Humanist Discussion Group, Vol. 15, No. 165.
Centre for Computing in the Humanities, King's College London
Date: Mon, 06 Aug 2001 09:13:20 +0100
From: Willard McCarty <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Subject: from above, from below
Recently I had the pleasure of talking over dinner with a senior
administrator, dean of a large, quite diverse school, about the nature of
scholarly research -- which, alas, he is no longer himself able to do for
the obvious reasons. He remarked that it was quite liberating when he first
got involved in university-wide reviews of research to realise by reading
proposals and other summaries of work across the departments how narrow his
own ideas had been of what scholarship is. For me, as I told him, the
memorable moment occurred when in a graduate-level seminar I was teaching a
guest lecturer, a philosopher who was describing his research in humanities
computing, was challenged by an aggressive (post)-grad student, a budding
literary critic. "That's not scholarship!" the student said. "Yes it is!"
the philosopher replied. The discussion that followed was an eye-opener.
Some time ago I wished out loud, on Humanist, that I had a baseball cap
with a propeller on top -- in case you don't remember or were not there at
the time, someone had mentioned "the propeller-heads among us". Following
that a good friend found the item and sent it to me. (It fits.) In the
context of the previous paragraph, I am more than a little tempted to wish
out loud for a button that reads, "Disciplinarity can be cured!" (thus
along the lines of "Monolingualism can be cured!").
It is not insignificant to note that in universities there would seem to be
two kinds of jobs that allow the incumbent to cultivate a truly
interdisciplinary perspective, understand it and act on what he or she sees
-- deanships (& sim.) and appointments in humanities computing. Of course
it is not impossible for someone in an ordinary academic department to gain
such a perspective, only very difficult because of the demands on his or
her attention. Deans have, as it were, the view from above, computing
humanists from below. I think it would be very beneficial for us to hear
what sorts of arguments deans, heads of school and the like would find most
appealing and useful in helping us to advance what we do.
Dr Willard McCarty / Senior Lecturer /
Centre for Computing in the Humanities / King's College London /
Strand / London WC2R 2LS / U.K. /
+44 (0)20 7848-2784 / ilex.cc.kcl.ac.uk/wlm/
This archive was generated by hypermail 2b30 : Mon Aug 06 2001 - 04:31:31 EDT