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Humanist Archives: Jan. 13, 2023, 7:29 a.m. Humanist 36.339 - advice?

              Humanist Discussion Group, Vol. 36, No. 339.
        Department of Digital Humanities, University of Cologne
                      Hosted by DH-Cologne
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        Date: 2023-01-13 07:11:28+00:00
        From: Willard McCarty <>
        Subject: advice to those starting out?

Looking through the recently published Bloomsbury Handbook to the
Digital Humanities (ed. James O'Sullivan) raises for some, I suspect,
the question of choice. Consider its Table of Contents, at
humanities-9781350232129/>. Where to begin?

Once upon a time, in the antediluvian period from the mid 1960s to the
1990s, the question that wouldn't go away concerned 'evidence of value'
and was mostly focused on text-analysis for literary studies. The
editor of the Handbook suggests that the question now is, "to what end?"
He also suggests a deep discontent with the digital humanities: 
"we should strive for something different to its present." 

Let us say for the purposes of discussion that someone with the power 
and money to set up a department/centre for digital humanities, having 
looked through this Handbook, were to ask you where to begin. What 
would you say?

For my answer, I'd start by paraphrasing a remark Northrop Frye made
somewhere about one's discipline of origin: it doesn't matter where you
begin as long as you begin with a question that can expand into all
other questions. And then I'd ask in turn, what kind of a setup would 
foster such pursuits?


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

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