10.0594 disciplined training

WILLARD MCCARTY (willard.mccarty@kcl.ac.uk)
Wed, 15 Jan 1997 20:28:59 +0000 (GMT)

Humanist Discussion Group, Vol. 10, No. 594.
Center for Electronic Texts in the Humanities (Princeton/Rutgers)
Centre for Computing in the Humanities, King's College London
Information at http://www.princeton.edu/~mccarty/humanist/

[1] From: "Alan B. Howard" <abh9h@faraday.clas.virginia.edu> (24)
Subject: Training computing Humanists

[2] From: Willard McCarty <Willard.McCarty@kcl.ac.uk> (44)
Subject: disciplined training

Date: Wed, 15 Jan 1997 09:22:58 -0500 (EST)
From: "Alan B. Howard" <abh9h@faraday.clas.virginia.edu>
Subject: Training computing Humanists

In response to Matthew Krschenbaum's question about how we
train the next generation of computing humanists:

Since Matthew is a colleague of mine here at the University of
Virginia and since we have plenty of opportunities to discuss
this important question face to face, I'm just taking advantage
of his posting to point to what I think is a small, preliminary
answer to his question, AS@UVA, the virtual space for the
American Studies Programs at UVA.


This space reflects the attempt over the past two years to
integrate learning in the humanities and the new technologies
for both undergraduate and graduate (M.A.) students. For a
brief history/rationale of the program linked to samples of its
products go to:


This program certainly doesn't accomplish all of the tasks on
Matthew's very long list of things that need to be done by a
comprehensive training regimen, but I think it is succeeding in
teaching students how to think about the humanities through the
technology, student satisfaction is very high, and students are
being hired as information managers, online editors,
webmasters, etc. at some very respectable places -- including
museums, universities, governmental agencies and


Date: Wed, 15 Jan 1997 20:20:19 +0000
From: Willard McCarty <Willard.McCarty@kcl.ac.uk>
Subject: disciplined training

In Humanist 10.592, Matt Kirschenbaum helpfully lists the subject areas with
which a well-trained computing humanist should have more than passing
acquaintance, to wit:

1 text-encoding; digital image preparation and manipulation;
2 fundamentals of library science and information retrieval;
3 theory and practice of textual editing, both electronic and print;
4 principles of graphic design;
5 interface theory and design;
6 electronic poetry and fiction;
7 cyberpunk and edge culture;
8 digital music, the digital arts;
9 introduction to critical/theoretical debates on such matters as
cyberspace/virtual reality/multimedia/hypertext/on-line communities;
10 the history of writing;
11 history of the book;
12 history of media forms;
13 history of computing, artificial intelligence, and telecommunications
14 chaos theory and fuzzy logic;
15 practical introduction to Javascript, Java, VRML, Shockwave,
and other networked multimedia standards;
16 electronic publishing, in both commercial and academic settings;
17 systems administration and exposure to a programming/scripting language;
18 fundamentals of linguistics and symbolic logic;
19 project management skills;
20 intellectual property and copyright issues;
21 computer-assisted pedagogies

He promises a "curriculum for second semester" with, I assume, tongue firmly
in cheek. He is dreaming (aren't you, Matt?) of such students and
circumstances for learning that we all dream of, or at least those of us
worth our salt. I'm afraid I'm trying to be practical, and so to select from
this or a longer list a subset of topics that could form a reasonable MA
programme, on the assumption that most of the incoming students would have
little more than wordprocessing. I'm asking, what would your selection be,
and how would you organise the topics into 3-5 courses a student could
complete in a year?

I haven't yet asked the question of whether a PhD programme in humanities
computing is a good idea and what it might look like. Let's get the MA clear

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
Dr. Willard McCarty, Senior Lecturer, King's College London
voice: +44 (0)171 873 2784 fax: +44 (0)171 873 5801
e-mail: Willard.McCarty@kcl.ac.uk