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Which clippings match 'Humanities' keyword pg.1 of 3
22 JANUARY 2016

Humanities aren't a science. Stop treating them like one.

"I don't mean to pick on this single paper. It's simply a timely illustration of a far deeper trend, a tendency that is strong in almost all humanities and social sciences, from literature to psychology, history to political science. Every softer discipline these days seems to feel inadequate unless it becomes harder, more quantifiable, more scientific, more precise. That, it seems, would confer some sort of missing legitimacy in our computerized, digitized, number-happy world. But does it really? Or is it actually undermining the very heart of each discipline that falls into the trap of data, numbers, statistics, and charts? Because here's the truth: most of these disciplines aren't quantifiable, scientific, or precise. They are messy and complicated. And when you try to straighten out the tangle, you may find that you lose far more than you gain.

It's one of the things that irked me about political science and that irks me about psychology—the reliance, insistence, even, on increasingly fancy statistics and data sets to prove any given point, whether it lends itself to that kind of proof or not."

(Maria Konnikova, 10 August 2012, Scientific American)

Bruce McLean, "Pose Work for Plinths 3", 1971, 12 photographs, black and white, on paper on board, 75 x 68 cm (Tate).



appropriately complex representation • attempts to quantify the qualitative • Carol Tavris • easy empiricism • erroneous • error in reasoning • fallacious arguments • faulty reasoning • generalisable simplicity • hard science • Herbert Gintis • humanities • ignorance • imperative of generalisable simplicityimperative of proof • irreducible elements • Isaac Asimov • Italo Calvino • Jerome Kagan • Maria Konnikova • metricisation • nonsense • over-reliance on empirical methods • over-reliance on science • overly reductive • perils of reductionism • post hoc explanations • post hoc hypotheses • pseudoscience • psychohistorical trends • psychology • qualitative phenomena • quantifiable certainty • quantification • quantitative analysis • reduced to scientific explanation • reductionist perspective • Richard Polt • Scientific American (magazine) • scientific-seeming approaches • scientification • scientism • unquantifiable • unsound judgement


Simon Perkins
28 MAY 2013

Discourse analysis: a transdisciplinary field for studying text and talk

"Discourse analysis emerged as a new transdisciplinary field of study between the mid–1960s and mid–1970s in such disciplines as anthropology, ethnography, microsociology, cognitive and social psychology, poetics, rhetoric, stylistics, linguistics, semiotics, and other disciplines in the humanities and social sciences interested in the systematic study of the structures, functions, and processing of text and talk"

(Teun Adrianus van Dijk, p.109)

Teun Adrianus van Dijk (2002). Media contents The Interdisciplinary study of news as discourse. "A Handbook of Qualitative Methodologies for Mass Communication Research". N. W. Jankowski and K. B. Jensen, Routledge.


anthropologycognitive psychologydiscourse analysisethnographyhandbookhumanities • Klaus Bruhn Jensen • linguisticsmass communication • mass communication research • microsociology • Nicholas Jankowski • Poeticsqualitative methodologiesresearchresearch methodsresearch resourcesrhetoricsemioticssocial psychologysocial sciencesstructures • stylistics • systematic study • talk • Teun Adrianus van Dijk • text and talk • textual analysis • transdisciplinary field


Simon Perkins
09 JANUARY 2013

The Computational Turn: Thinking About The Digital Humanities

"first–wave digital humanities involved the building of infrastructure in the studying of humanities texts through digital repositories, text markup, etc., whereas second–wave digital humanities expands the notional limits of the archive to include digital works, and so bring to bear the humanities' own methodological toolkits to look at 'born–digital' materials, such as electronic literature (e–lit), interactive fiction (IF), web–based artefacts, and so forth."

(David M. Berry, 2011)

Berry, D. M. (2011). "The Computational Turn: Thinking About The Digital Humanities." Culture Machine 12.


archivearchivesborn-digital • born-digital materials • building infrastructure • database as cultural form • David Berry • digital archivedigital heritagedigital humanitiesdigital repositories • digital works • e-lit • electronic literature • first-wave digital humanities • humanitiesIFinteractive fictionmark-up • methodological toolkits • notional limits of the archive • second-wave digital humanities • structured repository • studying humanities texts • text markup • webweb archiveweb technologies • web-based artefacts


Simon Perkins
11 NOVEMBER 2011

Expressive Processing: Digital Fictions, Computer Games, and Software Studies

"Wardrip–Fruin builds upon the foundation laid by Lev Manovich, who, in his 2002 book The Language of New Media, suggested that the natural development of media studies in an age of 'programmable media' should be 'software studies' (a set of approaches which includes 'expressive processing' but also code studies which, in Wardrip–Fruin's words, looks at 'the specific text of code' written by developers).

Expressive Processing fulfills and extends the promise of Manovich's ideas, putting the theory into practice through a set of case studies of the artificial intelligence engines of a dozen or so software programs that might be loosely called 'games.' That the first real example of a software studies approach comes out of game studies is both to be expected and (somewhat) regretted. On one hand, games of the sort Wardrip–Fruin examines are a medium for storytelling and character creation, and as such are natural extensions of the work of previous literary and media studies scholars and thereby set up a convenient space for humanities scholars and teachers to consider the important cultural and technical issues raised by Wardrip–Fruin in an environment more familiar than, for instance, an analysis of the software that drives Walmart (one of Wardrip–Fruin's suggestions for another work of software studies scholarship). Unfortunately, like graphic novels and musical theater, the genre is still too easily dismissed as popular entertainment by too many of those who most need to hear Wardrip–Fruin's arguments."

