[Humanist] 27.971 humanities

Humanist Discussion Group willard.mccarty at mccarty.org.uk
Tue Apr 15 07:35:48 CEST 2014

                 Humanist Discussion Group, Vol. 27, No. 971.
            Department of Digital Humanities, King's College London
                Submit to: humanist at lists.digitalhumanities.org

        Date: Mon, 14 Apr 2014 17:30:00 -0500
        From: Carlos Monroy <cm13 at rice.edu>
        Subject: Re:  27.966 humanities
        In-Reply-To: <20140413075352.C11076363 at digitalhumanities.org>

Dear Willard,

As a computer scientist with several years collaborating with scholars in the humanities, I always find appaling the way in which the humanities disciplines are perceived or judged by scientists and scholars in STEM fields, policy makers or the general public, although some exceptions can be found. Presently my work centers on STEM education and research on data analytics. In my experience the humanities scholars I have collaborated with and their practices have been so valuable, I should say essential, for my scholarly work. I always speak of STHEM, with the H for "Humanities" at the center. This is for a good reason, the Humanities are paramount for the advancement of STEM disciplines.

Last Friday during the Texas Digital Humanities Conference, I brought this point to one of the keynote speakers (Geoff Rockwell). His response was something along these lines:  "there is no better time to be in the humanities than today." I completely agree, some of the hottest topics in STEM are big data, analytics, and visualization. This begs the question, don't we need the humanities to interpret, analyze and communicate big data analyses in any STEM discipline, or in a broader sense, to do science? My answer is a loud Yes! Furthermore, the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) advance the notion of using data and evidence for argumentation in K-12 science education. These two examples seem to suggest that the humanities are needed in the 21st century, or any other age.

Perhaps we assume and take for granted that policy makers, the general public, and other scientists will easily understand the role of the humanities. I believe that we as a community should be more vocal, louder, and better articulate the case for the humanities, in the same way it is done for STEM disciplines.


Carlos Monroy, Ph.D.
Data Scientist
Rice Digital Learning and Scholarship
Rice University
Houston, TX
carlos.monroy at rice.edu
Mobile. 713.576.6505

On Apr 13, 2014, at 2:53 AM, Humanist Discussion Group <willard.mccarty at mccarty.org.uk> wrote:

>                 Humanist Discussion Group, Vol. 27, No. 966.
>            Department of Digital Humanities, King's College London
>                       www.digitalhumanities.org/humanist
>                Submit to: humanist at lists.digitalhumanities.org
>        Date: Sat, 12 Apr 2014 08:42:26 +0100
>        From: Willard McCarty <willard.mccarty at mccarty.org.uk>
>        Subject: the question of the humanities
> It does seem to me that at the core of Jacques Barzun's 1959 essay 
> is a most promising way of addressing that which we are calling the 
> crisis of the humanities, or more accurately, the anti-intellectualism 
> of our time (for curiosity-driven research in the sciences is similarly 
> affected). He writes that the conflict with what are now called the 
> STEM disciplines, is
>> not a real conflict to those who know the realities they are talking about.
>> Rather, it is a conflict with the thoughtless about the meaning of 
>> utility.
> Without the asking of that question "about the meaning of utility", are 
> we not vainly trying to prove that our humanities, and so our humanity, 
> qualify under the wrong criteria? Should we not be asking, useful in 
> what sense, to what end? Is this not a question for digital humanities as 
> much as for other disciplines? And I would think that here, with its 
> particular struggles at the forefront of the useful, the discipline could 
> make a valuable contribution.
> Comments?
> Yours,
> WM
> -- 
> 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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