[Humanist] 29.407 losing the humanities

Humanist Discussion Group willard.mccarty at mccarty.org.uk
Wed Oct 21 07:16:42 CEST 2015


                 Humanist Discussion Group, Vol. 29, No. 407.
            Department of Digital Humanities, King's College London
                       www.digitalhumanities.org/humanist
                Submit to: humanist at lists.digitalhumanities.org

  [1]   From:    Tim Smithers <tim.smithers at cantab.net>                    (71)
        Subject: Re:  29.402 losing the humanities

  [2]   From:    John Levin <john at anterotesis.com>                         (11)
        Subject: Losing the Humanities in Spain

  [3]   From:    "Dr. Hartmut Krech" <kr538 at zfn.uni-bremen.de>            (130)
        Subject: Re: [Humanist] 29.391 losing the humanities


--[1]------------------------------------------------------------------------
        Date: Tue, 20 Oct 2015 10:33:29 +0200
        From: Tim Smithers <tim.smithers at cantab.net>
        Subject: Re:  29.402 losing the humanities
        In-Reply-To: <20151020060018.553EB6C0F at digitalhumanities.org>


Hello!

And to add to Andrew Prescott's news, here's a recent piece
from The Atlantic expressing the need for education in the
Humanities and highlighting it's strengths.

 The Unexpected Schools Championing the Liberal Arts
 Military academies and chef schools say the humanities are
 essential to their graduates' success.
 By Jon Marcus, October 15, 2015
 The Atlantic
  http://tinyurl.com/o5kcmyl

Best regards,

Tim



--[2]------------------------------------------------------------------------
        Date: Tue, 20 Oct 2015 11:31:08 +0100
        From: John Levin <john at anterotesis.com>
        Subject: Losing the Humanities in Spain
        In-Reply-To: <20151020060018.553EB6C0F at digitalhumanities.org>

Dear list,

Further to the thread on the threats to the humanities, here is a piece 
(in English) on the removal of philosophy from the High School 
curriculum, that puts it in the context of “the tendency toward 
pragmatism, it reflects our obsession with immediacy”:

http://elpais.com/elpais/2015/10/07/inenglish/1444206355_205730.html

John

-- 
John Levin
http://www.anterotesis.com
http://twitter.com/anterotesis



--[3]------------------------------------------------------------------------
        Date: Tue, 20 Oct 2015 21:20:00 +0200
        From: "Dr. Hartmut Krech" <kr538 at zfn.uni-bremen.de>
        Subject: Re: [Humanist] 29.391 losing the humanities
        In-Reply-To: <20151016052801.2739E6BB2 at digitalhumanities.org>


Hello Joris and Professor Prescott,

Nobody loves the fool who is pointing his finger at 
unresolved problems. Even more so, I appreciate your 
comments and the story from THES that Professor Prescott has 
shared with us, where the decline of the number of students 
enrolled in the humanities is identified as a problem to 
face by business professionals.

The reduction of public spending on higher education and the 
replacement of life-sustaining jobs by precarious, 
short-term employment is a current trend that is not 
confined to the humanities and probably cannot be addressed 
from within the humanities alone.

I'm only making the point here that our understanding of the 
nature of the problems involved may change for the 
humanities and digital humanities in particular, if we 
remember that the flowering of the traditional humanities 
always was concomitant with the spread of some new means and 
practices of communication like public oratory, book 
copying, university education, printing, etc. All those 
cultural movements cannot be reduced to the leading 
'technological' innovations of the respective age like the 
printing press. As a matter of fact, sometimes quite trivial 
social practices were being developed simulataneously, like 
letter-writing within the 'republic of letters', which 
helped to forge a community of scholars and evolved into 
autobiographical literature as an important element of 
nation-building in 18th century European civil culture. 
These new practices became an economic momentum of their 
own, if economics is understood not as a formula for gaining 
maximum profit from least effort.

If the discipline of 'digital humanities' is different from 
the study of 'computers in the humanities', then perhaps it 
is because of the many digital projects that have been 
developed during the past years. They can be as impressive 
as the various projects described at the website of 
huygensING (https://www.huygens.knaw.nl/) that Joris is 
representing or they can be as seemingly inconspicuous, but 
brilliant as children identiying themselves within works of 
art (http://artnc.org/conceptMap/560) that Paul Fishwick has 
described for us (29.392).

