13.0089 curricula for humanities computing

Humanist Discussion Group (humanist@kcl.ac.uk)
Tue, 6 Jul 1999 15:55:30 +0100 (BST)

Humanist Discussion Group, Vol. 13, No. 89.
Centre for Computing in the Humanities, King's College London

Date: Mon, 5 Jul 1999 15:48:47 +0200 (METDST)
From: "Jan-Gunnar Tingsell <tingsell@hum.gu.se>" <jgt@hum.gu.se>
Subject: Re: 13.0083 curricula? disappearance?

> From: Willard McCarty <willard.mccarty@kcl.ac.uk>
> >=20
> Dear colleagues,
> As our subject becomes more popular, numbers of students will increase --
> as they already have begun to do where I ply my trade. At some point, it
> becomes difficult to accommodate all those who want to take a practically
> orientated humanities computing course in a single lab. What does one do
> then -- without simply hiring another full-time lecturer?


The situation Willard describes, sounds much alike the problems we are
facing. Probably they are very much alike at all centres for humanities

There are many obstacles in our task. By tradition our subjects are non-
laborative and we are expected to use just paper and pencil. Humanities is
poor compared with science and huge labs with many teachers are
impossible to us. But I think our main problem is to define the contents of
"humanities computing". I often use this expression, but can I really
define it?

We can distinguish a number of "courses", projects or ideas we will say
are included in "h.c". When we examine these ideas it is difficult to
extract the smallest common denominator. The languages might be a
group with common interests, but they differ a lot from those of history,
archaeology, history of art, etc. Is "h.c." really a separate subject? And
why? How can service organisations as ours embrace this wide range of

(One problem to compare the situation in different countries, I think, is
the organisation of undergraduate studies. Our students, e.g., start their
university career at another level than in the Anglo-Saxon countries.)

I myself have no answer to the questions but to handle the situation in a
pragmatic way, we give the students basic knowledge (if they don't
already have it) in handling computers, information retrieval and useful
software, all with a humanistic approach.

What we can do today is to be aware of the teachers ideas in different
subjects, give them all support we can, and in co-operation create useful
courses. I would very much appreciate exchange of ideas in this
discussion list or perhaps a web site with links to curricula in "h.c.".

Jan-Gunnar Tingsell=09=09=09<tingsell@hum.gu.se>
Humanistiska fakultetens dataservice=09tel:=09+46 (0)31 773 4553
G=F6teborgs universitet=09=09=09fax:=09+46 (0)31 773 4455
URL =3D http://www.hum.gu.se

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