Wednesday, January 02, 2013

Not really a year end review

In some of Charles Ritchie's published diaries, particularly the later ones when he holds ambassadorships in Europe and New York, there are stretches of days where the only entry is "Work."

That would make for pretty dull posts here (as would "not working," my situation since December 21), but I know what he means. It's why there is no review of the year in Canadian history or of the best books, or anything in that vein.

But I do want to note, at a time when several of the leading American history blogs have either folded or are looking a little tired, that it has been a good year for Canadian history blogs. Which is to say, there actually are some. It is particularly encouraging that a handful of academic Canadian historians have begun to blog.  Active History has gradually developed a crew of contributors who are often surprising and original. Active History is definitely the best group blog in Canadian history at the moment (and only partly for lack of competition).  Happily some of its contributors are launching their own blogs, some of which may yet flourish.

The Canadian Legal History blog should be invaluable to anyone working in that field -- good work, Mary Stokes.  Surely there ought to be a lot more of that kind of specialist blog -- don't you people ever talk to each other.

Andrew Smith's The Past Speaks has gone a bit Brit and business-history in the past year, but he's still worth watching.  And we've seen two giant steps in history blogging in 2012.

I suspect that Charlevoix, the recently-begun pseudonymous blog about the history of New France, may also be a group production, and it is kinda fun to speculate about just who they might all be. But so far Charlevoix is frequent, original, wide-ranging, and willing to take its subject both seriously and not seriously -- bravo.

A couple of times this year Everyday History and this blog have ended up "covering" more-or-less the same story or event -- which I think is a wonderful development, as it means this one is no longer the ONLY blog covering Canadian history in general. It used to be pretty safe to assume that if this blog was interested in something, no other blog in the world was.

Everyday History spawned in me the odd thought that I could now give up blogging without the whole field of Canhist blogging abruptly going dark. I hadn't even realized I was carrying that weight until I felt it lifting from me.

Not that I'm promising to retire this blog this year, but I do note that even the strongest blogs seem to have limited lives. Most of the blogs I was most interested in when I started this one have either ceased or have morphed beyond recognition. The ten-year blog seems to be an aberration, and this one is approaching that age. Happily the field seems to be starting to bloom.  But Christopher Dummitt, you are this blog's nominee for Canhist blogging's rookie of the year -- and a most-valuable player nominee at the same time.

(Mention of other Canhist blogs welcome.)

Update:  Despite what I said above about American histblogs, Tenured Radical has an interesting review of her "new media discoveries" for 2012.

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