21.136 geographical models?

From: Humanist Discussion Group (by way of Willard McCarty willard.mccarty_at_kcl.ac.uk>
Date: Wed, 27 Jun 2007 06:40:03 +0100

               Humanist Discussion Group, Vol. 21, No. 136.
       Centre for Computing in the Humanities, King's College London
                     Submit to: humanist_at_princeton.edu

         Date: Tue, 26 Jun 2007 08:33:12 +0100
         From: Willard McCarty <willard.mccarty_at_kcl.ac.uk>
         Subject: geographical models?

In Humanist 21.113 I referred to Edouard Glissant's geographical
metaphor in Poetics of Relation (Michigan, 1997) but did not quote
what he says. Forgive me for the repetition, but now I'd like to turn
the reference into a question. Here is what he says:

>The Caribbean, as far as I am concerned, may be held up as one of
>the places in the world where Relation presents itself most visibly,
>one of the explosive regions where it seems to be gathering
>strength. This has always been a place of encounter and connivance
>and, at the same time, a passageway toward the American continent.
>Compared to the Mediterranean, which is an inner sea surrounded by
>lands, a sea that concentrates (in Greek, Hebrew, and Latin
>antiquity and later in the emergence of Islam, imposing the thought
>of the One), the Caribbean is, in contrast, a sea that explodes the
>scattered lands into an arc. A sea that diffracts. Without
>necessarily inferring any advantage whatsoever to their situation,
>the reality of archipelagos in the Caribbean or the Pacific provides
>a natural illustration of the thought of Relation. (p. 33)

I became interested in the effects of native geography on how one
constructs one's various worlds when I encountered the mathematician
David Hilbert's imperial metaphor of the relation of disciplines in
his 1917 lecture, "Axiomatic Thought" (in William Ewald, ed., From
Kant to Hilbert: A Source Book in the Foundations of
Mathematics. Volume II. Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1996.):

>Just as in the life of nations the individual nation can only thrive
>when all neighbouring nations are in good health; and just as the
>interest of states demands, not only that order prevail within every
>individual state, but also that the relationships of the states among
>themselves be in good order; so it is in the life of the sciences. In
>due recognition of this fact the most important bearers of mathematical
>thought have always evinced great interest in the laws and the structure
>of the neighbouring sciences; above all for the benefit of mathematics
>itself they have always cultivated the relations to the neighbouring
>sciences, especially to the great empires of physics and epistemology.

In an article in Literary and Linguistic Computing (21.1, 2006) I
pointed to some Australian examples, much closer to the Caribbean
than the European. Does anyone here know of others? Are there British
examples that differ significantly from the continental European, as
one suspects they would? Any Canadian ones other than Northrop Frye's
speculations on the relationship been geographically determined
demography and his people's genius for communication?


Dr Willard McCarty | Reader in Humanities Computing | Centre for
Computing in the Humanities | King's College London |
http://staff.cch.kcl.ac.uk/~wmccarty/. Et sic in infinitum (Fludd 1617, p. 26).
Received on Wed Jun 27 2007 - 01:54:09 EDT

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