On Twitter there’s a hashtag for recognizing scholars of all sorts. #ScholarSunday was initiated by Dr Raul Pacheco-Vega who in addition to his academic work in environmental politics very generously shares his methods for research, note-taking, annotation, work flow organization on a near daily basis. Surprising but true, my name has appeared on a number of occasions along with this hashtag and it has always felt like a very special shout-out because I have trouble seeing myself as a scholar sometimes.
One of the reasons I enjoy Twitter so much is that it has allowed me to locate and hang out with people I would otherwise never have found. Several colleagues in higher education have become good friends and we learn a great deal from each other. This morning while I was sorting out ideas to describe my own writing ambitions, I came up with the term “casual scholarship”. Casual because when I deign to write about ed tech or surveillance capitalism or any other topic that is of interest but not in my academic wheelhouse, I approach the topic like the guest that I am. I pop in, take a look around, engage the experts in a bit of conversation, then share what I learned. Here’s an example of that kind of writing.
Perhaps I am a “casual scholar”. When I choose to write something that explores a tentative understanding, I borrow from better, more experienced thinkers. Most of my writing that could be called “scholarly” demonstrates this pattern.
Anyway, I decided to play with the term and tweeted this:
Casual scholar. Come as you are scholarship. Bring your own baggage scholarship. Make myself at home scholar. Potluck scholarship. Block party scholar.
Because really I want scholarship to be a more welcoming proposition than it is to many. I want scholarship to wear jeans and a t-shirt and flip-flops. I want scholarship to be more invitational, less aloof; more generous and less stingy. Scholarship should also be a choice like going to a party, or joining a potluck. Bring your best thing and let’s share. Today seems like a good day to circulate this sentiment and give a new dimension to #ScholarSunday.