16.543 postdocs of respect

From: Humanist Discussion Group (by way of Willard McCarty willard.mccarty@kcl.ac.uk)
Date: Mon Mar 10 2003 - 02:25:13 EST

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                   Humanist Discussion Group, Vol. 16, No. 543.
           Centre for Computing in the Humanities, King's College London
                         Submit to: humanist@princeton.edu

             Date: Mon, 10 Mar 2003 06:45:54 +0000
             From: Clifford Wulfman <cwulfman@perseus.tufts.edu>
             Subject: Re: 16.541 postdocs of respect

    I'm glad Willard and Francois took up my contention (intentionally
    controversial) that respect for humanities computing should/will be
    measured by traditional academic rods. I agree that humanities computing,
    as a discipline (or, better, as a space of discourse) is refreshingly
    non-hierarchical (Francois rightly cites the active participation in
    important discussion forums by folks not employed in the academy). And I
    echo Francois's call for more horn-tooting, for several reasons.

    In such a diverse and rapidly-developing field as humanities computing, it
    is difficult, as Francois notes, to track the careers of its affiliates,
    and self-reporting can help the field understand where it's going. Those
    statistics are also valuable data for academic departments to see. First,
    the dearth of traditional academic jobs shows no sign of letting up, and
    departments need to be able to offer their graduates career options that
    capitalize on their hard-earned skills. Second, evidence of a vibrant
    discipline might encourage departments and institutions to invest more
    resources (funding, facilities, faculty slots) in humanities computing,
    thus feeding the cycle.

    Like Willard and Francois, I deplore the academic headlock on
    intellectualism, but I think it is a difficult hold to break. In one of my
    previous lives, as a medical informatics researcher, I quickly discovered
    that without an M.D. one simply was not taken seriously: one certainly
    couldn't expect to win funding for research. For better or for worse,
    credentials count for much among those who have earned them. I agree with
    Willard that humanities computing, with its roots in so many different
    soils, has a better chance than some fields to bloom in its own way, but it
    isn't going to be easy. (Spring hasn't come to Boston yet, Willard!)


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