CIRCA:What IT staff need to know


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This is for those of you who are new to the digital humanities and haven't worked with humanists on digital projects.

  • The humanities are about what it is to be human - our history, our art, our culture, and expression. It isn't about our physical nature or our societies.
  • The humanities include disciplines like Classics, English, Literary Studies, Languages, Philosophy, Art History, Drama and Religious Studies. Disciplines like Music, Linguistics, History and Political Science are also often considered part of the humanities. A discipline like History will sometimes be in a Social Science department (when it more quantitative) and sometimes in a humanities (when it is more textual.)
  • The humanities are interested in the long term. We believe we have a role in maintaining societies memory of its ideas, histories, literatures and so on. We therefore try to do things to last and we try to digitize things to last.
  • The humanities feel beleaguered in a world that seems to value science, technology, engineering and medicine over knowledge of our humanity.
  • The humanities do not study the human as the sciences or social sciences do. We are suspicious of methods for studying ourselves as methods are themselves a human artifact.
  • The humanities often study what is best in human art, literature and culture. We have traditions of trying to judge what is good art, though we are also skeptical of such judgements.

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