15.154 what computing humanists need to know

From: by way of Willard McCarty (willard@lists.village.Virginia.EDU)
Date: Thu Aug 02 2001 - 02:07:37 EDT

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                   Humanist Discussion Group, Vol. 15, No. 154.
           Centre for Computing in the Humanities, King's College London

             Date: Thu, 02 Aug 2001 07:05:12 +0100
             From: lachance@chass.utoronto.ca (Francois Lachance)
             Subject: Re: 15.095 what computing humanists need to know, cont.


    I do believe that the thread on the development of a humanities computing
    curriculum was spinning toward what you have called the "shopping-list
    stage". I was wondering if the survey-course you propose become the core
    of the curriculum could be fashioned along a research course into the
    history of humanities computing and related disciplines. I know you
    suggested that although they may not aim to publish in _Mind_, students be
    exposed to the great philisophical questions raised by the practice and
    theory of humanities computing. Might not such a course be constructed out
    og research assignments such field work in the anthropological genre
    of the the interview with key figures of humanities computing or archival
    work in combing the working papers of committees and projects?
    For example, _Monist_ sponsored some interesting discussions in
    the mind 1990s and this bit of the historical record deserves to be read
    agains other bits.

    This is of course a plea for learning by observation to be valued as much
    as learning by doing. It is with a certain measure of irony that such a
    plea is able to call upon the behaviourist B.F. Skinner:

    <cite> There is no reason why methods of discovery must be taught by the
    discovery method. Learning the techniques of others does not interfere
    with the discovery of techniques of one's own. One the contrary, the
    artist who has acquired a variety of techniques from his [sic]
    predecessors is in the best possible position to make truly original

    from "Creating the Creative Artist"
    in _On the Future of Art_
    New York: Viking Press, 1970
    p. 68

    In a paraphrase of Edward Fitzgerald's adaptation of Omar Khayam,
    humanities computing students (and teachers) need a project, a thread and
    a forum.

    the project like the loaf of bread is a daily bit of sustenance
    the jug of wine like the thread leads one out of oneself
    and the forum and the friend remind us when to bake again and tend to the

    Francois Lachance, Scholar-at-large
    20th : Machine Age :: 21st : Era of Reparation

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