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Humanist Archives: Aug. 6, 2019, 6:17 a.m. Humanist 33.167 - interdisciplinary relevance lost

                  Humanist Discussion Group, Vol. 33, No. 167.
            Department of Digital Humanities, King's College London
                   Hosted by King's Digital Lab
                Submit to: humanist@dhhumanist.org

        Date: 2019-08-05 11:17:36+00:00
        From: Willard McCarty 
        Subject: sticking to what one knows

As many here will have guessed, I grab postings from several lists
(a.k.a. discussion groups) to enrich Humanist -- and make sure that 
the talking continues. It is a truth of online publications, of this 
sort at least, that when the talking stops they rather quickly cease 
to exist in the minds of their readerships. So I also do this to 
ensure that Humanist survives.

One distressing but hardly surprising consequence is that I get to
observe how the social force of disciplines lowers colleagues' sights so
that interdisciplinary relevance and interest in what they are
announcing and have to say are muffled.

An example. A professional organisation of historians, let us say, is
holding a conference at which a special session is dedicated to 'digital
history' (whatever that turns out to be). Announcement of this session
and call for proposals goes out on this or that list to which
professional historians belong. Unless an outsider like me happens to 
have taken an interest and subscribed to the list, the fact of this 
session and, eventually, the topics and papers it attracts will go 
unnoticed by non-historians. So the interdisciplinary benefits from the 
work are, as I say, muffled if not lost. Is not digital humanities a 
methodological undertaking? Does this not make it implicitly 


Willard McCarty (www.mccarty.org.uk/),
Professor emeritus, Department of Digital Humanities, King's College
London; Editor, Interdisciplinary Science Reviews
(www.tandfonline.com/loi/yisr20) and Humanist (www.dhhumanist.org)

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