Amateur Humanist

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Thank you for visiting.  It is presumptuous to think any one person might competently map the terrain of the humanistic traditions.  As you’ll see over time, postings here reflect the limits of my horizons (geographically, educationally, intellectually), and this is the sense in which I use the term amateur, for at any given time I’m likely discussing issues and literatures outside my expertise.  My topics will likely be dominated by my interests: communication, music, social theory, and I hope reflective of my wide-ranging curiosity.  They will also reflect my weaknesses:  my preference for works of nonfiction over fiction (about which I know very little), and my ignorance of the world’s languages and its poetry.  I’m more attuned to Atlanta than elsewhere because that is where I live and work.  My goal is to become gradually more knowledgeable and, over time, to rectify these considerable limitations.

I don’t presume to offer an up-to-the-minute account of the scholarship done in the humanities because I don’t encounter information (nor read) in chronological order, but tend to meander subject to subject as my interests are piqued.  And so posts may refer to older work that I’m only now encountering.  And I also do not presume that because blogs appear online that I will fully take up residence in virtual space – I will link when I can, but I also love other archives – libraries and museums and galleries and bookstores and universities – and am likely to continue my reliance on citation systems other than web addresses (such as Chicago-formatted footnotes).

My goal is to try, albeit idiosyncratically, to widen the audience for scholarship done within the humanities, a term I consider broadly to include work done by historians, philosophers, linguists, theologians, scholars of culture and literature, and within the domains of communication, the arts, law, and other humanistically-inflected professions.  Because of my own interests, I’m likely to drift into occasional commentary on the fine arts and classical music scene and, sometimes (gasp!) into topics engaged by social scientists.  The idea is to present the circulating ideas of humanistic controversies without (hopefully) oversimplifying, and in ways enabled online and not otherwise possible in print outlets, by book reviewing, or the practices of journalistic writing.

I am grateful that you have paid a visit here and look forward to learning from our interactions.

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