[Humanist] 26.1 the jubilee

Humanist Discussion Group willard.mccarty at mccarty.org.uk
Mon May 7 22:11:06 CEST 2012

                  Humanist Discussion Group, Vol. 26, No. 1.
            Department of Digital Humanities, King's College London
                Submit to: humanist at lists.digitalhumanities.org

        Date: Mon, 7 May 2012 00:33:09 -0400
        From: Grover Zinn <grover.zinn at oberlin.edu>
        Subject: Re: [Humanist] 25.941 Humanist's silver jubilee!
        In-Reply-To: <20120506215240.C1D7B281B6E at woodward.joyent.us>

Salutations to Willard for being "the one without whom Humanist would not exist" --- for his vision and his commitment (and lots of his time!)

From one who was fortunate enough to be there "at the beginning" so to speak.



Grover A. Zinn
William H. Danforth Professor of Religion (emeritus)
former Associate Dean, College of Arts and Sciences
Oberlin College
Oberlin, OH 44074
440-775-8866 (department)
grover.zinn at oberlin.edu

On May 6, 2012, at 5:52 PM, Humanist Discussion Group wrote:

>                 Humanist Discussion Group, Vol. 25, No. 941.
>            Department of Digital Humanities, King's College London
>                       www.digitalhumanities.org/humanist
>                Submit to: humanist at lists.digitalhumanities.org
>        Date: Mon, 07 May 2012 07:43:06 +1000
>        From: Willard McCarty <willard.mccarty at mccarty.org.uk>
>        Subject: Humanist's silver jubilee
> In the UK anniversaries of accession to the throne are 
> celebrated as jubilees. In Jewish history a jubilee (a word whose 
> origins run through Hebrew, Greek and Latin) is "A year of emancipation 
> and restoration, which according to the institution in Lev. xxv was to 
> be kept every fifty years, and to be proclaimed by the blast of trumpets 
> throughout the land" (OED). In 1300, that same source tells me, Boniface 
> VIII instituted a jubilee as "a year of remission from the penal 
> consequences of sin" to be celebrated every 100 years by the performance 
> of pious works. Later regulations were relaxed, so that an extraordinary 
> jubilee can be celebrated "at any time either to the whole Church or to 
> particular countries or cities".
> Being digital, Humanist's silver (i.e. 25th year) jubilee requires no 
> washing in blood, indeed no washing at all! Being our first time, 
> however, I'd think that a few extraordinary whoops of joy are in order.
> When I began writing this note a fair bit in advance of today, I was not 
> at all sure whether this whoop of mine would be sent out to the far 
> corners of the round earth actually on the day itself, 7 May. I wasn't 
> at all certain that after some 23 hours of travel from London to Sydney, 
> with all the uncertainties of establishing a connection in a rather 
> dazed state of mind, I and my arrangements would be up to the challenge. 
> But it seems they are. So, greetings from Luxe, a very fine coffee shop 
> in Newtown, Sydney, early on a Monday morning. 
> These days I am frequently if unpredictably caught up in amazement that 
> we in the digital humanities are not only still here, that we're not 
> only prospering in every external way that marks the health of a field 
> of enquiry, but that in particular jobs in the field are popping up, PhD 
> students are vigorously engaged in seeing to the next generation and 
> very interesting technical problems abound. Yes, there's still the 
> wringing of hands and gnashing of teeth; I still lose a certain amount 
> of sleep over the fragility of it all. But, I put it to you, a decade 
> ago most of what is now happening would have been inconceivable. 
> Whenever I hear nervous nellies fretting over whether it is or not a 
> whatever, who's in and who's out etc ad nauseam, I gesture at the PhD 
> students who are, even as I write, answering the anxieties by their 
> actions and devotion to their work. Not all of them, perhaps not even a 
> large minority, will become full-time academics, alas. But they are 
> bring ever better into being what the nellies say doesn't exist, or not 
> for very long, or not really at all. I say, behold, rejoice -- and above 
> all learn.
> The urge to reproduction is, of course, just that, an urge. But there is 
> a real need for us to make this undertaking of ours less fragile, to 
> spread it to younger and smarter practitioners, who will find out more 
> of and about what we're doing than we've been able to discover. 
> Computing's mutability-by-design won't be realised efficiently or 
> perhaps not at all by those who have found their version of it and 
> (mis)taken it for some kind of permanent it. More likely is that the 
> young ones will see the new in potentia and bring it out into the light. 
> But I am not speaking of chronological age primarily, rather of that 
> youthful daring and restlessness to which, I have discovered, so-called 
> retirement can bestow perhaps an even greater license.
> In this grossly utilitarian and very nervous time it is understandable 
> and perhaps necessary to fret over our usefulness to others, but in my 
> opinion we have done altogether too much of this in the digital 
> humanities. I sometimes wonder what happened to the youthful and 
> youth-making joy of being curious and finding things out. To paraphrase 
> an aboriginal American we are apt to forget the whole point of this (and 
> every other) form of life: to be enabled to run out into the field, look 
> up into the bright air and rejoice.
> Happy 25th, Humanist!
> All the best.
> Yours,
> WM
> -- 
> 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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