Points of departure.

This is by way of dipping a toe into the world of blogging. Light years behind the development curve, I realise, but recently three different factors have inspired me to start using a blog as an intellectual diary, a web-collecting ground and an opportunity for self-promotion.
First, I recently organised a colloquium at Queen Mary, University of London, on The Future of the First World War. Historians from a variety of backgrounds came together to discuss where the academic study and popular representation of the war would go over the run up to the 100th anniversaries – 2014-2018. It was a great day and incredibly stimulating, and the impact of the web was a significant topic of debate. But I was so caught up in running the day and presenting my own paper that I felt that I needed an opportunity to reflect on it at leisure. More than one of the participants suggested I blog the day.
Second, I’ve recently been spending a lot of time on two excellent academic blogs, both related to my field of study. Esther MacCallum-Stewart’s Break of Day in the Trenches site is a great examples of how to bring together the huge quantity of WWI material together for personal and academic benefit. Mark Grimsley’s Blog Them Out of the Stone Age blows me away with the complexity and variety of its thought. Mark is making remarkable efforts to move the topic on. In particular, Mark’s thread on why Custer would have been blogging if he were alive today has convinced me that this is the way forward.
Third, I’m increasingly using web-based learning with my students, and it seemed useful to have a site where I could create and test-drive some of the material I’d use on them.
With all that in mind I thought that I’d start at the easy end of the blog market and see what I came up with. The aim is to create somewhere to discuss ongoing projects and try out new ideas. Let’s see where that takes us. I’m very eager for any suggestions about how to improve the site and my work.


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