[Humanist] 30.30 deliberate interdisciplinary training: postdocs possible

Humanist Discussion Group willard.mccarty at mccarty.org.uk
Mon May 16 07:07:42 CEST 2016


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



        Date: Sun, 15 May 2016 23:08:14 +0200
        From: Radim Hladik <radim.hladik at fulbrightmail.org>
        Subject: Re: 30.22 deliberate interdisciplinary training


Dear list, it is a mere coincidence, but this question is very topical for
me. I am currently in the process of preparing an application for a grant to
support establishment of a resource focused DH center in Prague, Czech
Republic. 

As you can imagine, there are many limitations on how we can construct the
budget, but in spite of all the bureaucratic obstacles, we are keen on
recruiting two postdocs from abroad who would be willing to do precisely
that - agree to work as consultants and co-authors on various humanities
research subprojects. I think we have some great librarians, historians and
philosophers on board and, in the recent years, several projects have been
carried out to digitize humanities resources. Yet other researchers have
been building disciplinary databases more or less on their own time. 

There is, however, a gap between those who have the skills to build and
maintain the infrastructures and those who are in contact with the ongoing
research and have their own research questions to contribute. My hope is
that we can narrow that gap by bringing in people with DH humanities
training who would be able to talk with both sides. It is unlikely that, say
an established historian with traditional disciplinary upbringing will take
on the task of becoming a programming historian at a mid-career point, but
there is good chance that she can get a better idea of what DH can do for
her to possibly get over some limitations of analogue research. And that, we
envision, would be a good point for someone with fresh DH skills to come in.


If the grant application ends up being successful, we expect to look for
this person abroad. We do have a few humanities scholars around here with
impressive computational skills, but mostly focusing on social media and
working closely with businesses. And then, of course, we have NLP people.
But in the traditional humanities disciplines, people with a DH research
profile are nowhere to be found. So perhaps the issue also has to do with
the state of DH affairs in various countries. An interdisciplinary postdoc
is the first thing that comes to mind if DH are not properly
institutionalized – but once they are, they probably pick up their own
course of action and cut themselves off from more traditionally leaning
colleagues. It is probably an instantiation of the central dilemma in the
digital humanities.

Anyway, those are my two cents. Wish us luck so that we get the grant and
can hire an interdisciplinary postdoc :) on that note, should anyone be
interested in getting in touch and sending a letter of support, feel free to
get in touch.

Radim Hladik





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