The field of Humanistic Informatics and its relation to the humanities

Espen Aarseth


This essay discusses how humanistic informatics (humanities computing) can be established as an autonomous field, rather than to go on as a supporting discipline in the service of traditional humanistic scolarship. This is important if the field is to go on expanding and its practitioners gain both self respect and the respect of others, something which today often is lacking, especially in the subfield of literary computing.

To do so, the author argues, the field must be able to focus on something which is not already dealt with by other fields, and which is not an obvious object for other fields. The answer lies in focusing on aesthetic and media issues of information technology (computer games, Internet culture, and hyper/cyber/media). This direction opens up a fresh territory of huge potential and importance for humanistic research.

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