Humanist Discussion Group, Vol. 34, No. 2. Department of Digital Humanities, King's College London Hosted by King's Digital Lab www.dhhumanist.org Submit to: email@example.com Date: 2020-05-06 16:42:47+00:00 From: Henry Schaffer
Subject: DH is about breaking down silos In a social media discussion I had written, "One of the problems we've been dealing with in science for decades is the silo-ization of scientific disciplines. In genetics we haven't had that luxury since genetics is inherently inter-disciplinary - it includes biochemistry, math, stat, plant & animal breeding, anatomy, physiology, ... but too often there were silos. We're seeing an increase in inter-disciplinary research and progress. Very good, and here's an example, but IMHO long overdue. A different area has been the rise of the "digital humanities" ("DH") where computer methodologies and traditional humanities areas (e.g. English and History) have actually been working together. It's fascinating to me to see this type of collaboration which did not exist (actaully was avoided) as recently as 25 years ago - and which has had an upsurge only in the last 5-10 years." A friend, Michael Wagner, who is also a computer geek, responded to this with a story of his own experience, "once - a long time ago in graduate school, in a shared database class, I proposed putting all of the Inquisition records - the Inquisition was as much a bureaucracy as any aspect the church, and kept pretty precise records for each investigation. Once, in a previous lifetime, I had wondered about then popular largely feminist claims that witchcraft was prosecuted by the Church as a the remnants of a pre-lerate atavistic religion. I had interest in the development of the Western magical tradition between the end of the Peripatetic age and Newton. So I dug around a little bit and found a very small set of Inquisition records of the persecution of witches - maybe 10 or 20 records - and one bit of evidence in every case was the possession of one of the more or less standard treatises on religion, e.g., Henry Cornelius Agrippa van Nettesheim's "De Occulta Philopshia" or a derivative. That was of interest, because it suggested that not only was the "remnant of atavism" wrong, but also perhaps a more literacy than one would expect. The inquisitors catalogued a lot of demographic information about the people they investigated - I suspect that the demographic information would be a treasure trove for historians trying to understand the social structures of the various countries in the ages when the Inquisition was active - particularly with regard to women, about there might not be much other recorded data. Getting all of that into a database where searches and statistics were easy might easily revolutionize our understanding of that era." --henry schaffer _______________________________________________ Unsubscribe at: http://dhhumanist.org/Restricted List posts to: firstname.lastname@example.org List info and archives at at: http://dhhumanist.org Listmember interface at: http://dhhumanist.org/Restricted/ Subscribe at: http://dhhumanist.org/membership_form.php
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