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Humanist Archives: March 22, 2021, 6:44 a.m. Humanist 34.293 - structure/coding - stricture - armature?

              Humanist Discussion Group, Vol. 34, No. 293.
        Department of Digital Humanities, University of Cologne
                      Hosted by DH-Cologne
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        Date: 2021-03-21 17:26:50+00:00
        From: <>
        Subject: Code and Structure


You and the subscribers to Humanist might be interested in these unstructured
thoughts about coding and structure.

In the question and answer session to a talk by Astrid Ensslin ("Towards
Relational Posthumanism: Writing new body worlds in digital fiction") in the
Spectrums of Digital Humanities series hosted by McGill University Digital
Humanities, Dene Grigar remarking on the structuring aspects of writing of code
rhymed "structure" with  "stricture". Echoes perhaps of the commonplace that
coding enforces rigour.

There may be another route from "structure" away from the "restriction" of
"stricture" towards "armature" i.e. a perspective dwelling on the more fungible
aspects of code and structure.

I have in mind Terrence Hawkes's summary of structure via Piaget [1]. Hawkes
summarizes Piaget thus


Structure, he argues, can be served in an arrangement of entities which embodies
the following fundamental ideas:

(a) the idea of wholeness
(b) the idea of transformation
(c) the idea of self-regulation


By _wholeness_ is meant the sense of internal coherence. [[...] The structure is
not static. The laws which govern it act so as to make it not only structured,
but _structuring_. [...] Finally, the structure is _self-regulating_ in the
sense that it makes no appeals beyond itself in order to validate its
transformational procedures.


I wonder if this summary of the ideas at play in the notion of structure can or
does informs the pedagogy of teaching code and its affordances in the domain of
digital humanities.

[1] Terence Hawkes _Structuralism and Semiotics_ (1977) p. 16.

~  ~  ~  ~  ~  ~  ~
François Lachance
Wannabe Professor of Theoretical and Applied Rhetoric

to think is often to sort, to store and to shuffle: humble, embodied tasks

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