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Fri Jun 17 16:16:29 UTC 2011

Robert M. Berdahl, president of the Association of American Universities, s=
aid he has noticed increasing concern among university leaders about "the m=
arginalization of non-scientific work" in higher education. "At every meeti=
ng these days, there is concern expressed about the status of the humanitie=
s and the fear that the humanities and to some extent the social sciences a=
re being sidelined in a discussion about higher education that seems to foc=
us almost exclusively on the economic value of universities."

Are the Humanities under attack?  If they need rescued and if so how?

So here's an idea, and this is not new:  humanities need to be able to show=
 what they can offer even the sciences. (Now I don't mean getting caught up=
 in the debate over the "value" of the humanities directly -- as that's lik=
e trying to defend a fine arts program on the basis of the Christie's aucti=
on price on a few Picasso's. Also Stanley Fish's retort that the humanities=
 need not justify themselves comes to mind, but it's probably easier to mak=
e that claim when you are the Davidson-Kahn Distinguished University Profes=
sor and a professor of law.  That's not to slight, but to say it's easier t=
o claim the humanities don't need to argue their value when you've already =
established/earned your own security.

Here is where my personal interest comes in with Critical Code Studies in t=
he Humanities and Critical Code Studies (HaCCS Lab), where one of the goals=
 is to create new spaces for humanities and computer scientists to meet and=
 discuss.   While I think it is naive to suggest that the humanities will a=
ll of the sudden be valued the way the sciences are, I'd be interested to h=
ear about humanities courses geared toward scientists.  Not Rocks for Jocks=
 but Greeks for Geeks.   Critical Theory for Civil Engineers.  I'm interest=
ed in classes that teach the traditional humanities topics but that are aim=
ed at the science students --  beyond, say, the History of Science or the H=
istory of the Philosophy of Science. Which is another way of asking: what c=
an the humanities teach the sciences (which probably plays into a completel=
y useless binary)?

I guess I've been thinking a lot about what humanists can offer code studie=
s and can't help feel that we could design humanities courses geared toward=
 science students that would be (actually and hopefully perceived to be) va=
luable to their pursuits -- with perhaps the long-term goal of not erasing =
but seriously smudging the division between the sciences and humanities.  D=
on't get me wrong -- these would INCREASE humanities offerings, not take th=
e place of current classes.

I know I'm preaching to the interdisciplinary choir, but can anyone reply w=
ith actual courses they've taught or offered at their institution that seem=
 to fit this bill?  Can we propose imaginary courses that might accomplish =
these goals?   Or does this in effect undervalue that work that any good hu=
manities course does already?

