[Humanist] 30.174 mutual interpenetration of disciplines

Humanist Discussion Group willard.mccarty at mccarty.org.uk
Fri Jul 15 06:58:20 CEST 2016

                 Humanist Discussion Group, Vol. 30, No. 174.
            Department of Digital Humanities, King's College London
                Submit to: humanist at lists.digitalhumanities.org

        Date: Thu, 14 Jul 2016 11:44:14 +0100
        From: Willard McCarty <willard.mccarty at mccarty.org.uk>
        Subject: interpenetration

In 1966 the great British historian E. P. Thompson, best known for The 
Making of the English Working Class (1963), wrote in "History From 
Below" on the rising influence of sociology on history. He hoped this 
would not result in "the wooden taking over of unprocessed terminology 
and categories from one favoured school of sociology, and imposing these 
on existent historical knowledge". Rather, he wrote, this influence 
should properly be considered an interrelation,

> a question of mutual interpenetration, by which the historian finds
> in contemporary sociological writing new problems, or new ways of
> looking at old problems, pursues his research with a mind which is
> both fertilized by sociological concepts and distrustful of
> sociological categories, coming up with results which (one hopes) may
> in their turn add an historical dimension to sociological theory.
(Times Literary Supplement special issue, "New Ways in History", 7 April 
1966, 279-80)

Changing what needs to be changed, this seems to me a worthy and high 
though reachable ideal for computing and the humanities.


Willard McCarty (www.mccarty.org.uk/), Professor, Department of Digital
Humanities, King's College London; Adjunct Professor, Western Sydney

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