[Department of Digital Humanities]

Willard McCarty

Professor of Humanities Computing,
Department of Digital Humanities,
King's College London [X];
Adjunct Professor (2016-19),
Digital Humanities Research Group,
School of Humanities and Communication Arts,
Western Sydney University [X].

Bern, 29 January 2014

  1. Current research interests
  2. My work is centred on computing across the arts, humanities and interpretative social sciences. Because computing is a techno-scientific activity this work is also concerned with and looks for collegial help from the sciences. Hence it leads to questions of interdisciplinary research as a whole, especially how such research is to be understood and done.

    Computing in the humanities is nowadays usually known as "digital humanities", sometimes in the plural (to denote the disciplines of the liberal arts in which computing is applied), sometimes in the singular (for that which happens at the crossroads where these arts collide with computing). I favour the latter. Apart from but symbiotic with its artisanal, constructive side is observation and reflection on its present, past and possible futures. This observation and reflection is what I do. My work is philosophical and historical in character. For the last few years I have been working toward a history of computing in the humanities with particular focus on literary and historical studies ca. 1949 to 1991 -- significantly, the period of the Cold War and of rapid techno-scientific development. Most of my historiographical work is concerned with the contexts which shaped those formative years. I am seeking to understand how digital humanities came to be as it was -- and largely remains, despite the great changes brought about by the growth and development of the Web. From its trajectory I am attempting to say something about its fundamental connection with the humanities, and so its most promising futures and its most pressing responsibilities. Recently this work has expanded to include questions of analogy, contradiction and ontology as developed by G.E.R. Lloyd, Viveiros de Castro and others.

    As time, energy and native ability permit, my research spans or at least touches on most disciplines sufficiently mature to provide the outsider with help in understanding what they do. All of them have something essential to contribute to essential speculations on what the computer might be able to do that is currently in doubt or unknown.

  3. Other appointments present and past
  4. Honours and awards
  5. Doctoral supervision
  6. Publications and invited lectures

  7. The Analytical Onomasticon (no longer in development; see [X]).
Rev 15 January 2017.