Humanist Discussion Group, Vol. 16, No. 541.
Centre for Computing in the Humanities, King's College London
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 From: firstname.lastname@example.org (Francois Lachance) (44)
Subject: respect and tenure
 From: Willard McCarty <email@example.com> (24)
Subject: professionalization and its cost
Date: Sun, 09 Mar 2003 09:46:40 +0000
From: firstname.lastname@example.org (Francois Lachance)
Subject: respect and tenure
Willard & Clifford
Is there also a measure of success that counts people who have come into
contact with the field of humanities computing and are employed (job wise)
outside the academy and who through some sense of avocation continue to
contribute to the intellectual ferment (one can think of several
contributors to the TEI discussion list who are employed outside the
academy)? And then the numbers could be compared to traditional
institutional structures such as national literature departments and
various learned societies connected with their pursuits and determine just
who is making those connections with a wider intellectual community (and
To press the comparison into a historical mold: there was a time where
learned monks would make cheese and sell herbs while the universities
shunned all contact with commerce or the people. There are other ways of
mapping the spaces of exchange than the by now classic cathedral-bazar
Keep tooting those horns. It is a precious form of self-respect. Most
post-docs de facto take vows of poverty to continue to do intellectual
work. It is wise to cast off the humility once and a while.
A little blare of the horns reminds some of us that it is also worth
considering the quasi-impossibility of institutions on certain
continents to recognize accomplishments garnered outside the academy.
Faculties of medicine and engineering seem to encouter the problem of
inadvertant brain-drain-by-enclosure less.
A true measure of tracks the successes of not only post-docs but as many
graduates as possible. The trick is that some of those graduates who have
done (and continue to do) humanities computing work did so outside of
humanities computing programs.
Apples, oranges, fruit, in celebration of a cornocopia of talents
> I say this not so much to toot horns as to add more data to support the
> contention that humanities computing research work is gaining respect: it
> would be interesting to get some numbers on how many humanities-computing
> postdocs there are out there, and, more important, how many of them are
> going on to tenure-track jobs or other employment in academia, where the
> real measure of respect for the field might be taken.
-- <sigilla> <civic.name>François Lachance</civic.name> <self.desig>Scholar-at-large</self.desig> <activity>Actively visiting <?insert URN?></activity> <motto><w corresp="grok">gork</w> structure, savour <w corresp="peace">content</w>, <s ana="play-with-piece">enjoy form</s></motto> </sigilla>
-------------------------------------------------------------------- Date: Sun, 09 Mar 2003 09:48:17 +0000 From: Willard McCarty <email@example.com> Subject: professionalization and its cost
Others here may know more than I about the professionalization of the disciplines. I have little more than anecdotal experience to draw on -- of reading around in classics journals of the 1930s and finding, for example, an article on something in the Aeneid by a manager at the Acme Tool and Die Works. Unless I am quite mistaken, that doesn't happen any more because of professionalization. I recall said article on the Aeneid as being a good one. I can understand the desire to raise standards, and so to screen out work which was more about Life than Latin poetry. But I also recall arguments to the effect that in professionalizing the disciplines we have lost something rather valuable -- and not only the odd article from a plant manager. What about "public understanding of the humanities"?
The exuberance now in the air, in the springtime of humanities computing, will not I hope prevent us from seeing that we have an opportunity here to avoid the exclusionary aspects of professionalization. We're in a position to negotiate the terms of our admission to the club -- not because we're politically powerful but because it is up to us to say what humanities computing is that, for example, it should have postdocs. Or am I too intoxicated with the sight of budding plants, increasingly longer days and doors open into the back garden?
Dr Willard McCarty | Senior Lecturer | Centre for Computing in the Humanities | King's College London | Strand | London WC2R 2LS || +44 (0)20 7848-2784 fax: -2980 || firstname.lastname@example.org www.kcl.ac.uk/humanities/cch/wlm/
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