[Humanist] 28.219 the silent response to digital hubris

Humanist Discussion Group willard.mccarty at mccarty.org.uk
Mon Jul 21 21:40:45 CEST 2014


                 Humanist Discussion Group, Vol. 28, No. 219.
            Department of Digital Humanities, King's College London
                       www.digitalhumanities.org/humanist
                Submit to: humanist at lists.digitalhumanities.org



        Date: Sun, 20 Jul 2014 21:57:26 +0000
        From: Martin Mueller <martinmueller at northwestern.edu>
        Subject: Re:  28.215 the silent response to digital hubris
        In-Reply-To: <20140720141236.503A56051 at digitalhumanities.org>


The point that Adam raises in his memo could be expressed in Biblical
terms: more people want to be the Jesus of "I am the way, the truth, and
the light," and fewer people want to be the Mary of "Behold the handmaid
of the Lord." And the latter doesn't get you very far with grant
applications. But if "I" as a "DHer" want to persuade "you" as a common
garden variety humanist of the virtues of things digital, I will probably
be more successful by telling you about the ways in which my stuff is
useful to you than by dwelling on the transformative nature of my
achievements. Making the case narrowly in terms that matter to "you" is
better than making the case broadly in ways that make me look better.

There is a poem by Rilke about the Apollo of Belvedere, which in its last
line says to the reader: "Du musst dein Leben ändern." I have yet to meet
a colleague in an English or History department who finds that an
attractive imperative when it comes to things digital. Technology,
however, does change people's lives in  a lot of little and some big ways.
The "lot of little" things may cumulatively matter more in the end.

Martin Mueller
Professor emeritus of English and Classics
Northwestern University

On 7/20/14, 8:12, "Humanist Discussion Group"
<willard.mccarty at mccarty.org.uk> wrote:

>                 Humanist Discussion Group, Vol. 28, No. 215.
>            Department of Digital Humanities, King's College London
>                       www.digitalhumanities.org/humanist
>                Submit to: humanist at lists.digitalhumanities.org
>
>
>
>        Date: Fri, 18 Jul 2014 11:17:52 -0500
>        From: Paul Fishwick <metaphorz at gmail.com>
>        Subject: Re:  28.210 the silent response to digital hubris
>        In-Reply-To: <20140718155226.EC9C16202 at digitalhumanities.org>
>
>
>Martin
>
>   I think you raise a good point. Too often, we view anything not in our
>immediate sphere as our ³tool.² One of the key challenges for the
>Humanities (digital
>or otherwise) might be the hopeful realization that computing is not just
>a 
>tool. It is a philosophy and a way of looking at the world through an
>information lens. In my teaching arts and humanities students (who are
>joined with a cross-listed CS set of students), I try to emphasize the
>vital
>importance of abstractions such as iteration, encapsulation, arithmetic,
>and memory--independent of technology. The tool, or technology, is
>a means to a deeper appreciation of the abstractions. Iteration,
>recursion,
>and branching are beautiful concepts that can help in enriching the
>arts and humanities.
>
>   Having said this, we certainly could not do without the tool, or the
>technology.
>Also, while my efforts of guiding arts and humanities student beyond
>their limited tool characterizations, there are also most definitely
>complementary
>challenges of  guiding the CS students to the essence of the arts and
>humanities. The pleasures of unbridled representation
>beyond standardization is one component of this essence.
>-p
>
>Paul Fishwick, PhD
>Chair, ACM SIGSIM
>Distinguished Chair of Arts & Technology
>   and Professor of Computer Science
>Director, Creative Automata Laboratory
>The University of Texas at Dallas
>Arts & Technology
>800 West Campbell Road, AT10
>Richardson, TX 75080-3021
>Home: utdallas.edu/atec/fishwick
>Blog: creative-automata.com




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