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Humanist Archives: Aug. 7, 2019, 6:19 a.m. Humanist 33.171 - interdisciplinary relevance lost

                  Humanist Discussion Group, Vol. 33, No. 171.
            Department of Digital Humanities, King's College London
                   Hosted by King's Digital Lab
                Submit to: humanist@dhhumanist.org

        Date: 2019-08-06 17:32:04+00:00
        From: Bob Kosovsky 
        Subject: Re: [Humanist] 33.167: interdisciplinary relevance lost

But isn't this the "problem" with most societies?  The call for papers goes
out to *members* not to the academic community at large. Thus the member
community of most societies maintains life within a bubble of their own
creation.  I have been to many conferences where I felt that the speakers
and many of the attendees took too many things for granted, and refrained
from actively and regularly questioning what we do and think.

I have been to conferences where the organizers deliberately invite outside
speakers to present new ideas and new points of view to the attendees.
It's an expense the society absorbs.  If done well, it is well worth the

If interdisciplinarity is going to be practiced, then conference organizers
must continually reach out to other organizations and individuals (there
are many who avoid conference attendance if possible) to make communities
realize they don't operate alone, and to stretch their intellectual breadth.

Bob Kosovsky, Ph.D. -- Librarian, Rare Books and Manuscripts,
Music & Recorded Sound Division
The New York Public Library for the Performing Arts - Dorothy and Lewis B.
Cullman Center

40 Lincoln Center Plaza, New York, NY 10023


On Tue, Aug 6, 2019 at 1:21 AM Humanist  wrote:

>                   Humanist Discussion Group, Vol. 33, No. 167.
>             Department of Digital Humanities, King's College London
>                    Hosted by King's Digital Lab
>                        www.dhhumanist.org
>                 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
> interdisciplinary?
> Comments?
> Yours,
> WM
> --
> 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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