Humanist Discussion Group

Humanist Archives: March 2, 2022, 6:26 a.m. Humanist 35.563 - a compromised field of action

              Humanist Discussion Group, Vol. 35, No. 563.
        Department of Digital Humanities, University of Cologne
                      Hosted by DH-Cologne
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        Date: 2022-03-01 08:28:07+00:00
        From: Willard McCarty <>
        Subject: response to compromise

In A Game of Cat’s Cradle: Science Studies, Feminist Theory, Cultural
Studies (Configurations 2.1, 1994), Donna Haraway addresses the problem
of how we might make a difference in the development of our
technologies, now especially AI. She writes,

> A lurking question stalks the project of refiguration: How can
> science studies scholars take seriously the constitutively
> militarized practice of technoscience and not replicate in our own
> practice, including the material-semiotic flesh of our language, the
> worlds we analyze? How can metaphor be kept from collapsing into the
> thing-in-itself? Must technoscience—with all its parts, actors and
> actants, human and not—be described relentlessly as an array of
> interlocking agonistic fields, where practice is modeled as military
> combat, sexual domination, security maintenance, and market strategy?
> How not?

How does, or should, digital humanities respond? In that wonderful
science fiction movie, Forbidden Planet (1956), based on Shakespeare's 
The Tempest, the solution is to blow it up as the hero, his crew and the 
planet's occupants speed away in their spaceship. This doesn't seem an 
option for us, nor should it be. But what do we have to say about this, 
and how do we argue the case?


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

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