The trouble with footnotes

When I was in graduate school, I loved footnotes. Yes, I’m a big nerd. I loved reading author’s asides and contextualizations of their arguments. I also loved following the trail of their sources to new sources and new possibilities. I remember first reading bell hooks’ Feminist Theory: From Margin to Center and being disappointed (even as I loved her ideas and writing style and recognized the politics behind her decision) that she didn’t have footnotes. How could I see where her work comes from? What shapes her understanding of her claims? Now, having spent so much time blog writing, my love of footnotes has been replaced (has it? well, maybe not replaced but joined?) by an equal or greater love of links and parenthetical and italicized asides. (okay, maybe I have too much love for parenthetical asides. Ha!)

Do footnotes belong in blog writing? I’m in the process of posting parts of a “academicky” article on this blog and I keep asking myself this question. Nerd that I am, I feel compelled to do some research on the (I’m sure) numerous ways that others have weighed in on the point of footnotes (in all writings, offline and online). I think I’ll start with bell hooks and page 81 of Talking Back.

One thought on “The trouble with footnotes”

  1. Just found a few more sources to look into for thinking about the value/lack of value of footnotes:

    On the history and mechanics of footnotes online
    1. Forget footnotes. Hyeprlink instead
    2. Where have all the footnotes gone?
    3. Scholarship on the Web: Managing Footnoes
    These 3 sources were all found via Paula Petrik’s really awesome looking class on History & New Media. If this looks cool to you, also check out Petrik’s archive of classes, etc. Really glad to have found this great resource!

    On the politics of footnotes and the politics of citing sources
    4. Ten Crunk Commandments for Re-Invigorating Hip-hop Feminist Studies See especially #1 and #4
    5. bell hooks and the sustainability of style

    On Digital Scholarship
    6. Pixels and Print: Redefining Academic Publishing
    7. Academic Publishing in the Digital Age

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