[Humanist] 29.726 on the digital sublime?

Humanist Discussion Group willard.mccarty at mccarty.org.uk
Sat Feb 20 09:23:40 CET 2016

                 Humanist Discussion Group, Vol. 29, No. 726.
            Department of Digital Humanities, King's College London
                Submit to: humanist at lists.digitalhumanities.org

[The following messages are forwarded from the SIGCIS discussion group 
(http://www.sigcis.org), in which interesting things sometimes happen. I'm 
sending these along to spark discussion on the topic. --WM]

  [1]   From:    Luke Fernandez <luke.fernandez at gmail.com>                 (19)
        Subject: the digital sublime

  [2]   From:    "Hahn, Barbara" <barbara.hahn at ttu.edu>                    (10)
        Subject: Re:  the digital sublime

        Date: Sat, 20 Feb 2016 00:17:53 -0700
        From: Luke Fernandez <luke.fernandez at gmail.com>
        Subject: the digital sublime

Can anybody on this list recommend some articles or books about the digital
sublime?  In  _The Technological Sublime_ David Nye documents how Americans
have had sublime and "essentially religious" reactions to technology since
their confrontation with the railroad.  However, Nye's book doesn't trace
the American encounter with computers.  Moreover, the history ends in 1993
so one is left wondering whether the sublime is a category of experience
that can be used to describe how 21st century Americans react to
digitalized spaces. Are our aesthetic and emotional reactions to computers
similar to the sublime reactions that Nye claims we've had when we've
looked at dams, bridges, and the Apollo space mission? Or are our reactions
to these technologies so different that they resist conflation with digital
ones?  In Vincent Mosco's _The Digital Sublime_ there's a pretty good
attempt to apply Nye's framework to cyberspace.  But this book which was
published in 2005 in now itself ten years old and predates much that might
be said about, say, the mobile revolution or Web 2.0. Hence my query.




        Date: Sat, 20 Feb 2016 07:29:37 +0000
        From: "Hahn, Barbara" <barbara.hahn at ttu.edu>
        Subject: Re:  the digital sublime

Hi - I like Rowan Wilken's "Unthinkable Complexity: The Internet and the Mathematical Sublime" in the edited collection _The sublime today_ (2012).  It uses Kant's model of the sublime rather than Burke's and seems innocent of Nye altogether, and it's philosophical rather than historical (as are almost all treatments of the sublime) but I find it useful nonetheless.

+ + + + +
Dr. Barbara Hahn
Associate Professor, History Department, Texas Tech University (on leave 2014-2016)
Associate Editor, Technology and Culture
Marie Curie International Incoming Fellow
School of History, University of Leeds

More information about the Humanist mailing list