[Air-L] Culture Machine 12, CFP - The Digital Humanities: Beyond Computing

Gary Hall gary.hall at connectfree.co.uk
Wed Mar 17 04:07:19 PDT 2010

Apologies for cross-posting



Special issue of Culture Machine, vol. 12; http://www.culturemachine.net
edited by Federica Frabetti (Oxford Brookes University)

The emerging field of the Digital Humanities can broadly be understood 
as embracing all those scholarly activities in the humanities that 
involve writing about digital media and technology as well as being 
engaged in processes of digital media production and practice (e.g. 
developing new media theory, creating interactive electronic literature, 
building online databases and wikis). Perhaps most notably, in what some 
are describing as a ‘computational turn’, it has seen techniques and 
methodologies drawn from Computer Science – image processing, data 
visualisation, network analysis – being used increasingly to produce new 
ways of understanding and approaching humanities texts.

Yet just as interesting as what Computer Science has to offer the 
humanities, surely, is the question of what the humanities have to offer 
Computer Science; and, beyond that, what the humanities themselves can 
bring to the understanding of the digital. Do the humanities really need 
to draw so heavily on Computer Science to develop their sense of what 
the Digital Humanities might be? Already in 1990 Mark Poster was arguing 
that ‘the relation to the computer remains one of misrecognition’ in the 
field of Computer Science, with the computer occupying ‘the position of 
the imaginary’ and being ‘inscribed with transcendent status’. If so, 
this has significant implications for any so-called ‘computational turn’ 
in the humanities. For on this basis Computer Science does not seem all 
that well-equipped to understand even itself and its own founding 
object, concepts and concerns, let alone help with those of the humanities.

In this special issue of Culture Machine we are therefore interested in 
investigating something that may initially appear to be a paradox: to 
what extent is it possible to envisage Digital Humanities that go beyond 
the disciplinary objects, affiliations, assumptions and methodological 
practices of computing and Computer Science?

At the same time the humanities are not without blindspots and elements 
of misrecognition of their own. Take the idea of the human. For all the 
radical interrogation of this concept over the last 100 years or so, not 
least in relation to technology, doesn’t the mode of research production 
in the humanities remain very much tied to that of the individualized, 
human author? (Isn’t this evident in different ways even in the work of 
such technology-conscious anti-humanist thinkers as Deleuze, Guattari, 
Kittler, Latour, Negri, Ranciere and Stiegler?)

So what are the implications and possibilities of ‘the digital beyond 
computing’ for the humanities and for some of the humanities’ own 
central or founding concepts, too? The human, and with it the 
human-ities; but also the subject, the author, the scholar, writing, the 
text, the book, the discipline, the university...

What would THAT kind of (reconfigured) Digital Humanities look like?

We welcome papers that address the above questions and that suggest a 
new, somewhat different take on the relationship between the humanities 
and the digital.

Deadline for submissions: 1 October 2010

Please submit your contributions by email to Federica Frabetti:
<kikka66it at yahoo.it>

All contributions will be peer-reviewed.

Established in 1999, CULTURE MACHINE http://www.culturemachine.net is a 
fully refereed, open-access journal of cultural studies and cultural 
theory. It has published work by established figures such as Mark 
Amerika, Alain Badiou, Simon Critchley, Jacques Derrida, Henry Giroux, 
Mark Hansen, N. Katherine Hayles, Ernesto Laclau, J. Hillis Miller, 
Bernard Stiegler, Cathryn Vasseleu and Samuel Weber, but it is also open 
to publications by up-and-coming writers, from a variety of geopolitical 

Gary Hall
Professor of Media and Performing Arts
School of Art and Design, Coventry University
Co-editor of Culture Machine 
Co-founder of the Open Humanities Press
My website http://www.garyhall.info

Latest: 'Deleuze's "Postscript on the Societies of Control"', Culture Machine 11, 2010 

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