[Humanist] 31.406 noise in the Chronicle

Humanist Discussion Group willard.mccarty at mccarty.org.uk
Fri Nov 3 09:18:55 CET 2017

                 Humanist Discussion Group, Vol. 31, No. 406.
            Department of Digital Humanities, King's College London
                Submit to: humanist at lists.digitalhumanities.org

        Date: Thu, 2 Nov 2017 08:44:17 +0000
        From: Willard McCarty <willard.mccarty at mccarty.org.uk>
        Subject: noise in the Chronicle

What makes the current round of (shall we be both polite by calling it)
debate in the Chronicle so frustrating as well as silly is that the
positions taken and opinions voiced are musty with age and were just as
beside the point when they were new. The history of the subject from the
1960s to the present teaches that this 'debate' goes nowhere except in
circles. Further thought would suggest that looking into the questions being
asked in digital studies and how they are being asked would be far more
productive. But to be heard and have the quiet of mind to think through the
questions which would come up were real debate rather than rant the order of
the day are made rather difficult amidst such noise.

I would say: what matters is the work, and in the work what matters is the
questioning. For orientation to the present take a look at the latest
pamphlet of the Stanford Literary Lab (circulated here this morning) and
read Laura Mandell's blog post, "Experiencing the Bust"
(http://idhmc.tamu.edu/node/191). Having done that, for orientation to the
past read through the journal Computers and the Humanities from Louis
Milic's "The Next Step" (1966, vol 1.1) to Rosanne Potter's "Statistical
Analysis of Literature" (1991, vol 25.4), esp the subsection "The
Philosophical Essays", pp. 402-7. Or, if you haven't the spare couple of
weeks, just those two articles. Then read Busa's "The Annals of Humanities 
Computing" (1980). Some very good questions and a real sense of 
direction will surface.


Willard McCarty (www.mccarty.org.uk/), Professor emeritus, Department of
Digital Humanities, King's College London; Adjunct Professor, Western
Sydney University and North Carolina State University; Editor,
Interdisciplinary Science Reviews (www.tandfonline.com/loi/yisr20)

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