[Humanist] 29.612 change of name

Humanist Discussion Group willard.mccarty at mccarty.org.uk
Tue Jan 12 08:34:06 CET 2016


                 Humanist Discussion Group, Vol. 29, No. 612.
            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>                    (91)
        Subject: Re:  29.607 change of name?

  [2]   From:    Dino Buzzetti <dino.buzzetti at gmail.com>                   (31)
        Subject: Re:  29.610 change of name; analogies

  [3]   From:    Serge ter Braake <sergeterbraake at gmail.com>               (41)
        Subject: Re:  29.607 change of name?


--[1]------------------------------------------------------------------------
        Date: Mon, 11 Jan 2016 08:54:22 +0100
        From: Tim Smithers <tim.smithers at cantab.net>
        Subject: Re:  29.607 change of name?
        In-Reply-To: <20160109103532.BA65E7D29 at digitalhumanities.org>


Dear Willard,

Over the years I've got into some Change the Name debates:
wars, they sometimes felt like.

In the 1980s after AI (Artificial Intelligence) had been given
a bad oder by the Lighthill report (1973), the Alvey Programme
was launched as the UK's response to the Japanese Fifth
Generation programme.  (Some here, I imagine, will remember
those far off days.)  In the Alvey Programme, AI was given the
alias IKBS: Intelligent Knowledge Based Systems.  We, in AI,
mostly learned to use the new-speak, but quickly reverted once
the Alvey period had blown over.

Later on, I got caught up in Artificial Life (AL).  It offered
a home for a kind of robotics I was doing.  In the early days
of AL there was much screaming and shouting about its name,
from within and outwith.  But we got used to it, and the
complaining mostly died away.

Design Science is another name that has been battled over.
Can there be a science of design, or designing, as I prefer to
put it?  Of course, this depends upon what can fit into being
a science, and what designing is, and can be.  Neither of
these are fixed, nor agreed, so the debate was essentially
futile.

Names, good ones, don't define, they usefully label.  What
some labeled activity is is what is done under this label.
Digital Humanities is what people doing digital humanities do.
And, the people who get to decide what this doing is are the
people who do it.  So, if the doers are happy with DH as a
label for what they do, any complainers who are not doing this
kind of work, needn't be given much attention.

The name of a field or area we work in is not a personal
choice.  It is a community issue.  Well labeled areas of work
usually involve many different people doing different things
in different ways, often with widely differing views about the
name of the field.  A degree of tolerance and openness is thus
needed to avoid fruitless internal "what should we call
ourselves" battles.

Names of new fields or kinds of activity are usually arrived
at early on, often too early on, given how things develop and
pan out.  This is just the way things work.  Names, labels for
what we do, are needed.  Fighting against the consequences of
an early choice is usually unproductive and not really needed.

A field of scholarship and research is best presented and
defended in terms of what it does, how it does it, and the
kinds of knowledge and understanding it constructs as a
community.  Debating, arguing, and sometimes fighting over the
approaches, methods, techniques, and the quality of the
outcomes is where our attention should be drawn, not on what
we call what we do, and what others may think of this.

I'd say it's Digital Humanities now, so let's get on with
learning how to do good DH and exploring what this can be.

Best regards,

Tim

 

> On 09 Jan 2016, at 11:35, Humanist Discussion Group <willard.mccarty at mccarty.org.uk> wrote:
> 
>                 Humanist Discussion Group, Vol. 29, No. 607.
>            Department of Digital Humanities, King's College London
>                       www.digitalhumanities.org/humanist
>                Submit to: humanist at lists.digitalhumanities.org
> 
> 
> 
>        Date: Sat, 9 Jan 2016 10:21:39 +0000
>        From: Willard McCarty <willard.mccarty at mccarty.org.uk>
>        Subject: being unfashionable
> 
> In conversation recently a colleague remarked that he had deliberately 
> omitted any use of the term "digital humanities" in a forthcoming book 
> whose research is based on application of digital methods to research in 
> literary studies. He said that he wished to avoid any association of the 
> research with DH because, he thought, it would prove a damaging 
> distraction. Fair enough, I think, though frustrating to anyone wanting 
> to find out what's happening in digital literary studies.
> 
> Plainly his book isn't about DH. The real worry is that a serious 
> scholar (which he is) would react to activities in DH because he 
> considers them noise to scholarship. Come to think of it ....
> 
> Perhaps it's time for yet another change of name, this time one that 
> distances that which scholars value in digital humanities from that 
> which they don't?
> 
> Comments?
> 
> Yours,
> WM
> -- 
> Willard McCarty (www.mccarty.org.uk/), Professor, Department of Digital
> Humanities, King's College London, and Digital Humanities Research
> Group, Western Sydney University




--[2]------------------------------------------------------------------------
        Date: Mon, 11 Jan 2016 10:13:17 +0100
        From: Dino Buzzetti <dino.buzzetti at gmail.com>
        Subject: Re:  29.610 change of name; analogies
        In-Reply-To: <20160111071028.5136C7D4D at digitalhumanities.org>


Willard,

I do not have an answer (yet), but I think you raised a serious
question, that deserves to be pondered about.

To Hartmut Krech I would avow that, as far back as my recollections
go, when I first joined the ALLC (Association for Literary and Linguistic
Computing—now EADH) in the late eighties, the current denomination
was "humanities computing".

I still believe that this was a more adequate characterisation, chiefly
for its relationship with *research* in the humanities and I think that
some of the now current manifestations of "digital humanities" have
little to do with adding value to humanities research as such.  Do they
always bring about new research results ?  This is something that in my
opinion deserves to be thought about, for I am of the opinion that the
time of advertising is already over and we are now summoned to prove
the usefulness of the application of computational procedures in dealing
with humanities research challenges.

Best,                  -dino


-- 
Dino Buzzetti                                          
formerly
Department of Philosophy     
University of Bologna
​currently
Fondazione per le Scienze Religiose Giovanni XXIII
​
via san Vitale, 114                   
I-40125 Bologna BO
e-mail:  dino.buzzetti(at)gmail.com
buzzetti(at)fscire.it
web: http://web.dfc.unibo.it/buzzetti/



--[3]------------------------------------------------------------------------
        Date: Mon, 11 Jan 2016 11:47:01 +0100
        From: Serge ter Braake <sergeterbraake at gmail.com>
        Subject: Re:  29.607 change of name?
        In-Reply-To: <932bcf20ffb1483da29bb6ea3d473c86 at PEXHB011B.vu.local>


Perhaps we should not focus on the motivation behind this decision and rather consider it as a positive sign: the natural and self-evident integration of digital methods in humanist scholarship.

Sincerely,
Serge



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