9.545 after Babel

Humanist (mccarty@phoenix.Princeton.EDU)
Thu, 15 Feb 1996 17:09:03 -0500 (EST)

Humanist Discussion Group, Vol. 9, No. 545.
Center for Electronic Texts in the Humanities (Princeton/Rutgers)
Information at http://www.princeton.edu/~mccarty/humanist/

[1] From: Willard McCarty <mccarty@phoenix.princeton.edu> (31)
Subject: rest of the world?

A colleague in Germany recently wrote to me, saying

>It seems to me that, whereas colleagues in the States and Canada respond
>very eagerly to questions of Humanities Computing-methodology, the rest
>of the "HUMANIST universe", as Salman Rushdie would have put it, is a
>rather passive recipient of the relevant postings. One would have thought
>that an issue such as "tenure vs. contract existence" would have stimulated
>responses from all over the world - but somehow it didn't. Perhaps HUMANIST
>needs some structures for soliciting input from the other continents: guest
>editorials ? or a sort of regular report structure, like, "What's happening
>in Japan w.r.t. Humanities Computing?" or perhaps even some literary
>contributions - like that wonderful piece by Umberto Eco on Mac vs.
>Windows vs. DOS?

In my article on Humanist in <t>Computers and the Humanities</t> 26 (1992),
I observed that during its Canadian infancy, "HUMANIST was populated chiefly
by people from somewhere else, namely the United States. With a typically
Canadian determination to be multicultural and with the help of a vocal
British contingent, HUMANIST nevertheless managed to resist the tremendous
pull of the American cultural magnet and become a citizen of the world"
(209). Hmmm. What has happened to those once vocal Brits? There was a time
when the quacking from across the pond was, well, hard to ignore.

I for one would very much like to have those reports from outside North
America, but put in that way, as reports from afar, isn't the N. American
perspective reinforced by exotica? How do we re-internationalize our forum,
how encourage participation elsewhere than what is "here" for the majority
of current members? There is, of course, the problem of language, but
experience has shown that we cannot proceed without a lingua franca, which
now happens to be English. Are the conversations on Humanist so markedly
N. American that they do not seem relevant elsewhere?