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Humanist Archives: Dec. 7, 2018, 6:38 a.m. Humanist 32.252 - influence of digital humanities

                  Humanist Discussion Group, Vol. 32, No. 252.
            Department of Digital Humanities, King's College London
                   Hosted by King's Digital Lab
                Submit to: humanist@dhhumanist.org

    [1]    From: Tim Smithers 
           Subject: Fwd: Re: [Humanist] 32.245: influence of digital humanities? (79)

    [2]    From: Andre Pacheco 
           Subject: Re: [Humanist] 32.250: influence of digital humanities (36)

        Date: 2018-12-07 06:33:11+00:00
        From: Tim Smithers 
        Subject: Fwd: Re: [Humanist] 32.245: influence of digital humanities?

Dear André,

You ask an interesting question, but, to me, you then make it
less interesting, by constraining the answer you look for.

Why must "the influence of digital humanities" be "on the
methodological and theoretical development of other research
fields"?  These are, I think, the last places in any
discipline to display changes, from whatever influence.  I
would look more at how the research questions being
investigated, in other disciplines, have been influenced by
interactions with the Digital Humanities: changed in kind and
in form.

As an example I would point to work on the high definition 3D
scanning of historical artifacts and their subsequent high
definition rendering for use in further historical study and
scholarship.  What constitutes an adequate 3D scan of these
kinds of objects, and how these can be reliably obtained, and
what it takes to then provide high definition renderings
sufficient to stand in place of the original object (for at
least some studies) have raised research question new and
different from those associated with the sufficiently good 3D
scanning and rendering of (much more more recent) industrially
made objects, for example.

This work with historical artifacts has not, as far as I'm
aware, influenced developments in methods and theory of laser
scanning and graphical rendering, but it has changed the way
researchers frame, think about, and investigate the scanning
and rendering techniques need to work well for historians of
ancient artifacts.  The research questions of the (digital)
historians have influenced the research questions of the 3D
scanning and rendering researchers, I would say.

Or is this kind of thing not what you're thinking of?

Best regards,


> On 04 Dec 2018, at 07:17, Humanist  wrote:
>                  Humanist Discussion Group, Vol. 32, No. 245.
>            Department of Digital Humanities, King's College London
>                       www.dhhumanist.org
>                Submit to: humanist@dhhumanist.org
>        Date: 2018-12-03 10:04:06+00:00
>        From: Andre Pacheco 
>        Subject: The influence of humanities
> Often when discussing Digital Humanities, we focus our speech on how do the
> new digital tools help shape the humanist scholarly practice, bridging
> collaboration between humanist scholars and IT professionals or, more
> broadly, more technologically-oriented people. However, a perspective that
> seems to be heavily overlooked is how this cooperation simultaneously
> inspires and transforms the practice of the latter.
> In this sense, I come to ask if anyone has written about the influence of
> digital humanities on the methodological and theoretical development of
> other research fields, as part of the increasing dialogue between humanists
> and IT people. So far I only have knowledge that in the CAA 2018
> archeological proceedings this might have been discussed.
> This is a research line I am becoming interested to develop as I believe
> that a dialogue is always bi-directional, hence it would fall short to
> study merely the 'them to us' influence. Also, knowing how we influence
> others can also help providing a greater sense of identity to the field.
> All suggestions will be most appreciated,
> Best regards,
> André Pacheco

        Date: 2018-12-06 10:57:45+00:00
        From: Andre Pacheco 
        Subject: Re: [Humanist] 32.250: influence of digital humanities


From a methodological point of view, your reasoning is far more correct
than my initial formulation. I committed the methodological error of asking
"what are the influences", instead of being more scientifically rigorous by
first wondering, as you suggest, "are there?.... and if so, which". This
formulation does indeed open space for a more constructive approach where
we can first theoretically idealize the nature of the interactions among
humanists and other fields, and then look into reality to perceive the
differences between the desired and the existing ones.

Note that I use "desired" with a lot of caution. I do not believe that a
single individual will be flooded with inspiration and suddenly write down
feverishly the holy guide of ultimate interaction and potential between the
fields. I do believe, however, that practice first feeds theory, and that
then theory guides practice. Using your words, it's maybe by first
analysing the actual relationships that can identify where they are
lacking, and come up with a set of desired intellectual relationships which
in turn, after being formulated, will drive the practice community towards
their implementation, and subsequent change. In this sense, maybe a case
study with IT professionals working with DH projects could be a useful a
starting point for the discussion between the distance and potential
between actual and intellectual relationships, to help me initiate my
research while eagerly awaiting the release of the books you mentioned.

the symposium has interesting talks, although sometimes hard to follow due
to the nature of the power points. Nevertheless, I appreciate your
contribution. If some form of proceedings of written contributions are ever
produced, I'd be most interested in reading them.

André Pacheco
PhD student on archival digital preservation
University of Coimbra, Portugal

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