- Oct 2017
DHers need more effective communication with broader publics, to bring our own work in preservation, speculative computing, and cultural memory into the light—and to foster collaborations with people outside the academy who share our orientations and concerns.
I am in 100% agreement. The question remains; how do you bring DH to the attention of the general public in a relatable and accessible way? How do you bridge the communication gap between those working in DH in an academic capacity and those who know nothing of the concept and work outside of academia?
the longue durée.
Not a term I am familiar with. Found this Oxford Dictionary definition helpful: https://en.oxforddictionaries.com/definition/longue_duree
the idea as a ‘Theory of Ruin-Value’, henceforth taking care only to use building materials that would crumble picturesquely (Speer, 1969). I offer this uncomfortable story, like the irradiated Strahlenkatze of nuclear semiotics, as an instance of our common drive to communicate across millennia—whether we grasp the fact, or not, that what we speak may be our darkest sin.
I cannot but see the egotism it must take to plan for 'Ruin-Value'. Given the example of who we are dealing with here, it is particularly appalling.
‘DeExtinction Movement’ (The Long Now Foundation, 2014b). This project supports the genetic engineering of endangered species (altering them physically to become more resilient in the Anthropocene) and the cloning and wholesale re-creation of extinct ones—passenger pigeons, wooly mammoths—work that founder Stewart Brand promotes as ‘genetic rescue’.
The Long Now Foundation and its views open up a whole chasm of moral, ethical, and legal questions with this 'DeExtinction Movement'. How is genetically engineering endangered species a form of 'genetic rescue'? These species are dying out because of man and man's actions, which is a terrible reflection of the worst part of human nature, but it does not give us the right to clone nature and 'whitewash' all that we have done before. Just because we may have the capacity to do so, does not mean we should. We cannot simply decide that extinction is fine because we can create genetically engineered species in the future to 'make up' for our mistakes. How are we expected to learn from our mistakes if we can simply rewind and start again?
What does it mean, I asked you, to witness mass extinction—the end of so much ‘worldly striving?’ What could, or should it mean to us, or motivate us to do?
This is my understanding of the author's central research question and that she is looking to illicit a 'call-to-action' of sorts.
He calls for more thoughtful engagement with the notion not so much of making things, but of fixing them, repurposing them in their diminishment and dismantlement—not of making new, but of making do, and of thereby engaging what he calls ‘an ethics of mutual care’—with each other, the world around us, and with the (quite literal) objects of our affection (Jackson, 2013, p. 231). This is a source, he says, of ‘resilience and hope’ and it’s a way of being in space and time that has deep feminist roots (Jackson, 2013, p. 237).
My initial thoughts were: sustainability, repurposing, upcycling. And yes, I agree that there is a resilience and hope in that. How Jackson made the leap to 'feminist roots' is not clear to me. Page 11 of this PDF goes into more detail: https://sjackson.infosci.cornell.edu/RethinkingRepairPROOFS(reduced)Aug2013.pdf.
After reading this PDF, I think he is saying that this idea of sustainability and repurposing or 'an ethics of mutual care' can be sourced back to feminist scholarship that came about in the '70s through the '90s'. Unfortunately, I can't see any deeper meaning than that or why this must be feminist in nature and not simply human nature. Why gender comes into this, I do not know. But then again, perhaps my understanding of what it is to be feminist is flawed?
In fact, members of the Long Now would have me say that it was founded in the year 01996, a way of writing dates that presently accommodates a further 97,985 years. To put this into perspective—50,000 years before the Long Now runs out of digits, Niagara Falls will have eroded its remaining 32 kilometers to Lake Erie. That communion will occur a full 30,000 years after, according to one lexico-statistical model, the point at which human languages will have retained only one percent of their present-day words. By the time the Long Now has a Y100k problem, the constellations you recognize will be gone from the sky. I lay this out to make the point that Long Now folks embed a puckishly provocative optimism in everything they do.
Is it just me, or am I detecting an underlying disdain from the author towards The Long Now Foundation? If so, I would not blame her as the beliefs The Long Now hold appear surreal and unbelievable to me. I was unaware that their was a group that held such views.
