[Humanist] 26.40 disciplinary paranoia?

Humanist Discussion Group willard.mccarty at mccarty.org.uk
Wed May 23 23:49:14 CEST 2012

                  Humanist Discussion Group, Vol. 26, No. 40.
            Department of Digital Humanities, King's College London
                Submit to: humanist at lists.digitalhumanities.org

        Date: Thu, 24 May 2012 07:48:00 +1000
        From: Willard McCarty <willard.mccarty at mccarty.org.uk>
        Subject: disciplinary paranoia

Taking a cue from Richard Hofstadter's article "The Paranoid Style in 
American Politics", Harper’s Magazine, November 1964, then thinking 
about the fearful desire to live in a totally explained world where 
everything conspires to make sense, I am wondering about the reactions 
we encounter as digital humanists when approaching other disciplines for 
more than merely a momentary, delimited fling. When, to continue with 
the sexual metaphor, what we're after is not simply an affair but 
marriage. What I want to ask is this: how common is it for 
representatives of the other discipline to gather into themselves, to 
react in a way that suggests an anxiety about the coherence of their own 
field and how the digital humanities might threaten that putative 
coherence? Some disciplines are more confident than others, but I 
suspect that none is so sure of itself that it cannot be provoked into 
such anxiety by something which promises to change everything, as for 
the humanities the digital humanities does.

Any sense in this? Comments?

Willard McCarty, FRAI / Professor of Humanities Computing & Director of
the Doctoral Programme, Department of Digital Humanities, King's College
London; Professor, School of Computing, Engineering and Mathematics,
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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