19.245 Introspection on Influences

From: Humanist Discussion Group (by way of Willard McCarty willard.mccarty_at_kcl.ac.uk>
Date: Fri, 2 Sep 2005 07:23:52 +0100

               Humanist Discussion Group, Vol. 19, No. 245.
       Centre for Computing in the Humanities, King's College London
                     Submit to: humanist_at_princeton.edu

         Date: Fri, 02 Sep 2005 07:12:59 +0100
         From: lachance_at_origin.chass.utoronto.ca (Francois Lachance)
         Subject: Introspection on Influences


Pat Galloway's intercollaborative play in/on/through the subject line
[19.234 is re-referenced as "myth encore" ; 19.234 appeared as "failure of
interdisciplinarity ; within 19.234 there is a subject line that reads
"myth encore: intercollaborative discipline"] nicely illustrates the power
of multiple tagging. Your "wrapping" her reference to 19.234 with the
subject line "Glasperlenspielerei" in 19.237 lends a certain
cachet to the move found therein. Pat's opening sentence has a suggestive

          I have long suspected X of being Y,
          now we can all confess

I suspect that the invitation to confession carries over to X who has only
been and continues only to be suspected until a confession is produced.
The contiguity of the sentences is most charming.

I would like to suggest a game (stalling on the admission or denial of X
being Y). The game is designed to focus a different entry point into a
discussion about the constitution of the practices of a field or
discipline. Games in the confessional mode acquire a saliency when a
community, especially a community of scholars, has become if not a
community of trust then a community of acknowledgement. A community
that has built fora where people can share reactions along the lines of
"Really?" and "Yeah!"

The game takes to the form of a short quiz:

          What text(s) have most [influenced]
          your [view] of humanities computing?

Substitue [influenced] and [view] with whatever terms you feel are

[My answer below.]

The question is inspried by a thread on the if:book blog sponsored by The
Institute for the Future of the Book where contributies were asked to name
books that shaped their world view.


Kim White captures


Children's books are there at the beginning, digging into our
consciousness. The fact that children must, initially, be read to,
illuminates something about how the book functions for humans. My son is
14 months old and he loves books. That is because his grandmother sat down
with him when he was six months old and patiently read to him. She is a
kindergarten teacher, so she is skilled at reading to children. She can do
funny voices and such. My son doesn't know how to read, he barely has a
notion of what story is, but his grandmother taught him that when you open
a book and turn its pages, something magical happens-characters, voices,
colors-I think this has given him a vague sense of how meaning is
constructed. My son understands books as objects printed with symbols that
can be translated and brought to life by a skilled reader. He likes to sit
and turn the pages of his books and study the images. He has a
relationship with books, but he wouldn't have that if someone hadn't
taught him. My point is, even after you learn to read, the book is still
part of a complex system of relationships. It is almost a matter of
chance, in some ways, which books are introduced to you and opened to you
by someone.


A. Text Encoding Initiative Guidelines

Francois Lachance, Scholar-at-large
Skill may be the capacity to manipulate perceptions of knowledge.
Magic is.
Received on Fri Sep 02 2005 - 02:33:09 EDT

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