Mark Marino
University of Southern California

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E: 13px">
<div>Greetings All,</div>
<div><font size=3D"2" face=3D"tahoma"></font>&nbsp;</div>
<div><font size=3D"2" face=3D"tahoma">I am a Humanities Lecturer who is in =
the lucky position of having Computer Science students put into my classes =
as a core part of their degree. So many students were coming 'across the la=
ke' (our campus has a lake with Sciences
 on one side and Humanities on the other) that they decided to include my t=
opics in the degree.&nbsp; So I think I might have something to offer this =
<div><font size=3D"2"></font>&nbsp;</div>
<div><font size=3D"2" face=3D"tahoma">I lecture in the Creative Arts, that =
is, I have small groups of portfolio entry students (concept artists, progr=
ammers, video editors, games creators, graphic designers. film makers) who =
I create topics for. Into these topics
 stream Media students, Creative Writing, Film and IT students. A few years=
 ago I worked out that I have a pipeline in my topics. We can make&nbsp;XBo=
x<a></a><a></a> games, animated films, graphic novels... Instead of lecturi=
ng from a textbook we work at project
 management<a></a>, narrative, studying the role of the hero, usability, in=
terfaces, games theory. Together the students are capable of creating extra=
ordinary objects. First year is gaining core skills, second year is working=
 on projects and finding their niche,
 third year is major individual projects. Students work together across all=
 three years. It's the only way to share the breadth of knowledge - and the=
ir&nbsp;generosity<a></a> with their knowledge is inspiring.</font></div>
<div><font size=3D"2" face=3D"tahoma"></font>&nbsp;</div>
<div><font size=3D"2" face=3D"tahoma">The IT students love the topics as 'i=
n the real world'&nbsp; IT is often&nbsp;a part of a larger pipeline - the =
programming interfaces at some stage.&nbsp;Put students in a room with conc=
ept artists and people discussing medieval archetypes
 and students on the whole embrace the opportunity to work in a group and t=
o work on major unique projects that matter to them.</font></div>
<div><font size=3D"2" face=3D"tahoma"></font>&nbsp;</div>
<div><font size=3D"2" face=3D"tahoma">Computer Science is full of&nbsp;crea=
tives<a></a><a></a> who are fascinated with story, activity,&nbsp;grou-pwor=
k<a></a><a></a> and making things. Humanities is filled with excellent comm=
unicators who understand story, analysis and communication.
 The students respect each others roles in the pipelines, and sometimes the=
 programmers want to research story or create the textures or graphics. Som=
etimes the Humanities students are surprisingly good programmers. Students =
don't see a insurmountable divide
 between the degrees, the Universities have manufactured this 'us' and 'the=
m' mentality.</font></div>
<div><font size=3D"2" face=3D"tahoma"></font>&nbsp;</div>
<div><font size=3D"2" face=3D"tahoma">To me, Humanities is where everything=
 comes together. We have flexibility<a></a>, we embrace creativity, we enco=
urage experimentation, we have codes (behaviour, words, but we have rules t=
hat can translate into code), it's a
 natural fit. What's odd to me is that it does not happen more.</font></div=
<div><font size=3D"2" face=3D"tahoma"></font>&nbsp;</div>
<div><font size=3D"2" face=3D"tahoma">We shouldn't have to defend the Human=
ities, we're a part of a larger pipeline.&nbsp; University is a space to le=
arn, to find your place in the world, to work on projects, to be challenged=
 and expanded intellectually. The pipeline
 model seems to work, they make amazing things, students who would never no=
rmally&nbsp;meet learn to respect and work with one another and they see th=
e value of working across disciplines<a></a>.
<div><font size=3D"2" face=3D"tahoma"></font>&nbsp;</div>
<div><font size=3D"2" face=3D"tahoma">Of course, I'm exhausted all the time=
. But how I love my work.</font></div>
<div><font size=3D"2" face=3D"tahoma"></font>&nbsp;</div>
<div><font size=3D"2" face=3D"tahoma">Regards,</font></div>
<div><font size=3D"2" face=3D"tahoma">Katie</font></div>
<div><font size=3D"2" face=3D"tahoma"></font>&nbsp;</div>
<div><font size=3D"2" face=3D"tahoma"></font>&nbsp;</div>
<div><font size=3D"2">Katie Cavanagh<a></a><a></a><br>
Coordinator, BCA Digital Media<br>
Screen and Media Studies<br>
Flinders University<br>
GPO Box 2100<br>
Adelaide 5001<br>
South Australia<br>
p: 61 8 8201 2077<br>
f: 61 8 8201 3635<br>
e: katie.cavanagh at<a></a><a></a></div>
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<font color=3D"#000000" size=3D"2" face=3D"Tahoma"><b>From:</b> idc-bounces= [idc-bounces at] On Behalf Of Mark Marino=
 [markcmarino at]<br>
<b>Sent:</b> Monday, 6 June 2011 3:39 PM<br>
<b>To:</b> iDC at<br>
<b>Subject:</b> [iDC] The Future of the Humanities<br>
<div>Hi, IDC-ers,<br>
Last summer I met a computer scientist who shared with me his hierarchy of =
knowledge.&nbsp; In his schema, the sciences were at the top and all branch=
es of knowledge and learning in the academy fell underneath.&nbsp;&nbsp; By=
 his account, at one time, due to a collective
 ignorance, much of knowledge was ordered under the Humanities, but slowly =
over time that ice cap had been chipped away and had floated off and melted=
 into the larger sea of Science where it belonged.&nbsp; By his account med=
icine, astronomy, and many other realms
 of knowledge had been relocated to their rightful place, leaving only cert=
ain types of speculative philosophy, perhaps a few arts, and other trivial =
or superfluous enterprises.<br>
I don't think this computer scientist was misrepresenting his perspective t=
o be provocative, though I do believe he knew exactly which of my buttons h=
e was pushing.&nbsp; His pedestal for positivism was built upon a larger pr=
ogress narrative (that a humanities course
 might even critique).&nbsp; Nonetheless, it took a long coffee break with =
a philosophy librarian friend to pull me back from the ledge or perhaps get=
 me off the war path.<br>
In an age where very reasonable folks are questioning the value of a colleg=
e education, when the digital humanities seem to be flourishing, and when t=
he US and global economies are still flagging sending students into their m=
ost pragmatic shells, I wonder if
 it isn't time for a new kind of humanities course.&nbsp;&nbsp; I guess I a=
m thinking about something different than what I know to be &quot;digital h=
umanities&quot; in as much as that can mean the humanities plus computers (=
not to reduce -- I just don't mean that version of DH.)<br>
Remember last year and Cornell's President Skorton's address?<br>
<a href=3D"" target=

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