[Humanist] 23.69 fear itself

Humanist Discussion Group willard.mccarty at mccarty.org.uk
Sat Jun 6 17:28:38 CEST 2009


                  Humanist Discussion Group, Vol. 23, No. 69.
         Centre for Computing in the Humanities, King's College London
                       www.digitalhumanities.org/humanist
                Submit to: humanist at lists.digitalhumanities.org



        Date: Thu, 4 Jun 2009 10:17:03 -0400 (EDT)
        From: lachance at chass.utoronto.ca
        Subject: Re: [Humanist] 23.68 fear itself 
        In-Reply-To: <20090604123355.D14E7EBC3 at woodward.joyent.us>

Willard,

I wonder if your historical readings into the anxieties expressed at the
interface of the humanities and computing uncovered a concern for property
and economies. I ask because recently one of the major themes of such
discussions, whether expressed as fear or hope, is sustainability. For
example, in the Going Digital issue of IDEA+S

<quote>
The point is not to argue that openness is a panacea or to call for open
everything. Rather, this phenomenon deserves our attention because of the
important social and cultural ways in which it marks the turn to the
digital, in particular, the way in which it opens up space along the
continuum between public and private property.
<cit>
Gale Moore “The Phenomenon of Openness” (IDEA+S 4:2)
http://www.ideasmag.artsci.utoronto.ca/issue4_2/moore.pdf
</cit>
</quote>

In this article, Moore describes a publishing experiment (surrounding
Yochai Benkler’s 2006 book, _The Wealth of Networks_) and then asks:
“Would you still buy the book?”

“Buying a book” is a simple act but a complex phenomenon: Consider book as
product, book as experience. Or books as markers in an economy that
supports institutions.

I raise this here to inquire if some of the discourse regarding the impact
of computers on the practice of humanities research is not also about
pressures on a habitat of relations and modes of exchange.

To what extent in your historical readings does the name “humanities”
stand in for “culture of the book”?

Francois Lachance
Scholar-at-large
http://berneval.blogspot.com/





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