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Tree, turf, centre, archipelago - or wild acre? Metaphors and stories for humanities computing

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationDefining Digital Humanities
Subtitle of host publicationA Reader
EditorsMelissa Terras, Julianne Nyhan, Edward Vanhoutte
Place of PublicationFarnham, Surrey
Number of pages21
ISBN (Print)9781409469629

King's Authors


The social acceptability of computing to the humanities is no longer a serious
problem, although its role in research is sometimes overlooked or must be kept
decorously out of sight. The real problem is that in an academic world largely
defined by disciplinary turf-polity, possibilities for it are severely constricted.
As was true in the early days of computer science, humanities computing is still
likely to be seen, judged and funded not as an integral practice but piecemeal,
in the widely differing terms of the disciplines to which it is applied. In this essay,
I go after antiquated figures of thought responsible for this blinkered, piecemeal
view. Reasoning from the evident importance of geopolitical metaphors to our
operative conception of disciplinarity, I look down under, and back in time,
for different, less constricting metaphors and draw out of them a different
professional myth to live by.

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