I have been looking forward to Vikki Bynum’s new study, The Long Shadow of the Civil War: Southern Dissent and Its Legacies, for quite some time. That anticipation has been fueled, in part, by her ever growing presence in the blogosphere at Renegade South, which is one of my favorite sites. It’s just the kind of site that I hoped would come out of a talk I gave last year at the annual meeting of the Society for Civil War Historians.
As I was perusing the acknowledgments section I was pleasantly surprised to find an entire paragraph devoted to some of her new friends in the Civil War blogosphere:
Besides introducing me to the thoughtful comments of folks who revere the craft of history, various internet blogsites have brought cyberspace debates about race, the Civil War, and the Myth of the Lost Cause right to my desktop. Wading into discussions on Frank Sweet and A.G. Powell’s “Study of Racialism” or Kevin M. Levin’s “Civil War Memory” is not for the faint of heart but always stimulating! My thanks to Robert Moore of “Cenantua” for inviting me to post on his special blogsite “Southern Unionist Chronicles.” Serious bloggers, I have learned, are among the hardest-working and most intellectually astute members of the history profession.
It’s nice to be singled out in an academic study written by a historian of Vikki’s caliber. More importantly, it’s a sign that blogging has a place in the profession and that it can help to advance serious study of the past and bring those debates to the attention of a wide audience. While more scholars are acknowledging the benefits of blogging and other forms of social media it has yet to be accepted as part of the academic mainstream. That will happen as more scholars openly acknowledge its role in their research and professional lives.