I agree with Joris that a 'Globalversity' as a worldwide 
network of independent scholars should not amount to 
institutionalizing unpaid academic work. Instead it might 
lead to new forms of (international) co-operation and new 
standards of quality assessment when the peer reviewing 
process,  questionable practices of impact generation, and 
plagiarism have come under discussion. How could the 
'independent (digital humanities) scholar' contribute to 
progress at large and better his or her situation?

According to the Oxford study The Future of Employment by 
Carl Frey and Michael Osborne, up to 47 percent of total US 
employment is at risk during the next ten to twenty years 
due to the digitization of work processes, the sciences not 
exempt 
(http://www.oxfordmartin.ox.ac.uk/downloads/academic/The_Future_of_Employment.pdf). 
I know of independent scholars who unsuccessfully applied 
for a permanent position, only to see that their research 
proposals inspired their fully employed colleagues who 
apparently are under too much stress to be creative on their 
own. Such situations could soon become ubiquitous. And of 
course, they are country-specific.

Forty-five years ago, President Carter's advisor Zbigniew 
Brzezinski foresaw some of these problems in what he called 
the 'Technetronic Age'. Job rotation and extended adult 
education as well as increased participation of independent 
scholars in the decision-making of funding agencies were 
some of the solutions he proposed. And they appear less 
world-toppling when we view them before the back drop of the 
15th or 17th centuries, when scientific academies were being 
established as forums of exchange and communication. A 
feeling of identity and the basic means to physically 
support it are not the least achievements of science and the 
humanities in a world going wild annihilating identities, it 
would seem to me.

Thank you for having followed me so far.

Best,
Hartmut
http://ww3.de/krech

Am 16.10.2015 um 07:28 schrieb Humanist Discussion Group:
>                   Humanist Discussion Group, Vol. 29, No. 391.
>              Department of Digital Humanities, King's College London
>                         www.digitalhumanities.org/humanist
>                  Submit to: humanist at lists.digitalhumanities.org
>
>          From: Humanist Discussion Group <willard.mccarty at mccarty.org.uk>
>
>                   Humanist Discussion Group, Vol. 29, No. 390.
>              Department of Digital Humanities, King's College London
>                         www.digitalhumanities.org/humanist
>                  Submit to: humanist at lists.digitalhumanities.org
> >
>          Date: Thu, 15 Oct 2015 07:43:46 +0000
>          From: Joris van Zundert <joris.van.zundert at huygens.knaw.nl>
>          Subject: Re:  29.386 losing the humanities; network analysis of Plato's dialogues
>          In-Reply-To: <20151015062124.3EE9A6BA5 at digitalhumanities.org>
>
> Dear Hartmut,
>
> Okay, I'll take the bait.
>
> Not long ago Willard lamented the politicized character of much academic
> research. Although I agree with that sentiment, we cannot ignore the fact
> that there exists a politics of academia—many kinds and directions
> actually. And although I see the good intent of what you are suggesting in
> creating a new epistemological platform for employed and unemployed
> scholars both, such a move has severe political side effects, even if
> politics were not intended.
>
> For what you present as a possible solution actually adds up to
> institutionalizing unpayed labor. The explicit message you are sending to
> unemployed colleagues is: indeed, your labor has no value that we will
> balance with the one generally accepted crude facility we have for that,
> finance. Moreover, we would be acknowledging to all funding bodies, policy
> makers, and colleagues in other domains far keener at the funding game:
> these humanists can do plenty without rewards; great that they love what
> they're doing for free; more mo for the rest of us!
>
> Free academic labor is a symptom, not a solution—until those times we find
> better ways than rewarding labor via a monetary system.
>
> I know, all too easy to say on a steady contract, all too easily said by
> one who himself is also looking into crowdsourcing. Still, accepting
> voluntary labor in an unemployed situation is ingesting poison in the hope
> it will cure you. And I'm too much of a scientistic scholar to believe in
> homeopathy.
>
> Yours
> --Joris
>
>





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