Of the blogs I followed this semester, Working Class Perspectives, Radical History Network, A Manly Pasttime, Sport in American History, Programming Historian, and Digital Humanities Now, two proved to be useful for me in the long run: Working Class Perspectives and Sport in American History.
Working Class Perspectives, run by the Working Class Studies Association, combines news, analysis, and support of working class academics. It analyses modern day identities of class using intersectionality theory. An example is analysis of hit netflix show Orange Is The New Black, where conflicts between the characters in prison is analyzed using multiple identity. Another article looked at suicide rates amongst rural working class whites in the US. Finally, another sought out a class analysis of Russell Brand’s celebrity activism and it’s usefulness and limitations. Still others looked at labor history and working class history. It was refreshing to see a current day usage of class within the context of intersectionality, in that Working Class Perspectives does not ignore gender, race, sexuality, etc, but instead just emphasizes class in its analysis, going beyond classical marxism but not losing itself in postmodernism’s de-emphasis of economic cultures.
Sport in American History is a combination of articles, book reviews, movie reviews, and commentary on critical studies of sports. Despite the name, it is not entirely American, as it occassionally looks at sports outside the US, such as an analysis of Cricket’s peculiar role as the only international sport where athletes flock to a poor nation instead of rich nations, in the case of Indian cricket. I run a weekly roundup of articles on social/cultural/political aspects of baseball, and following this blog has proved to be valuable in adding a source where I could find these articles quickly and easily. The book reviews also proved to be useful in keeping up with the literature surrounding issues in sport, such as gender, race, class, labor power, media, social change, fan subcultures, etc.
The other blogs I followed varied in usefulness. A Manly Pasttime, which explores 19th century baseball and the development of the early game, does not post nearly enough, though the research is pretty good and original when the blog owner does, although he posts about his own vintage baseball team a bit much. Radical History Network, based in London UK, seemed to be pretty specific to London and therefore wasn’t all that particularly helpful. Unfortuantely, Programming Historian and Digital Humanities Now mostly post about topics I am not interested in, so perhaps I should have followed different blogs. I did like the mapping of the 2nd KKK from 1910-1940s.
What helped, more than the RSS feed button, was blog’s ability to post on facebook, sadly, as I could than get notifications when blogs posted in my facebook feed. This, perhaps, says more about my own online consumption than RSS feeds, but it was easy for me to forget to look at the RSS feeds, while putting blogs as facebook pages enabled me to be notified about new posts mixed in with my regular facebook notifications, much as email.