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Humanist Archives: Oct. 13, 2022, 5:29 a.m. Humanist 36.209 - on modelling as a 'shadow discipline'

              Humanist Discussion Group, Vol. 36, No. 209.
        Department of Digital Humanities, University of Cologne
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        Date: 2022-10-12 16:05:09+00:00
        From: Willard McCarty <>
        Subject: on modelling

"Modeling creates a kind of shadow discipline for any academic
specialty. Researchers make use of methods and forms internal to a field
but do so by means of a set of skills distinct from those that
practitioners usually consider central to their discipline. Rarely a
subject in themselves, models are a means by which to investigate other
subjects. By virtue of their extradisciplinary nature, they can create a
fresh perspective on a field of study, complete with framing elements,
foreground, background, and so on, even a position for the observer,
which lends intentionality to the questions being asked of any
particular model. The process can stimulate new insights on a subject
distinct from other methods that can create conceptual distance. The
transformative potential of models might well reside in their being
simultaneously analogous to the phenomenon being investigated and
foreign to the discipline in question."

Martin Brückner and Sandy Isenstadt, "Introduction" to Modelwork: The
Material Culture of Making and Knowing, ed. Brückner, Isenstadt and
Sarah Wasserman (University of Minnesota Press, 2021), p. xiii.

This alone should pull you to the book--which is reviewed by Jonah
Lynch, "Same and Different: How Models Contribute to Knowing. A review
of Modelwork", Interdisciplinary Science Reviews (27/3/22).

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

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