A Brief Aside: My Tumblr Fandom

After I dropped all my social media one of the things I missed was my Instagram page. It was filled with images of art and photography. One of the internet pacifications I still enjoy is scrolling through long lists of images. So, I dialled up my moribund Tumblr account and filled it with lots of cartoons, cartoonists, art and artists, photographers and photographic images. So many pretty pictures!

I eventually expanded a little into SFF fandom. I’ve always been intrigued by fandom but never really been very good at it (which probably deserves a longer post to unpack). Over the months I noticed lots and lots of references to a wide variety of fandoms. Where’s MY fandom I cried, I whined, I pouted. Everybody else gets to have a fandom. Why can’t I be a fan, I lamented.

But last night I realized I DO have a fandom. I’m a fan of scholarship. My whole adult life I’ve loved to read scholarship.

FLASHBACK: My friend JT told me once that (unbeknownst to me) I influenced his decision to go to grad school. I was just some yahoo working in a sandwich shop but I was telling him about the Foucault book I was reading (this was back in the early 1990s). He thought (he later told me) huh, perhaps academia isn’t completely isolated from the rest of the world. Perhaps I can be an academic and still reach a popular audience. /FLASHBACK

So, if you visit the blog page you’ll now see a Tumblr feed for my Tumblr blog (a blog of scholarly fandom!). Or, you can find the page here – https://www.tumblr.com/patadave or https://patadave.tumblr.com/. (or, if you’re into RSS – https://patadave.tumblr.com/rss).

I expect it to mostly be cool articles I find as I skim through Google Scholar (my preferred way to kill time on the internet).

One of the things that appealed to me about studying history, and later librarianship, is that both lend themselves to being a generalist. You can study the history of anything, and librarians try to organize the knowledge of everything. I’m very much a person of broad interests, not deep.

At Tumblr I describe my fandom this way –

My Tumblr Fandom

I think I finally figured out my Tumblr fandom! I really love scholars and scholarship and spend a lot of time browsing Google Scholar. I especially love historians of all stripes and critical theorists. Also some superstars like Rachel Armstrong, Rosi Braidotti, and Tim Ingold. I’m not a scholar but read a lot of scholarship. So, when I find some scholarship that catches my eye I’ll post it here. I’ll try to tilt toward open source but I’m sure some restricted access works will make their way into the mix.


I’ll let Tim Ingold conclude for me.

“Personally, I don’t much like the notion of interdisciplinarity. It tends to reproduce the colonial idea of the discipline as a bounded terrain of knowledge with an exclusive claim to represent a particular segment of the world. In just the same way, the international order reproduces the idea of the sovereignty of the nation state over its territory. As the world is carved up geopolitically between nations, so it is divided intellectually between disciplines. Dealing with other disciplines calls then for treaty negotiations, as in interdisciplinary conferences. But real disciplines are not like that. They are more like conversations. Each conversation is composed of multiple lines which, while converging in some regards, diverge in others. In practice these bundles of lines have no boundaries, nor do they lay claim to territories. Each line is rather looking for a way through. There is nothing to stop anyone from departing from one conversation in order to join another. One has to cross no boundaries in order to do so.

“So we don’t really need interdisciplinarity. That only creates boundaries where none were there before. What we need is accessibility, responsible scholarship, and conversation.”

Here’s to accessibility, responsible scholarship, and conversation!

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