Humanist Discussion Group, Vol. 16, No. 658.
Centre for Computing in the Humanities, King's College London
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Date: Sat, 03 May 2003 06:53:38 +0100
From: Alexandre Enkerli <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Subject: consumptive humanities
I'm fairly new to the list and took it to be mostly announcements. But
Willard's thread seems interesting and I thought I'd jump in. I didn't read
the whole thread very carefully, though.
As an introduction, I'm a Ph.D. candidate in ethnomusicology and part-time
faculty in anthropology. As I'm of "that" generation (being 30 years old),
computing technologies have been an important part of my life as an
individual and as an academic. As others, I simply enjoy computers. Which
does imply that I may sometimes do something in a specific way just because
it's "neat" in technological terms. I fully realize how dangerous this is,
but enjoying one's work is a major motivation for going forward.
Apart from deriving pleasure from computing, I was trained to see computers
as limits to overcome. One of my early teachers in computer music would
encourage us to see beyond the preset features towards our own thinking.
True, the technology does influence our thinking but, in a creative
process, this influence is simply part of the whole scheme.
Because of this attitude, we were able to do everything we wanted by
"hacking" our way through it but didn't necessarily learn programming
languages. Programming is a very specific process and some languages may
impose strict constraints on the way we think. But hacking things together,
while time-consuming, is more likely to be integral to our workflow.
In the current context, students in general need to learn how to use
computers effectively which does involve understanding the fundamentals of
how they're programmed, in the broadest possible sense. But they probably
don't need to become coders and sort binary trees just to finish a term
paper on Rousseau...
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