Thursday, January 01, 2004


My political science journals have arrived. I usually do a quick skim and rip out relevant articles which are quickly filed and often unread. Mostly it's all too dull for words. Nighttime reading for the sleepless. However, the new journal, Perspectives on Politics, isn't too bad. I even enjoyed an article by two of my old professors from the University of Chicago, Lloyd and Susanne Rudolph. (no free links, sorry)

The Rudolphs write about their obsession with the diaries of Amar Singh, a subject in British Raj in India. 800 pages of insight into the minutiae of life in India at that time.

He wrote in his diary secretly, in private space, but much of what he wrote addressed public questions. He wrote about living as a colonial subject of the British Raj in India. He wrote about living as a colonial subject of the British Raj in India. He wrote about experiencing political domination and racial inferiority. He wrote about being a young man restrained by expectations of deference and obedience to one's elders. He wrote about the suffering and oppression his wife and mother endured under his grandfather's patriarchal rule of the 100-person Kanota household.

They believe that such diaries are useful first hand accounts and that this subjective information should be studied by political scientists. Diaries can provide insight into the oppressed, culture, identy formation, the politics of recognition. Political scientists can learn much from anthropologists about how to use such first hand information.

Bloggers come in different packages. There are the political commentators, the speedy news linkers, the specialists, and the diarists. While all are good and important, I think the skillful diarists will stand the test of time. Who reads the archives of Instapundit? It's all yesterday's scrawl. Though I don't always agree a hundred percent with his politics, I read Lileks who writes of life with the family in Minnesota. Anthropologists, and maybe even political scientists, will read about his trips to buy paper towels at Target to get a better understanding of 21st century life in the heartland. Today's blog is tomorrow's dissertation.

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