[Humanist] 28.525 a new computational humanities

Humanist Discussion Group willard.mccarty at mccarty.org.uk
Tue Dec 2 07:11:14 CET 2014

                 Humanist Discussion Group, Vol. 28, No. 525.
            Department of Digital Humanities, King's College London
                Submit to: humanist at lists.digitalhumanities.org

        Date: Mon, 01 Dec 2014 15:04:18 -0600
        From: Andrew G Taylor <agt2 at rice.edu>
        Subject: Re:  28.521 a new computational humanities?
        In-Reply-To: <mailman.3.1417431601.25531.humanist at lists.digitalhumanities.org>

On 12/1/2014 5:00 AM, Willard McCarthy wrote:

> Apart from the radical simplification of the field, contracted to
> simulation, isn't it interesting that the author should hold up accurate
> representation as the scholars' goal and space-time travel as
> scholarship? How widespread are such notions?

Can work outside of scholarship still be considered "Humanities"?

I understand this is a scholarly listserv, but here are my two cents as 
a non-Humanities scholar trying to make complex materials more available 
to people via new technology.

One could argue that creating accurate simulations is not scholarship, 
but is still valuable and falls under the Humanities mantle.  It is 
certainly impossible to create a "realistic" (accurate is impossible) 
historical simulation without drawing on the scholarly fields of 
history, archeology and anthropology - so is it applied scholarship? And 
can novel representations serve as launchpad to new scholarship and 

This relates to an ongoing question - what is the role of the 
non-scholar working in a Humanities ecosystem?
I'm not a professional scholar - I'm a visualization/database person who 
loves making historically-inaccessible images and information more 
accessible to people using New Media platforms.  I look at this as the 
librarian or archivist role - creating entry-points that enable  (and 
improve?) Humanities scholarship.

Occasionally while processing materials (and  reframing the materials in 
a new way) I may come up with/run into a scholarly insight, but that is 
not the goal. My intention is to give people interested in the 
Humanities better access to materials and information.

Sophisticated knowledge about a Humanities subject requires years of 
study and focus - I'm focusing my attention differently. I'm developing 
an understanding of New Media representation and presentation, but not 
about any specific area of Humanities.

Regards, Andrew Taylor

Andrew Taylor, MLS
Associate Curator, Visual Resources
Department of Art History, Rice University

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