11.0108 writing (? bad), theory, computers

Humanist Discussion Group (humanist@kcl.ac.uk)
Fri, 13 Jun 1997 20:21:33 +0100 (BST)

Humanist Discussion Group, Vol. 11, No. 108.
Centre for Computing in the Humanities, King's College London

[1] From: BRUNI <jbrun@eagle.cc.ukans.edu> (27)
Subject: theory, writing, and computers

[2] From: omar <drummojg@jmu.edu> (17)
Subject: humor (was Re: 11.0099 bad writing)

Date: Fri, 13 Jun 1997 12:40:50 -0500 (CDT)
From: BRUNI <jbrun@eagle.cc.ukans.edu>
Subject: theory, writing, and computers

> Does applied computing offer a
> way out of the current mental labyrinth (if you think it so) into a
> confrontation with the data? Do we, then, have something rather important
> to offer in this regard?

In response, I would say that theory tends to be confrontational, for it
allows us to critique how data is disseminated and interpreted. This is
especially true of Donna Haraway's work, as well as other scholars who
interrogate scientific theory.

Theory also critiques writing itself as a system of signification and
communication. An example I would offer here would be the work of Jacques
Derrida. Of course when writing is used to critique writing, problems do
result in readability. It is not that anyone should have the license to
write badly. It is instead that theory often reminds us, whether we would
like to admit this, of the difficulty of critically separating any topic
or research area from another. Theory breaks down the idea of neat,
organized categories or borders.

Computers also reflect this idea of connectivity. And this is where I see
the value of merging computers and theory. We now have a chance to test
out theory, to see how theory performs in a different space other than
print. The results should be interesting.

John Bruni
English Department
University of Kansas

Date: Fri, 13 Jun 1997 07:29:14 -0400 (EDT)
From: omar <drummojg@jmu.edu>
Subject: humor (was Re: 11.0099 bad writing)

On Fri, 13 Jun 1997, Paul Brians wrote:

> Never has literary scholarship been so far removed from the "common reader"
> and so irrelevant to the world outside the walls of academe. Modern
> theory is deep into denial on this point.

>From my very first Lit Crit class (I think it was the night before

"Tonight is the last night that the reading is 'tough.' After this
it's like a breath of fresh air. The problem is you're all going
to embrace aestheticism -- because you'll understand it."
-Dr. Mark Facknitz
James Madison University

-john drummond

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