TEI folks? Who in the audience is the author referring to here? She does not elaborate. Is she referring to the Text Coding Initiative? http://www.tei-c.org/index.xml
that we owe what ecologists like David Tilman call an ‘extinction debt’ (Tilman et al., 1994, pp. 65–6)—and that this debt will be paid.
For more on the concept of 'extinction debt'; read this article: http://www.nature.com/nature/journal/v371/n6492/abs/371065a0.html
Essentially my understanding of 'extinction debt' refers to species becoming extinct in the future because of things that have happened in the past. Tilman refers to the destruction of a species' habitat as the main cause of that species becoming extinct. Makes absolute when I think about it.
DHers peer with microscopes and macroscopes, looking into things we cannot see. And even while we delight in building the shiny and the new—and come to meetings like this to celebrate and share and advance that work—we know that someone, sooner or later, curates bits against our ruins.1
Yes, but in a wider sense is that not the transience of life and that within in? There is a beginning, middle and an end. In the future, our present will be their past, their history. Is there not hope in the fact that if we as DHrs begin this process of peering, analysing, recording and curating now that this process lives on in the future generation of DHrs who will curate our work, our ruins?
Or, as a soldier of a desert war wrote in last autumn’s New York Times, is our central task the task of learning how to die—not (as he put it) to die ‘as individuals, but as a civilization’ (Scranton, 2013), in the Anthropocene?
I found this statement incredibly depressing yet profound. Depressing in the idea that our central task is learning how to die (really who wants to be that morbid and think like that) (potentially digital humanists?), yet profound, because the soldier is not talking about us as individuals, but as a human civilization, as a whole, as a group, as a collective.
My hope is to position our work—the work of the digital humanities (DH) community that has nurtured me with kindness for some 18 years—less as it is lately figured (that is, less as a fragmenting set of methodological interventions in the contemporary, disciplinary agon of humanities scholarship) and more as one cohesive and improbably hopeful possibility.
I think the scope of what the author wants to do in positioning the work of the DH community as 'one cohesive and improbably hopeful possibility' is idealistic. The reason I say this is that as a new student to DH, I am still trying to define what DH actually is and the many areas of scholarship it can be applied to. I do believe that it is very fragmented and to be honest cannot see at this stage how the author could possibly position DH cohesively.
I take as given the evidence that human beings are irrevocably altering the conditions for life on Earth and that, despite certain unpredictabilities, we live at the cusp of a mass extinction. What is the place of digital humanities (DH) practice in the new social and geological era of the Anthropocene? What are the DH community’s most significant responsibilities, and to whom?
While the thought of this is incredibly depressing, it does open up questions as to the place of DH. Personally, I think the DH community's most significant responsibilities are to record life on earth as we know it now, how we as humans are endangering it and suggesting ways to actively preserve it. I believe keeping a record or an archive of plants and animals that are in danger of becoming extinct (for example) is incredibly important for future generations to come and this is who DH must aim to speak to: future generations.
I had not heard this term prior to reading this article and needed further clarification. I found this video very helpful: https://www.smithsonianmag.com/videos/category/science/what-is-the-anthropocene/
My understanding is that the Anthropocene is a new age that is under debate between scholars and is essentially the age of humans and our impact on the world around us e.g. climate change, animal extinction, modification of natural resources to suit our means.
Joseph Stromberg in his article 'What Is the Anthropocene and Are We in It?' makes the point that some scholars argue for “Anthropocene”—from anthropo, for “man,” and cene, for “new”—because human-kind has caused mass extinctions of plant and animal species, polluted the oceans and altered the atmosphere, among other lasting impacts."
- Theory of Ruin-Value
- Habitat Destruction
- Transience of Life
- Research Question
- Moral Implications
- Author Hidden Bias
- Human Civilization
- Digital Humanities Defined?
- Genetic Engineering
- Major DH Challenge
- What is Feminism
- DH Central Task
- Effective Communication
- Extinction Debt
- The Role of DH
- Longue Duree
- climate change ; future generations;
- Ethics of Mutual Care
- The Long Now
- Long Term in Historical Discourse