the essence of the humanities

"If the mind of the woodcarver or calligrapher is not at the edge where tool meets material -- or, more accurately, is recreated at their meeting -- then the job is botched. Whatever was originally meant by the term, crafts are 'mysteries' for that reason (OED sv 'mystery' 1,2)...We cannot, therefore, rest content with the comfortably simple definition of humanities computing as the application of the computer to the disciplines of the humanities, for it omits the very heart of the matter. It fails us by deleting the agent-scholar from the scene and, in the spatial metaphor implied by the preposition to (as in 'apply pencil to paper'), by overlooking the mediation of thought that his or her use of the computer implies..."

"...Pauline Yu [says], 'Without a persistent willingness to rethink traditional categories, we may only delude ourselves about what it means to cross disciplines. And without a conviction to adjust modes of analysis to newly perceived realities, to question what seems obvious or without question, and to reaffirm what seems of enduring value, we risk forgetting...the essence of the humanities. We cannot afford to take the risk of losing the insights into ourselves, our pasts, and our futures...'"

words from the work of dr. w. mccarty, king's college

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