Humanist Discussion Group, Vol. 32, No. 184. Department of Digital Humanities, King's College London Hosted by King's Digital Lab www.dhhumanist.org Submit to: firstname.lastname@example.org Date: 2018-11-14 05:49:26+00:00 From: Willard McCarty
Subject: The art of overview In a discussion with colleagues about the merits of a particular essay, the one or two specialists among us had difficulty with this essay’s sacrifice of detail in the interests of achieving its broad view of the subject. As an interdisciplinary explorer of many subjects, I particularly value such overviews, perhaps too much — because I often am in desperate need of them. Another genre I value is one in which the author is intent on exploring where it might be possible reasonably to draw limits to a polysemous or radically inclusive concept (e.g. model, paraphrase). This means allowing that such expansiveness has a point, not disallowing the validity of the concept altogether. In both cases there’s an art to writing such things, or better, several ways of doing it well so that the specialist can reasonably be expected to allow their value. One scholar whose work I admire, the historian of Greek religion Walter Burkert, wrote such things in a kind of rhythm of close and far, zooming in for inspection of minute detail, then zooming out for the overall pattern. Somewhere Ian Hacking advises that it’s always good to have many examples to hand. Sometimes one simply knows an author has done his or her homework; the authority is implicit. So, my question. Who has written about this art or arts (with examples, please)? Thanks for any pointers. Yours, WM _______________________________________________ Unsubscribe at: http://dhhumanist.org/Restricted List posts to: email@example.com List info and archives at at: http://dhhumanist.org Listmember interface at: http://dhhumanist.org/Restricted/ Subscribe at: http://dhhumanist.org/membership_form.php
Editor: Willard McCarty (King's College London, U.K.; Western Sydney University, Australia)
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