11.0629 RE: Older Wiser

Humanist Discussion Group (humanist@kcl.ac.uk)
Mon, 9 Mar 1998 22:17:19 +0000 (GMT)

Humanist Discussion Group, Vol. 11, No. 629.
Centre for Computing in the Humanities, King's College London

[1] From: Patricia Galloway <galloway@mdah.state.ms.us> (17)
Subject: Re: 11.0622 RE: Older Wiser

[2] From: Dan Price <dprice@union1.tui.edu> (67)
Subject: RE: 11.0622 RE: Older Wiser

[3] From: Ken Litkowski <ken@clres.com> (5)
Subject: Re: 11.0622 RE: Older Wiser

Date: Thu, 05 Mar 1998 16:41:08 -0600
From: Patricia Galloway <galloway@mdah.state.ms.us>
Subject: Re: 11.0622 RE: Older Wiser

I agree heartily with William Williams on the potential of the new
medium of the Web to recreate the real roots of the university:
independent scholars can easily become adjuncts from afar (if they need
a paycheck or to offer their knowledge in a context in which the
recipient accrues academic capital) or simply set up to offer knowledge
independently to those who are interested, either for a fee (a good
model is the low-cost training sites like ZDU) or for free if they can
afford to do so. This time, of course, the students won't have to be
peripatetic; conceivably they could study with scholars all over the
world at the same time; multi-scholar seminars could be created using
MOOs; etc.etc. Universities are investigating these possibilities
already (viz. the Western Governors' cooperative concept in the US), but
there is no reason why the narrow degree-granting concept needs to be
the only model out there. And we computing humanists need not depend
upon the campus educational-applications people: we can just go ahead
and do it. More power to these pioneers!
Pat Galloway
Mississippi Department of Archives and History

Date: Fri, 6 Mar 1998 12:36:01 -0500
From: Dan Price <dprice@union1.tui.edu>
Subject: RE: 11.0622 RE: Older Wiser

A furthre thought. It will indeed be curious to see what response this raises.

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Humanist Discussion Group, Vol. 11, No. 622.
Centre for Computing in the Humanities, King's College London

Willard's comments on the plight which those of us who are getting a bit
long in the tooth fine, or soon will find ourselves started the following
chain of thoughts.

A month ago I received an email from a student seeking some information
for a research paper. He had found out that I had written a book on the
subject of interest. I responded saying that I might be more help if I
knew whether this was an undergraduate or graduate paper on which he was
working. Neither, he assured me. He was in the seventh grade and was
working on a project for History Day. I made some suggestions that I hope
were useful and corresponded a bit with the scholar's mom, something that
doesn't happen every day.

Although I was initially surprised by this contact, I quickly recognized
that this is the nature of this new word of electronic communications. All
anonymous fingers on keyboards are equal, at least upon their initial
presentation, and the world of potential contacts for intellectual inquiry,
exchange or fun is far wider than I at least had suspected.

How may this help the elders, whom we will all become? First, the
potential isolation that may come from retirement can be broached via email
and the WEB. Second, if we allow ourselves to expand our definition of
colleagues, we may discover all kinds of exhilarating (and irritating)
communications we may never have allowed ourselves. Third, ah, but here I
must backtrack or perhaps I should say, forward track a bit, and indulge in
a bit of guesswork about the future.

Now that the WEB is emerging as a vast course delivery medium at the same
time that universities and colleges are under great pressure to reduce
costs, I think that we can no longer assume that the past is prologue as
far as the professorate is concerned. There was a time when most scholars
were "independent"-- unattached, living on whatever means they had. The
institutionalization of scholars and intellectuals in secular universities
is about as new as the secular universities themselves. The process begins
in the Anglo-American world in the late nineteenth century. I am not sure
that this situation will survive in tact in the post-modern century that is
close upon us, at least as far as the humanities disciplines are concerned.
At some point in the next century, sooner rather than later, many people
pursuing interests in humanities fields may find that they, like their
nineteenth-century predecessors, are "independent" -- without full-time
salary. Indeed, such vestiges of the past/harbingers of the future are
already among us. We call them adjuncts.

The time is ripe to establish the new "institutions" that will support
independent scholars (perhaps economically but certainly intellectually)
and the electronic media seem to offer us the most likely means to do this.
While some of the ground is already being laid, there is still much to be
done. It is here that elders, retired and with time heavy on their hands,
and no longer locked into the incessant schedules of publications,
committees and teaching, could help pioneer the new intellectual
environment, and have a hell of a good time in the process.

William H. A. Williams
The Union Institute
440 E. McMillan St.,
Cincinnati, Ohio 45206-1925
(513) 861-6400

Humanist Discussion Group
Information at <http://www.kcl.ac.uk/humanities/cch/humanist/>

Date: Fri, 06 Mar 1998 14:50:27 -0500
From: Ken Litkowski <ken@clres.com>
Subject: Re: 11.0622 RE: Older Wiser

What a lovely way to put things!!!!

Ken Litkowski                         TEL.: 301-926-5904
CL Research                           EMAIL: ken@clres.com
20239 Lea Pond Place                    
Gaithersburg, MD 20879-1270 USA       Home Page: http://www.clres.com

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