Humanist Discussion Group, Vol. 33, No. 318. Department of Digital Humanities, King's College London Hosted by King's Digital Lab www.dhhumanist.org Submit to: email@example.com Date: 2019-10-14 07:19:19+00:00 From: Willard McCarty
Subject: what we're not ready for [This posting should have preceded the one I just contributed, but somehow it has not. Forgive the out-of-sequence commentary. --WM] A few days ago, 9 October to be exact, I used a comment Jerome Bruner made about the maturity of cognitive psychology in turn to ask about the maturity of digital humanities. To ask what we in digital humanities are "not quite ready for" (Bruner's words) is to probe our awareness of problems that belong to us, that constitute our own proper field of study. In the back of my mind was, and is, Northrop Frye's argument in the "Polemical Introduction" to Anatomy of Criticism that "the absence of systematic criticism has created a power vacuum, and all the neighboring disciplines have moved in". Another way of saying somewhat the same thing is that interdisciplinary research, to which a methodological field like ours is committed, requires a discipline from which to be interdisciplinary. To ask after the problems we are not yet ready for, problems that we cannot ignore because they are important and will otherwise be ignored or treated incompletely or badly, is to ask the still unanswered question, what is digital humanities? A kind of sociology? Cultural studies? Philosophy? Or is something emerging that looks sort of like these, and others, but has its own agenda? Nothing wrong with being an amalgam, like computer science. The comment of mine that got Vika Zafrin to reply was to the effect that a good answer to the above cannot simply be helping others, though one learns a lot from doing that. I did not intend to imply that helping others is not a good thing or a worthy way to spend one's time, nor that this often follows from involvement of digital humanities (whatever it is) in the research of sociologists, cultural critics, literary scholars et al. Service is fundamental to reprocity, and reciprocity is what keeps the whole show going. But to serve well without being merely a servant -- a role our machines are quickly assuming -- one has to have something to give. In our case, what is it? 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) _______________________________________________ Unsubscribe at: http://dhhumanist.org/Restricted List posts to: firstname.lastname@example.org List info and archives at at: http://dhhumanist.org Listmember interface at: http://dhhumanist.org/Restricted/ Subscribe at: http://dhhumanist.org/membership_form.php
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