[Humanist] 25.749 the media intellectual?

Humanist Discussion Group willard.mccarty at mccarty.org.uk
Fri Feb 24 09:57:12 CET 2012

                 Humanist Discussion Group, Vol. 25, No. 749.
            Department of Digital Humanities, King's College London
                Submit to: humanist at lists.digitalhumanities.org

        Date: Fri, 24 Feb 2012 08:48:02 +0000
        From: Willard McCarty <willard.mccarty at mccarty.org.uk>
        Subject: the media intellectual

Somewhere someone has called Slavoj Žižek a "media intellectual", or one
whose important work is mostly performed in public, via the various
media (also "the world’s hippest philosopher", in today's Telegraph --
which, I hasten to add, I don't read). This leads me to wonder whether
it is possible to detect a shift in what might reasonably be called
scholarship, in one or more fields of the humanities, from print not
merely to digital but all the way to online forms. I certainly would not
want to posit a one-way causal relationship between the availability of
the online medium and changes in scholarship, but a relationship between
this medium and scholarship exists. What effects is it having? What
effects do we want it to have? Not want it to have?

As we view the changes happening in the academy and to it, what is the
status of the drawing of lines? Sitting at the crossroads where computing
and the humanities variously meet, with no immediate and direct commitment
to what is happening in any field of the humanities other than our own, or a
direct and immediate commitment to all of them simultaneously (in some sense
yet to be determined) how can we responsibly draw any line at all as long as
digital tools and methods are being intelligently used? (And, one has to
ask, what does "intelligently" mean in this case?) A medieval historian,
say, can look from his or her perch at what is happening in, say, cultural
studies and pronounce it deviant because that is indeed how it looks by his
or her lights in all the honesty of which that person is capable. But how
can we do that (presuming one would want to)?


Professor Willard McCarty, Department of Digital Humanities, King's
College London; Professor (fractional), University of Western Sydney;
Editor, Interdisciplinary Science Reviews (www.isr-journal.org); Editor,
Humanist (www.digitalhumanities.org/humanist/); www.mccarty.org.uk/

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