[iDC] The Future of the Humanities

Patrick Lichty voyd at voyd.com
Fri Jul 15 16:08:17 UTC 2011

Florian writes:
> My perspective is even more bleak. In continental Europe, university
> humanities have almost no connection to artistic practice, and never
> had. Everything related to contemporary artistic practice strictly is
> a domain of the art schools. An artist can't become a professor in a
> humanities department unless s/he has a traditional academic education
> and Ph.D.. 

This is generally true.  In a way, I feel like I have really problematized my own academic career by running the theory curriculum in a media arts school.  I'm an MFA, but was offered a postdoc in humanities once (institutional legitimation of PhD equivalence), but if I ever wanted to look at any other position almost anywhere teaching theory, it has been made clear to me that I need either Associate rank or degree, which is daunting.  

And this is in the USA.

I would not expect to have many opportunities in Europe except as a Fulbright or like level scholar.  

This is the problem - many of us who became involved with the digital humanities from a mixed-mode perspective, practical and rigorous, have often built our experiences through autodidacticism in the 1990's and got the degree as a necessary afterthought.

IMO, Digital humanities is a different genre than the traditional set of practices, and applying the traditional model will ensure that the digital humanities is populated primarily by critical/visual studies (not so bad), or English degrees.  I argue the latter are astute but not always tangibly engaged with their subject, and people with New Media degrees are overlooked because their degrees are not contiguous with the traditional model.

Thsi will merely result in the non-traditionally credentialed to practice at the edges of and outside the system, which is a shame.

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