joined a group of us in a conference lounge for beverages and small talk. He started telling us about the wonderfully rich intellectual community he teaches in. Many of his students are pretty elite 11th and 12th graders who traveled from various parts of the country to attend the school. He mentioned that he kept a blog to write about academic life, political issues and ideas, as well as topics that would challenge his learning community. After hearing him articulate his message, I then asked if his blog created any problems? His response was no. According to him, the joy of teaching in a diverse intellectual community is that it allows us (faculty members and students) to use our vast knowledge and expertise to challenge the thinking of our community.

Because I was so moved by our discussion, I decided to create my own blog. Being the idealist that I am, I wanted to create a blog that addressed intellectual as well as social questions; I wanted to write about politics as well as my research and teaching interest. When I started this “blog” thing, my goal was to model the intellectual life of a teacher to students, friends, colleagues, and visitors. When I started this blog, I wanted to attract readers who would contribute their thoughts and ideas to any particular discussion. It has been a year since I first started blogging, and six months since I switched from blogspot to wordpress. I am excited about the number of people who take the time to read my thoughts and ideas. I am amazed at the volume of people who enjoy reading my blog, sharing a comment, or sending an e-mail with their opinions.

There are challenges that come with posting your thoughts and ideas on the Internet. Regardless of my best intention to use this blog as a medium for building a learning community, there are those who do not like views outside of their own. My goal is not to offend nor anger readers. The Bible is clear on how we should treat our brothers and sisters.

Blogging is not like keeping a private journal. Unlike journals, blogs should promote a conversation; blogs are not designed to be private. I have done a pretty good job avoiding controversial topics that offend people; however, there are those who define a learning community in a much different way than I. What I see as insightful and deserving of discourse, others might see as controversial and not deserving of attention. Claire Potter, professor of history and American Studies at Wesleyan University recently wrote about the pros and cons of anonymous blogs on her blog. I have been reading her Tenured-Radical blog for a few weeks. She is pretty open and frank about her thoughts while challenging my thinking too. I even got to work with one of her Wesleyan colleagues in Colorado. Check out TR’s blog piece on this issue.


14 thoughts on “About My Blog

  1. Reading your blog is like picking up the morning paper. It is a habit. I am confused, what is controversial here? Maybe it is your dislike for Bush. That mean you are with 90% of the rational country. You do teach in a Christian school. Do they tell you what to say there? I have heard that about alot of those types of schools?

  2. Thanks Jen!! A lot of religious schools are weak when it comes to academics. Many start for the wrong reason. Some tend to hire only teachers of their sect, for example: some Baptist schools only hire teachers of that sect. Those schools tend to be weaker. It is harder for them to conduct national searches in hiring because they have to hire from a limited pool. Many have very small endowments and conduct their classes in the basement of a church. And yes, many are not interested in challenging their students to be intellectual and/or diverse thinkers.

    My school (Houston Christian) is very different from many small time Christian schools. We do not hire instructors from “one” type of church. We have top notch facilities and teachers who are leaders in their area (they got me). I met our head of school at a conference in New York.

  3. i just try to keep tabs on your liberal dribble so when we come visit with the kids i know what to protect them against. 🙂 Hope to come see you soon now that we’re near Austin.

    Seriously, i do enjoy reading your views. When ever i try to listen to liberal radio or TV i get too mad at the commentators. But i know you so it’s harder to get mad because you’re such a lovable guy.

  4. You do have fans Carson. I have noticed that your blog has become a bit more conservative. You have gone a while without screaming at Bush.

  5. I think it’s pretty amazing that people would let their small children loose around Carson, personally. I mean, high school students are old enough to protect themselves from his insanity, but children aren’t there yet.

  6. What I like is that I did not know you before you started this, and just last week we had a 20 minute phone conversation about matters of common interest. I think that’s cool. Learning aside, it just helps to form community. The learning that happens is gravy.

  7. Dutro, it is great that we have gone from exchanging comments on a blog to having phone conversations about important matters. Speaking of, I will fire you an e-mail about us visiting in Searcy next week. I was talking about you on my flight out of Denver Tuesday. The Garners (Pat) and his wife were right beside me on the flight. He read while we talked the entire flight.

    Kristi – do not let Matt Lee fool you; he is my brother-in-law. You know what, he is right, there is a reason why I do not have children. The students I teach just laugh at me. They love my class and our meetings, but they think I am really a conservative playing liberal.

  8. Oh Carson, you are still so very young. When you are no longer a work-a-holic, you will like little children more. Your blog is great! I am motivated to do more as an educator. You travel to Europe and across the country to work and be a better tecaher, that is great. As for those who disagree with you, it can’t be a big deal. After all, you are the mighty “Carson.”

  9. Teacherwoman, I wish that people wouldn’t say things like that. I keep getting told that I will someday grow up and be a Conservative, that someday I will grow up and want herds of children and to be a stay at home mom, and I don’t want to be rude or throw your life experience in your face, but my 57 year old father has yet to grow up and be a Conservative and my mom never wanted to quit her job and have herds of children and stay home with them. You can’t know what he wants simply because you are older than him just as the people in my Sunday School class can’t know how my politics will change simply because they are older than me. You’re a educator, I presume, you should know these things.

  10. I am the biggest liberal around, and I am in my late 40s, so there is no truth to age and conservatism. I was really trying to give Carson a good jab in the face.

  11. Unless I make a bunch of $$$$$$$$$$$$, I do not see myself as an economic conservative. And then, the chances are slim. I do not know why I had a different picture of your father Kristi.

  12. I know what you are saying. I am amazed at the limited knowledge of people who really do think they know a lot. I too read Tenured Rad’s blog and have seen professors at religius colleges go underground to write and express views that many would see as being okay, but at religious schools that feed off of conformity, intellectualism is a threat. They will post in their books to high school students that they have expert faculty members that challenge students to be independent thinkers, but they really is not the case. How do I know? I teach at such a college. Even when I earn tenure, I am not protected from such expressions. It really is not tenure. We let the board and administration believe that we are a real college.

  13. Hello, Carson. I think that as much as your intellectual ability and scholarship are strengths what stands out for me is your generosity. It’s interesting that one of your readers refers to you as having gotten more “conservative” when perhaps you’ve only gotten more civil in your internet writings. It’s so hard to edit yourself when you have instant access to publishing!

    Gutenberg would have never chosen the Bible as a subject for printing if he’d only had to invest this little an amount of time into his work.

    I like the fact that you don’t think you’re throwing your words into the hole of the temporary and the transitory. I hope I can maintain a similar standard.

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