[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
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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
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