(Doug Reside, 2010)

Reside, D. (Fall 2010). "A review of Noah Wardrip–Fruin's Expressive Processing: Digital Fictions, Computer Games, and Software Studies." Digital Humanities Quarterly 4(2).



academic journal • ADHO • codecode studiescultural analyticsdatadigital culturedigital humanities • Digital Humanities Quarterly (academic journal) • expressive processing • game studiesgraphic novelhumanitiesinformation aestheticsLev Manovichliterary studiesmedia studiesmusical theatre • Noah Wardrip-Fruin • popular culture • popular entertainment • programmable mediasoftwaresoftware literacysoftware studiesstorytellingtext of codeThe Language of New Mediavisualisation • Walmart


Simon Perkins
06 JULY 2011

The creative writing exegesis sets off on its own trajectory: from reflective text, to parallel text, to plaited text

"The reflective journal exegesis, with its this–is–how–I–wrote–my–creative–piece approach, was soon deemed unexciting by creative writing candidates, supervisors and examiners. In the early 2000s, research scholars who had risen above questions like What is an exegesis? and Why do I have to do one? sought to achieve more with the exegesis form. They and their supervisors discussed the aims and focus of the exegesis and its orientation to the creative product (see dozens of articles in TEXT and, e.g. Fletcher & Mann 2004). The discussion questioned and attacked the exegesis, and also the gap between it and the artefact. This lent impetus to exploratory experimentation.

Departures from the reflective journal exegesis included the exegesis in the form of an essay providing a conceptual or historical framework – a mini–dissertation of the style familiar as submission for disciplines such as Literary Studies, Cultural Studies, History, Sociology or Philosophy – i.e. a prose work that swapped the tradition of the Creative Arts journal for traditions of academic writing in other Humanities disciplines. In this parallel text, the candidate might be seen to stop being creative writer, becoming instead the more disengaged and critical humanities academic. However, Butt takes an opposite view on this. She thinks, in examining the impact of outside influences on the writer and the writing, the parallel text 'is a conscious reflection of the largely unconscious act of writing' (Butt 2009: 55).

There's a schizophrenia apparent in this situation. The researching writer, trying to be creative writer, is forced back to the role of critic distanced from the process, as opposed to being critic inside the process. The exegesis here wasn't something home–grown in the Creative Writing discipline – it was an imposition from contextualising, 'more authoritative' disciplines – but was an initial extending of the umbilical cord between artefact and exegesis because it allowed the exegesis to be a parallel commentary with an implied relationship to the artefact, suggesting an added or alternative outcome to the research undertaken in writing the creative product. This raised the status of the exegesis from servant–to–the–master narrative to a sort of equal, to a narrative in its own right. An example of this is Nike Bourke's The Bone Flute – From the cradle to the grave (Bourke 2003), where the novel told a disturbing story about domestic violence and infanticide, and the exegesis was a study of infanticide in contemporary society.

In the early 2000s there was plenty of room for experimentation. In this context, two of my own candidates tested the idea of parallel texts brought together and plaited in the submission structure. Peter Wise, in The Turns of Engagement: A Thesis / Novel on the Circumstances of Writing (2001), presented exegesis and creative narrative as alternating, mirror–image, theory–then–fiction–then–theory chapters which blended together progressively until creative product chapters became, eventually, indistinguishable from dissertation chapters (Wise 2001). Wise's submission performed the evolution of fictocriticism, the creation of the thesis–slash–novel. It had a hard time passing examination in 2001.

In 2005, another student of mine, Marilynn Loveless, produced Mrs Shakespeare: Muse, Mother, Matriarch, Madonna, Whore, Writer, Woman, Wife – Recovering a Lost Life (2005). At Loveless's graduation, the Acting Dean refused to read out the title of her PhD; perhaps he considered it un–academic. The submission involved the chapters of a novel revealing Anne Hathaway as the real writer of Shakespeare's canon being alternated with the chapters of an exegesis about male–dominated discourse in the academy (Loveless 2005). Here the plaited texts worked off each other and created their own dialogue; Loveless's discontinuous narrative was about reading the gap between exegesis and artefact, and analysing it.

There's much to learn from the idea of the exegesis and artefact as plaited text. Barthes insisted on the death of the author because the exegetical wasn't present. He asserted that because the writer wasn't present in the work, the reader must alone create the work. But the creative writing doctorate's combination of creative product and exegesis insists on the writer's presence. The plaited text, in showing both the product and aspects of the process or its context, asserts the existence of the author."

(Nigel Krauth)

Krauth, N. (2011). "Evolution of the exegesis: the radical trajectory of the creative writing doctorate in Australia." TEXT 15(1).


academic writing • act of writing • conceptual frameworkcreative arts • creative narrative • creative product • creative writer • creative writing • critical humanities academic • cultural studiesdeath of the authordissertation • doctorate • exegesis • exegesis form • exegetical • experimentationexploratory experimentation • fictocriticism • historical framework • historyhumanitiesliterary studies • narrative in its own right • Nigel Krauthnovelparallel textPhD candidatePhD supervisionphilosophy • plait • plaited • plaited text • prose • reflective journal • reflective journal exegesis • reflective text • researchresearch artefactRoland Barthessociology • submission structure • TEXT (journal) • the reader must alone create the work • thesiswriterwriting


Simon Perkins

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