[Humanist] 24.651 an opportunity
Humanist Discussion Group
willard.mccarty at mccarty.org.uk
Sun Jan 16 10:22:24 CET 2011
Humanist Discussion Group, Vol. 24, No. 651.
Centre for Computing in the Humanities, King's College London
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Date: Sun, 16 Jan 2011 09:18:02 +0000
From: Willard McCarty <willard.mccarty at mccarty.org.uk>
Subject: interdisciplinary puzzle
In Myra H. Strober's recent book, Interdisciplinary Conversations:
Challenging Habits of Thought (Stanford, 2011), the word "digital" does
not appear in the index, nor as far as I can tell is there any mention
of the digital humanities. It is a welcome study: Strober, an emeritus
professor of education at Stanford, does not get caught up in seemingly
endless consideration of what the abstract ontological category
"interdisciplinarity" might denote, how it is to be distinguished from
"transdisciplinarity", "multidisciplinarity" and so forth and so on ad
nauseam. Rather she looks at what's happening by way of six seminars
funded to enact interdisciplinary discussions among academic staff at
six American universities. Hers is a social scientific study of these
long conversations among academics from a wide variety of disciplines.
To her great credit she does not thunder on about breaking down
divisions between disciplines or eliminating them altogether. She
focuses on what happens when academics try to communicate beyond their
own. Mostly what we witness are the difficulties of the attempt.
I mention the absence of the digital humanities not as her failing --
our field, after all, has few or no dedicated academic departments in
the U.S., including Stanford -- rather as an opportunity for us. The
push is on nearly everywhere for academics to attempt interdisciplinary
research. What *we* do is by its nature interdisciplinary. Wouldn't you
think that we would be the ones to report on how it is actually done?
Are not our collaborative projects enactments of interdisciplinary
research, at least to some degree?
Willard McCarty, Professor of Humanities Computing,
King's College London, staff.cch.kcl.ac.uk/~wmccarty/;
Professor, Centre for Cultural Research, University of Western Sydney,
Editor, Humanist, www.digitalhumanities.org/humanist;
Editor, Interdisciplinary Science Reviews, www.isr-journal.org.
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