9.107 humanities computing

Willard McCarty (mccarty@phoenix.Princeton.EDU)
Tue, 22 Aug 1995 09:18:40 -0400 (EDT)

Humanist Discussion Group, Vol. 9, No. 107.
Center for Electronic Texts in the Humanities
Princeton and Rutgers

[1] Subject: Wanted: A humourless view of the future
From: Andrew Armour <armour@pncl.co.uk>
Size: 16 lines
[2] Subject: Re: Humanities computing?
From: "Malcolm Hayward, English, IUP, Indiana PA 15705"
Size: 21 lines

From: Andrew Armour <armour@pncl.co.uk>
To: mccarty@phoenix.Princeton.EDU
Date: Tue, 22 Aug 1995 00:47:32 +0100
Subject: Wanted: A humourless view of the future

At 03:28 PM 8/20/95 -0400, you wrote:

>Sound familiar? I suspect that our distinction between what constitutes a
>"discipline" and what does not is highly arbitrary or is based on factors
>extrinsic to the area of study. (Not that these extrinsic factors invalidate
>a discipline created to serve them, but we should be clear about what we
>mean by a "discipline" and under what conditions we recognize one.) In any
>case, I am wondering if we can justify the practice of humanities computing.

I hardly believe that "disciplines" can survive in a post-modern world,
unless the term is radically redefined. Just as doctors no longer talk of
humo(u)rs, we should move on to a new terminology. Settle that, and the
questions surrounding "humanities computing" will have been answered, I
believe. The problem is that the turbidity associated with the dawning
"cyberia" (not a term I'm fond of) postpones the emergence of the consensus
required for defining the new terminology, perhaps forever. This may sound
bleak, but I am fundamentally optimistic.

Andrew Armour
Keio & Oxford

From: "Malcolm Hayward, English, IUP, Indiana PA 15705"
To: mccarty@phoenix.Princeton.EDU
Date: Mon, 21 Aug 1995 10:53:16 -0400 (EDT)
Subject: Re: Humanities computing?

>From the hot hills of Pennsylvania, sort of Umbria or Tuscanny west,
I will take a shot at Willard's hc question (Willard--nice to have
you back at the helm). There are definite practical advantages
to having hc recognized as a discipline: I think that was one of
the issues that emerged from the roundtable at Georgetown (the
ACH/ALLC conference of a few years ago)--including recognition
for those who practice it, the acceptance of courses in the
discipline, acknowledgement of scholarly and technical contributions
to the field, and so on.

On the other hand, a friend of mine gave a workshop at Virginia Tech
last week, where they are developing a number of cross-disciplinary
programs (his area happened to be environmental studies). Apparently
they are exploring some new models there: a student may graduate with
three minors, for example, rather than a major. And the studies seem
to be modeled on or administratively developed on more of an institute
model rather than a departmental one. Well, maybe there's a kind of
emergent paradigm here: at the point at which cross disciplinarity is
institutionalized, maybe we've reached a post-discipline point.
(I feel like I am playing with jargon here, but there may be a
sort of starting somewhere within this babble). HC may act as a
kind of binding force between disciplines rather than being one
itself. Malcolm Hayward