[Humanist] 30.507 state of relations

Humanist Discussion Group willard.mccarty at mccarty.org.uk
Sat Nov 19 07:22:19 CET 2016

                 Humanist Discussion Group, Vol. 30, No. 507.
            Department of Digital Humanities, King's College London
                Submit to: humanist at lists.digitalhumanities.org

        Date: Fri, 18 Nov 2016 15:10:41 -0600
        From: James Rovira <jamesrovira at gmail.com>
        Subject: Re:  30.503 state of relations
        In-Reply-To: <20161118071837.80E0D8324 at digitalhumanities.org>

In response to Susan, when I said that "only computing people are able to
appreciate the end product," I meant to apply that only to the "creative
route" that I had just hinted at -- something like a digital poetics, or a
poetry of code. I was thinking at the time that people would have to be
able to read code to appreciate a poetics of code, so then only "computing
people" (in the sense of people with computing competence) would be able to
understand it.

But if it's code, it may well render something on a screen too, or produce
some kind of activity, and people wouldn't need to know the code to
appreciate that.

Many thanks for Willard's, as usual, great questions and engagement. I
would say that history and English are coherently theorized in a number of
rival, internally coherent ways, but that these different ways of
theorizing these fields don't need to be coherent with one another for the
field to be "coherently theorized." I'm imagining the only conditions for
any field of study to be "coherently theorized" is for one internally
consistent way of theorizing the field to arise. Multiple internally
consistent ways of theorizing a field is all the better even if it makes a
broad view of the field somewhat of a mess.

Can you have a "free standing" "digital humanities" if it's both "digital"
and "humanities"? I think you can if DH creates a way of thinking about
humanities (art, literature, philosophy, history, music) independent of
existing work in the humanities. I don't think that any practice or method
that existed prior to the rise of computing and carried out by hand is
allowed to stand in for a new method or way of thinking, which includes
statistical analysis of word counts, etc.

I don't see this as a bad thing. I'm curious why we need an independent DH
if we're not concerned about politics, funding, and research?

Jim R

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