[Humanist] 27.247 another case of remark-able expansiveness

Humanist Discussion Group willard.mccarty at mccarty.org.uk
Mon Jul 29 22:26:38 CEST 2013

                 Humanist Discussion Group, Vol. 27, No. 247.
            Department of Digital Humanities, King's College London
                Submit to: humanist at lists.digitalhumanities.org

        Date: Tue, 30 Jul 2013 06:18:29 +1000
        From: Willard McCarty <willard.mccarty at mccarty.org.uk>
        Subject: another case of remark-able expansiveness

In the latest online serving of The Chronicle of Higher Education, for 
29 July, Mark Edmundson sets out to sketch a portrait of "The Ideal 
English Major", i.e. the American undergraduate who specialises in that 
discipline. See 
for the full article.

"The Ideal English Major" is a brave attempt to get to the fundamental 
goal of identifying with that discipline: "Becoming an English major 
means pursuing the most important subject of all -- being a human being." 
What I find remarkable about it in this context is its simultaneous 
expansiveness (looking outward from within a discipline and seeing the 
whole world) and blinkered view (not seeing that all other disciplines 
also afford such a view, but each a different one). It seems to me that 
one of the dangers for us is to develop in exactly the same way, seeing 
only our view of the whole intellectual world.

This is not to say that English or any other of our predecessors is 
faulty in that respect. For one of them it is exactly how an expansive 
mind trained within the discipline will expand. But, it seems to me, we 
need to see the world at any one instant from our own centre and from 
that of whatever discipline we're then dealing with.


Willard McCarty (www.mccarty.org.uk/), Professor, Department of Digital
Humanities, King's College London, and Research Group in Digital
Humanities, University of Western Sydney

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