Home » Cross-regional and Blogosphere, CyberChaikhana

Chapter Ideas: Problems and Possibilities

Written by on Saturday, 16 February 2008
Cross-regional and Blogosphere, CyberChaikhana

Let’s get right to the heart of the matter: chapters. As I said before, CyberChaikhana will highlight the 50-60 best posts from our extended network of bloggers, in 8-10 themed chapters. Ben and I have some ideas as to themes and topics we could cover. For example: “Minorities,” “Visions for the Future,” “Reflections of the Past,” and “Women’s Issues in Central Asia.” However, what we really want to hear from you are your ideas on this subject.

But before I open up the forum, we all need to keep in mind certain considerations:

(A) If we calculate that the average weblog post averages 200-600 words in length (from half a page to two full pages), and that within a single post sometimes multiple themes and topics can be touched upon, then we have an interesting dual challenge: we are confronted with a huge variety of potential areas of focus on the one hand, and a very limited space in which to cover our chosen areas of focus on the other. This means every inch of ink needs to pack a punch. There cannot be any wasted space; otherwise we will create a 1000-page monster.

(B) This raises the subject of the book’s purpose. Of course, it is to demonstrate to both English-reading and Russian-reading audiences the vitality and potential of Central Asian societies and weblogging-based Internet journalism. However, this raises new questions: will English-reading (Western) and Russian-reading (Central Asian) audiences be interested and influenced by different things, and if so, which things?

Therefore we should approach the discussion of chapters as really the discussion of the book’s overall framework. By “framework” I mean a guide for decision-making. I’m an historian and journalist by training. The way I operate is by pooling the raw material – in this case, the weblog posts – in such a fashion that when the time comes to do the editing, the implementation can be almost automatic for me. Essentially, everything needs to be in the right mental folder before I start.

Since Ben and I can pretty much make a good hypothesis about what Westerners would be interested in reading about, my real task is to get in the heads of the book’s Central Asian readers. So, when you are proposing chapter ideas to me, keep in mind that this is the question to which I need your answer: what would Central Asians as a whole be interested in reading about?

If you haven’t already joined our Google group on this subject, please do so here. It will be the best way for us to communicate on this and future subjects.

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