13.0424 computing reviews revised

From: Humanist Discussion Group (willard@lists.village.virginia.edu)
Date: Mon Feb 21 2000 - 08:19:18 CUT

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                   Humanist Discussion Group, Vol. 13, No. 424.
           Centre for Computing in the Humanities, King's College London

             Date: Mon, 21 Feb 2000 08:13:39 +0000
             From: clare callaghan <clare@charm.net>
             Subject: Re: 13.0420 computing reviews revised

    > So my question: within the national academies, scholarly societies, funding
    > organisations &al. is a solution in progress, however haphazardly? Will
    > someday soon a URL take us where we want to go today? If the corporate
    > scholarly mind is not in fact getting its act together, then perhaps the
    > various senior people in a position to start something should?
    Dr. McCarty,

    I don't think there is a solution in progress because I don't think there
    is widespread institutional support for humanities computing, or even
    widespread institutional recognition that it exists. Individual scholars
    are finding each other and developing principles as they go. Until
    humanities computing is accepted as integral to researching, publishing,
    and teaching, the academic trinity, individuals will make their ways as
    best they can. This list and its discussions attribute to that.

    Helpful individuals do exist, working (in my experience) at UVa, Penn,
    Brown, UCSB, UT-Austin, or U-Baltimore, but as for a recognized,
    institutionalized approach? Not at all, with the exception of
    Austin's computing concentration within its English department and the
    planned master's at Virginia. I wish something were established now,
    because I am trying to move into humanities computing. Having
    some established protocols or programs would have helped me significantly
    as I thought about my long term professional goals and how best to meet

    But really, all that exists are these individuals. They tend to have
    studied a traditional discipline, and serendipitously found computing.
    They network, and they know each other, and they're all very helpful when
    I write and ask how I too can be part of the humanities computing
    community. But they're comparatively rare, and they're associated with
    highly regarded, highly competitive departments and they have what passes
    for academic job security nowadays, thus also having the space and support
    in which to innovate.

    Humanities computing is sneaking into more typical English departments
    from the back, usually through computer-mediated first-year composition.
    And those kinds of classes are the most likely to be put off on
    adjuncts or instructors, not taken by the full time, tenure-eligible
    professors. Institutionally, this says computing is not considered part
    of the "serious" side of academia. Rather, it's something to use to
    placate the lowest people in the department, the ones least likely to have
    any sway over the department's policies or priorities, or to have the time
    to dedicate to such an international effort as you propose.

    Without such an effort as you mention, humanities computing seems to me to
    be doomed to this "novelty" status. And that, in turn, would keep
    marginalized those people genuinely interested in the field, and
    even further restrict institutionalized academic powers to those working
    "traditionally," however outmoded such traditions might be. In time, a
    schism would arise among technical skills certifying schools, research
    institutions, and the few remaining liberal arts colleges.

    Very truly yours,

    Clare Callaghan
    Adjunct Instructor
    University of Baltimore
    Loyola College in Maryland
    University of Maryland, Baltimore County

    clare callaghan
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