20.030 possibly irrelevant conferences &c

From: Humanist Discussion Group (by way of Willard McCarty willard.mccarty_at_kcl.ac.uk>
Date: Wed, 24 May 2006 08:05:19 +0100

                Humanist Discussion Group, Vol. 20, No. 30.
       Centre for Computing in the Humanities, King's College London
                     Submit to: humanist_at_princeton.edu

         Date: Wed, 24 May 2006 07:59:57 +0100
         From: Willard McCarty <willard.mccarty_at_kcl.ac.uk>
         Subject: possibly irrelevant conferences &c

It occurs to me that some Humanists may be puzzled if not annoyed at
the number of conference announcements which have little to do with
humanities computing, or at least little directly. When, for example,
a long-time member of this group drops out with a comment about the
decreasing relevance of Humanist's content, I pay attention and
wonder what he or she means, actually. Not that I believe him or her
necessarily, but clues are clues. In the old days, people used to
mutter that there was TOO MUCH E-MAIL before they shuffled off, and
that proved a very interesting and valuable clue toward the
improvement of Humanist. But I had to puzzle out what "too much" was
a symptom of. What, I wonder now, does the claim of irrelevance
indicate? The delete key is still where it always has been, more or less.

Anyhow, an explanation with a query may be in order for those here to hear it.

In my own work, esp in the last few years, I've discovered that much
is happening, esp in computer science and in its nearest neighbours,
which is either helpful to us or which deserves our critical
commentary. I like to have information about the currently hot topics
running by me so that I can have a sense of what our colleagues are
up to, even if I sometimes regard their attention as misplaced. I may
of course be proved wrong, but for me the primary value of this
background chatter is to sharpen or direct my critical focus. I take
my own need for this chatter to be widely shared by our loose
community. Is this a mistake?

I would also point to the fact that the community is indeed very
loosely bounded. All sorts inhabit this metaphorical space, and that
makes it what it is. No need, I say, for us to be singing from the
same hymn-sheet. Quite the opposite.

What say you?


Dr Willard McCarty | Reader in Humanities Computing | Centre for
Computing in the Humanities | King's College London | Kay House, 7
Arundel Street | London WC2R 3DX | U.K. | +44 (0)20 7848-2784 fax:
-2980 || willard.mccarty_at_kcl.ac.uk www.kcl.ac.uk/humanities/cch/wlm/
Received on Wed May 24 2006 - 03:30:16 EDT

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