At one point in time, I decided that this blog was going to morph into an academic, public blog that could be perused by colleagues (and – shudder – students) without giving my entire personal profile away.
Since then, every time the desire to blog seizes me, I have decisions to make. This topic is too emotional; that one is too “maternal” and “unprofessional.” This is too “personal” to be public.
My own research and writing focuses on the reality that is hybridity: how we are, e.g. Muslim and American and academic and religious and music-lovers and Pakistanis and pasta-lovers, all at the same time. To produce this performance for the public eye, however, I feel like I cast upon my own thoughts an Othering gaze, judging my own thoughts by masculinist criteria.
We immigrants learn to privatize our thoughts and feelings, responding to “how are you” with a jolly “Great!” soon after we cross the Atlantic. Especially in the public space of the virtual world, which has many crossover spaces occupied by colleagues, we cannot afford to perform “personal” lives – the messy lives involving parenting, marriage, family, finances, etc. unless they square with some academic “purpose” – cultural critique/ analysis or theory.
Still, in the dangerous world of blogging, there is much peace of mind involved in not blogging about sadness, frustration, untidiness, confrontations, and other markedly unprofessional things. You are rewarded with peace of mind by your closing down shop as a person. Unfortunately it closes down a community too – one that is a rewarding exercise for all participants. The community has to be a secret trusted one, because the public gaze cannot be trusted to be benign in intent at all times.