[Humanist] 25.352 simultaneous but divergent?

Humanist Discussion Group willard.mccarty at mccarty.org.uk
Fri Oct 7 09:06:07 CEST 2011

                 Humanist Discussion Group, Vol. 25, No. 352.
            Department of Digital Humanities, King's College London
                Submit to: humanist at lists.digitalhumanities.org

        Date: Fri, 07 Oct 2011 08:05:13 +0100
        From: Willard McCarty <willard.mccarty at mccarty.org.uk>
        Subject: simultaneous but diverging?

This starts as an historiographical question but may wander elsewhere: 
who has written about more or less simultaneous developments that we 
would expect to reinforce each other but which in fact pass each other 
like ships in the night? I am thinking, for example, of Robert Connor's 
pondering of the question of why "computer technology became available 
at precisely the wrong moment" in the development of Classics, when 
"[t]he era of traditional lexical and textual studies had largely 
passed..." ("Scholarship and Technology in Classical Studies", in 
Scholarship and Technology in the Humanities, ed. May Katzen, 1991, pp. 
52-62). Connor goes on to consider the same chiasmus in literary and in 
historical studies. Anthony Kenny points to Connor's question in his 
British Library lecture on computing in the humanities (1992), 
speculating that scholars fled the juggernaut of quantification with 
which computing was associated, especially in the early years. One might 
finger scarier, more repellent things, such as the military uses of 
computing at that time, e.g. SAGE, the "electronic battlefield" of 
Vietnam &c. But rather than dig only into those historical data for an 
explanation of that particular crossing in the night, I'd like to know 
about the whole class of such anomalies, and other examples, perhaps 
even non-technological.

Suggestions and comments?

Professor Willard McCarty, Department of Digital Humanities, King's
College London; Centre for Cultural Research, University of Western
Sydney; Editor, Interdisciplinary Science Reviews (www.isr-journal.org);
Editor, Humanist (www.digitalhumanities.org/humanist/); www.mccarty.org.uk/

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