Humanist Discussion Group

Humanist Archives: Jan. 9, 2022, 7:52 a.m. Humanist 35.448 - historical self-awareness

              Humanist Discussion Group, Vol. 35, No. 448.
        Department of Digital Humanities, University of Cologne
                      Hosted by DH-Cologne
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    [1]    From: Dr. Herbert Wender <>
           Subject: Re: [Humanist] 35.447: historical self-awareness? (65)

    [2]    From: <>
           Subject: Re: [Humanist] 35.447: historical self-awareness? (53)

        Date: 2022-01-08 21:38:34+00:00
        From: Dr. Herbert Wender <>
        Subject: Re: [Humanist] 35.447: historical self-awareness?


"lots of answers but very few questions" - that's pleasantly said, and might be
true with respect to the research field 'history of computing'. But for the
state of art in DH? I would think more important to find, usomg actual computing
technologies, better answers for good old questions in the humanities before
looking for new challenges while not coping with the older ones.

Kind regards, Herbert

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Von: Humanist <>
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Betreff: [Humanist] 35.447: historical self-awareness?

              Humanist Discussion Group, Vol. 35, No. 447.
        Department of Digital Humanities, University of Cologne
                      Hosted by DH-Cologne
                Submit to:

        Date: 2022-01-08 07:59:13+00:00
        From: Willard McCarty <>
        Subject: history of computing in the humanities?

The history of technology is a thriving subject and, though considered
by some as a 'grubby' subject in comparison to the history of science,
it has attracted much intellectually stimulating work. The history of
computing has not fared so well. I suspect (but would welcome
contradiction) that historian Michael Mahoney's sentence in “Issues in
the History of Computing” (1996) remains true to this day:

> The major problem is that we have lots of answers but very few
> questions, lots of stories but no history, lots of things to do but
> no sense of how to do them or in what order. Simply put, we don’t yet
> know what the history of computing is really about.

(For more see his 2011 collection of papers ed. Thomas Haigh, Histories
of Computing , 2011.)

The problem, I suspect, is much worse for digital humanities, or
computing in the humanities by any other name -- worse because we do not
have a Mahoney at work (or do we?), and worse because our field, or
concatenation of fields, carries the term 'humanities' in it, hence the
obligation to be historically self-aware.

I though of 'history' this morning as the first answer to a question I
asked myself and now you all: what courses in digital humanities would
you most like to see that are not currently taught?


Willard McCarty,
Professor emeritus, King's College London;
Editor, Interdisciplinary Science Reviews;  Humanist

        Date: 2022-01-08 13:48:40+00:00
        From: <>
        Subject: Re: [Humanist] 35.447: historical self-awareness?


As you and subscribers to Humanist and visitors to the Archive would guess, I
would like to see the syllabus for a course on poetic automata. One of the key
texts would be:

Hermeneutica: Computer-Assisted Interpretation in the Humanities.
Geoffrey Rockwell and Stéfan Sinclair
The MIT Press: Cambridge, Massachusetts; London, England

The corpus would include the work of Christian Bök, Nasser Hussain, Susan
Holbrook andök
Eunoia as heir to Oulipo (a tradition of contraints)
(writing with airport codes) 
("ink earl" sometimes remembered as “pink pearl”)
[students are encouraged to run both search strings though any search box at
hand and compare the results]

Students may as a final paper explore the difference between “procedural poetry
by women” and "procedural poetry for women” with special attention to an article
by Annie Finch, "Female Tradition as Feminist Innovation”

In lieu of a final paper, students can curate a selection of works and document
their curating process drawing upon the trAce archive

Hope this rough syllabus works.

Spotted on Twitter Today

[quote] A will and a syllabus are about what goes to who when. The syllabus and
will are about lists of whats and who has to do what with them and when they
have to do that what with them…[/quote]

François Lachance, Ph.d.

living in the beginning of the long 22nd century; sequencing the  "future

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