[Humanist] 26.941 indigenous knowledge? social character?

Humanist Discussion Group willard.mccarty at mccarty.org.uk
Thu Apr 4 07:49:26 CEST 2013

                 Humanist Discussion Group, Vol. 26, No. 941.
            Department of Digital Humanities, King's College London
                Submit to: humanist at lists.digitalhumanities.org

        Date: Thu, 04 Apr 2013 06:44:05 +0100
        From: Willard McCarty <willard.mccarty at mccarty.org.uk>
        Subject: indigenous knowledge?

In "Project Whirlwind: An Unorthodox Development Project", describing 
the history of the Cold War defense computer that led to SAGE 
(Semi-Automatic Ground Environment), Thomas Smith notes that,

> the rapidity with which events moved in the pioneering
> days of the computer suggests that the exogeneity of fundamental
> scientific research and understanding may be less significant in the
> 20th century than the fusion of science with technology that has come
> to be known as the R & D process.
(Technology and Culture 17.3, July 1976, p. 463)

For the digital humanities is the same true more recently, substituting 
"scholarly" and "humanities" for "scientific" and "science", 
respectively, in the above? Is there an indigenous understanding of 
scholarly research emerging from the direct engagement of computing and 
the humanities in project work?

Smith then goes on to say,

> This observation in no way denigrates
> the special contributions and creativity of any of the heroic
> pioneers in computer history, but it may help to place them more
> usefully in the context of the distinctively social enterprise called
> R & D that caused the digital computer to evolve so swiftly.

Is digital humanities is a "distinctly social enterprise"? I wonder if 
as the locus of research moves from the mind of the researcher into the 
world where others can participate directly, in real time, in its 
development, collaboration becomes not simply possible but more 
desirable -- not just because the talents of others are needed but 
because it is somehow an inherently social activity?



Willard McCarty, FRAI / Professor of Humanities Computing & Director of
the Doctoral Programme, Department of Digital Humanities, King's College
London; Professor, School of Humanities and Communication Arts,
University of Western Sydney; Editor, Interdisciplinary Science Reviews
(www.isr-journal.org); Editor, Humanist (dhhumanist.org);

More information about the Humanist mailing list