[Humanist] 28.885 pull of the intellectual catwalk

Humanist Discussion Group willard.mccarty at mccarty.org.uk
Sun Apr 12 09:29:25 CEST 2015


                 Humanist Discussion Group, Vol. 28, No. 885.
            Department of Digital Humanities, King's College London
                       www.digitalhumanities.org/humanist
                Submit to: humanist at lists.digitalhumanities.org



        Date: Sat, 11 Apr 2015 16:14:10 -0400 (EDT)
        From: lachance at chass.utoronto.ca
        Subject: perennial moments
        In-Reply-To: <20150411075011.CB2ABD3C at digitalhumanities.org>

Willard

It feels odd as a person without offspring, not even a teacher with
disciples, to be reminding you of the renewable resource that is attention
when one thinks about the tasks of scholars. You mention worry about time
spent...

> If there's a persona hovering above, or somewhere near, all these others,
> then that one would be the moralist who worries about how limited energies
> are spent.

The individual may have limited energy but the community as an ongoing
network of individuals can tap into new sources of energy.

Part of the social reproduction of intellectual circles depends upon
repetition and much repetition is about noise. Allow me to self-quote a
reference to the work of Judith Schlanger that may illuminate what I mean.

<quote>
In <i>L'invention intellectuelle</i> Judith Schlanger suggests that noise,
the sheer mass of popularisation which the French call "vulgarisation"
contributes to significant breakthroughs.  Each rearticulation of current
knowledge is a displacing repetition and affects however slightly the
paths open and opening to thinkers.  Opting for more flash, Marshall
McLuhan stated that breakdown leads to breakthrough.  One could endorse
such a historiography of crisis and rupture.  However ways have been
opened to do otherwise.
http://homes.chass.utoronto.ca/~lachance/S0.HTM
</quote>

Fashion and trends are ways for ideas, concepts, theories, methodologies
and procedures to replicate. They are not mere symptoms; they are the
tracks of vectors.

Chatter, I contend, extends discourse beyond the walls of the academy or
the bounds of a specific discipline: brings attention if not
understanding. Allow me another quotation. A quick portrait of a marriage
from of the verse letters in Clive James <i>Fan Mail</i>

<quote>
I don't know what my wife's at, half the time:
Locked up with microfilms of some frail text
Once copied from a copy's copy. I'm
Dead chuffed as well as miffed to be perplexed,
Contented neither of us has annexed
The other's field. Though it's conceit-sounding,
We <i>Jameses</i> think each other quite astounding.
</quote>

And in some corner of the universe fashion serves the marriage of true
minds...

Francois Lachance
Scholar-at-large
http://homes.chass.utoronto.ca/~lachance/





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