Humanist Discussion Group

Humanist Archives: Feb. 25, 2021, 9:18 a.m. Humanist 34.235 - Is scaling back wise?

				                  Humanist Discussion Group, Vol. 34, No. 235.
        Department of Digital Humanities, University of Cologne
                   		Hosted by DH-Cologne
                       www.dhhumanist.org
                Submit to: humanist@dhhumanist.org




        Date: 2021-02-25 08:26:34+00:00
        From: Manfred Thaller 
        Subject: Re: [Humanist] 34.235: books of note (available online)

Dear Willard,
thanks very much for pointing to "Among Digitized Manuscripts.
Philology, Codicology,Paleography in a Digital World", a truly rich view
of the state of the art in an important domain of the interdisciplinary
field between the Humanities and information technology*.

Really, rich, rewarding and one of those books which might become an
obligatory footnote.

However, though I am sorry to contradict you in my first mail to the new
Humanist: Are you really sure, that this is wise?

  > If the scholarly problem becomes more
  > intricate and advanced, it becomes more likely that the technician
  > will fail to provide a solution that truly encapsulates the problem.
  > And when the technology becomes more advanced, it becomes more likely
  > that the scholar will fail to understand how it can be improved to
  > meet their requirements. If we scale back our ambitions towards using
  > and modifying the existing technology, it is possible to have
  > scholars operate on their own, as is customary in the humanities...

It may be my approaching senility, but I seem to remember a time, when
the usage of computers in the Humanities was seen as an adventure, when
you tried to tackle the difficult, with the intention of proving that
"it" was possible. No adventures anymore, but just humbly using what
more courageous people from other disciplines have made possible? People
we should be glad not to have to interact with anymore ...

As ever,
Manfred

*I refuse to use the term "Digital Humanities", which in the meantime in
my opinion is absolutely meaningless due to its inflationary use.

Am 24.02.2021 um 09:38 schrieb Humanist:
>                    Humanist Discussion Group, Vol. 34, No. 235.
>          Department of Digital Humanities, University of Cologne
>                               Hosted by DH-Cologne
>                         www.dhhumanist.org
>                  Submit to: humanist@dhhumanist.org
>
>
>
>
>          Date: 2021-02-24 08:22:00+00:00
>          From: Willard McCarty 
>          Subject: publications of note
>
> Dear colleagues,
>
> Two publications of note (among many). I admit to some involvement in
> the second of these :-).
>
> (1) L.W.C. van Lit, Among Digitized Manuscripts. Philology, Codicology,
> Paleography in a Digital World (Leiden: Brill 2019), the pdf of which is
> online at https://brill.com/view/title/56196.
>
> Here's a brief passage from the Introduction that ends with a wise
> suggestion:
>
>   > In digital humanities, research, all too often, is conducted using
>   > team-based projects funded by generous grants. The rationale behind
>   > this is that expertise in digital humanities can best be partitioned
>   > into two groups: those specializing in the \u2018digital\u2019 aspect and
>   > those who focus on the \u2018humanities\u2019 aspect. At the simplest
>   > level, this  would result in teams of two experts, the one being a
humanities
>   > scholar and the other a technician or a developer. While the scholar
>   > would develop the research questions and the conceptual path to a
>   > solution, the technician would make it happen. Experience shows,
>   > however, that what Snow calls \u2018the two cultures problem\u2019 becomes
>   > almost insurmountable. If the scholarly problem becomes more
>   > intricate and advanced, it becomes more likely that the technician
>   > will fail to provide a solution that truly encapsulates the problem.
>   > And when the technology becomes more advanced, it becomes more likely
>   > that the scholar will fail to understand how it can be improved to
>   > meet their requirements. If we scale back our ambitions towards using
>   > and modifying the existing technology, it is possible to have
>   > scholars operate on their own, as is customary in the humanities...
>   > (p. 3)
>
> (2) Geoffrey E. R. Lloyd and Aparecida Vilaa, eds. Science in the
> Forest, Science in the Past. Chicago: HAU Books, 2020. Downloadable from:
> https://haubooks.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/12/SFSP_Webready.pdf
>
>   From the back cover:
>
>> Is there one big Science, or are there many legitimate forms of
>> knowledge? Are primary qualities the sole object of scientific
>> inquiry, or is there a space of investigating the multidimensionality
>> of phenomena? Are the ontological foundations of different systems of
>> worlding incompatible or do they allow hybridization and the
>> expression of foundational principles? This innovative book tackles
>> these questions afresh by bringing together an impressive set of
>> international scholars in fields ranging from ancient civilizations
>> and non-Western cultures to the computing sciences. Their
>> deconstruction of the sterile deadlock between universalism and
>> relativism will be a milestone for years to come.
>>
>> --Philippe Descola, Professor Emeritus, Collge de France, author of
>> Beyond Nature and Culture
> Yours,
> WM
>
> --
> Willard McCarty,
> Professor emeritus, King's College London;
> Editor, Interdisciplinary Science Reviews;  Humanist
> www.mccarty.org.uk
>
>
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--
Prof. em. Dr. Manfred Thaller
Zuletzt Universitt zu Kln /
Formerly University at Cologne


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