15.082 call for help: Italian Studies at Duisburg to be closed

From: by way of Willard McCarty (willard@lists.village.Virginia.EDU)
Date: Thu Jun 07 2001 - 04:23:43 EDT

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                    Humanist Discussion Group, Vol. 15, No. 82.
           Centre for Computing in the Humanities, King's College London

    Dear Humanists,

    I am asking again for help.

    Last night I got the ministerial decree saying that Italian
    Studies at Duisburg University will be closed definitively.

    This is not only a drama for the presence of Italian Lan-
    guage, Literature and Culture in accademic education in
    general, for the more than 150 students already enroled
    and the school leavers who had wanted to take up these
    studies (Italian Studies this semester is the fastest growing
    department inside Romance Studies with up to 16% of incre-
    ment in student enrollment), but also for humanities compu-

    In fact, it is precisely the Italian department which since the
    beginnings of the 90s has tried to introduce the new media
    in its studies (corpus linguistics, textual analysis, Markup,
    the study of authentic materials on the Internet ecc.).

    Furthermore, the Italian department last year has organised the
    very successful international congress SILFI2000, where un-
    der the motto "Tradition & Innovation. Italian linguistics and
    philology at the start of a new Millennium" for the first time
    the wealth of knowledge gained by using traditional resour-
    ces and methodolgy was brought together with projects which
    try to exploit the possibilities offered by the electronic media
    for research and teaching. It has, thus, successfully combined
    approaches up to then separated from each other and mostly
    present in congresses devoted either exclusively to the traditio-
    nal perspective or exclusively to media and tecnology
    (cf. www.uni-duisburg.de/FB3/SILFI2000/)

    The Italian department is, furthermore, organising CLiP2001 to
    take place from the 06-09.12.2001 at Duisburg University where
    under the motto "Philologies and Informationtechnologies. Theo-
    ries, modells, methods of a new discipline" eminent European and
    US-scholars will come together, discuss the state of the art and
    work towards a European multilingual BA/MA-Programme PHIL*IT.
    Some information can already be found at
    www.uni-duisburg.de/FB3/CLiP2001. Invitations will go out as soon
    as possible and there will be more information, soon.

    We are only too aware that traditional Italian Studies are having a
    hard time when money and student numbers are the only criteria
    for judging the value of a subject and the work which has been done
    in the past, we cannot accept, however, that the innovative path we
    have taken in order to qualify our students for a professional life in
    a multilingual and multicultural Information society are nullified and
    we are not given the chance to create new programms which allow
    us and our students to teach and study languages, literature and cul-
    ture from a perspective which gives them the possibility to gain exac-
    tly these qualifications which in Germany and in Europe are so very
    much requested. In fact, technologically qualified content workers
    and knowledge managers which are proficient in more than one lan-
    guage and culture are more than rare.

    I hope I can bank on your help again as about 2 years ago when lots
    and lots of messages from all over the world reached our Rector. Even
    if he hadn't then the time to read them all and reply to them as he had
    wanted, the idea he had of the Italian department has changed very much,
    in the meantime.

    Now, however, the situation is not any longer in his hands. It is the mi-
    nistry who decreets the shut downs. Therefore, I ask you to send a mail
    of protest to

    Ministerin fuer Schule, Wissenschaft und Forschung des Landes Nord-
    rhein-Westfalen, Frau Behler peter.marx@mswf.nrw.de

    Please, make clear to her that Italian Studies at Duisburg and the work it is
    doing is internationally known, that some of its members belong to the most
    important organisations of Humanities Computing/with Computing (ACH,
    ALLC, ACO*HUM) and ask her to give us a chance to develop the new pro-
    gramme PHIL*IT, which absolutely needs Italian language, literature and cul-
    ture to be part of it if it wants to be a real European programme. What is
    woth if its great languages and cultures are not respected.

    I would be happy if you sent me a copy of your mail. Please do not expect me
    to respond, however, I just won't be able to respond.

    Elisabeth Burr
    Prof'in Dr. Elisabeth Burr
    FB10/Romanistik / Universitaet Bremen
    eburr@uni-bremen.de / Elisabeth.Burr@uni-duisburg.de

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