From: Willard McCarty <firstname.lastname@example.org> (68)
Subject: Humanist and the ACLS
I take greatest pleasure in announcing that the Board of the American
Council of Learned Societies has unanimously approved my proposal that
Humanist become officially associated with the ACLS as an adjunct
publication. I join with Stanley Katz, President of ACLS, in thinking that a
close association between the two entities will be a very good thing for
both. Let me explain briefly why I made the proposal and what I think it
will do for all of us.
Like many or most of you, I live in what we call -- all too often without
irony -- the "real world". I therefore treasure as most precious, indeed as
necessary as food and drink, glimmerings of intelligence whenever they occur
and I have the wit to see them. They are rare, nicht wahr? Evidence that
someone still understands our reason for being scholars and has the courage
to articulate it is for me a cause of celebration. Perhaps, then, I fall
upon such evidence with an unbecoming passion, but life is short.
A few years ago someone in the ACLS kindly subscribed me to its series of
Occasional Papers, and through them I have gained enormous respect for that
organization. When, at the ACH/ALLC in Santa Barbara last June, Stanley Katz
spoke about the crucial importance of computing to the humanities, my
impression that Humanist and the ACLS are in fact already closely allied in
outlook and purpose was confirmed. In my mind, an official association is,
more than anything else, a recognition of an important and useful fact.
Allow me to quote from my proposal about the benefits I think the
association will have.
"Humanist [will] benefit from the recognition and attention it [will] gain
through the societies of the Council. The intellectual level of its
discussions has been high in the past, but these have taken place outside
the mainstream of academic life. As with humanities computing itself, in
order for Humanist to progress it needs to join this mainstream.
Furthermore, steps need to be taken so that Humanist can survive its current
editor and the few friends who care enough to see that it continues. Its
survival is greatly aided by the relationship recently established with the
Center for Electronic Texts in the Humanities, whose staff [is] supporting
its operation in conjunction with Computing and Information Technology at
Princeton. This relationship is a step toward an institutional home, but the
scope and purpose of Humanist require the broadest possible audience within
the scholarly world. The publication series of the ACLS demonstrates
admirably how well the Council reaches that audience.
"Humanist already serves the four goals of the Council articulated by Steven
G. Wheatley in ACLS Occasional Paper 28. Thus, by focusing attention on the
international academic cause, Humanist provides an essential mechanism of
support, and by providing an international forum that encourages contact
among individuals, it furnishes opportunities of all kinds for American
scholars, as well as those from other countries. Since local and national
politics are normally irrelevant on Humanist, its discussions usefully
insulate scholarship and its goals from the demands of the political arena,
while at the same time providing valuable data for advocacy of the
international academic cause. Finally, because of its broad, international
reach, Humanist serves the needs of many academic societies for
interdisciplinary contacts that they would otherwise be denied.
"ACLS [benefits] by association with an already highly respected,
international electronic forum where its goals are already being pursued. It
[does] not have to establish a forum of its own in order to reach out beyond
its own membership into the community of computing humanists world-wide. Of
course members of ACLS and the constituent societies could in any case
participate as individuals -- doubtless many already do -- but as the ACLS
itself demonstrates, formal entities and relationships focus and magnify
individual efforts. ACLS [can] then use Humanist officially as a means of
raising questions, floating ideas, and gathering information. Its influence
on Humanist [is, therefore,] welcome...."
The exact terms of the relationship will be worked out within the next few
weeks. Rest assured that the editor will remain the editor, and that he will
be solely responsible for the content and conduct of discussion -- with of
course your most able assistance and watchful concern.