Historical Social Research

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Willard McCarty, The Residue of Uniqueness [Abstract]

To build an argument for the supervening importance of agenda, I locate the digital humanities within the context of a central human predicament: the anxiety of identity stemming from the problematic relation of human to non-human, both animal and machine. I identify modelling as the fundamental activity of the digital humanities and draw a parallel between it and our developing confrontation with the not-us. I then go on to argue that the demographics of infrastructure within the digital humanities, therefore in part its emphasis, is historically due to the socially inferior role assigned to those who in the early years found para-academic employment in service to the humanities. I do not specify an agenda, rather conclude that modelling, pursued within its humane context, offers a cornucopia of agenda if only the “mind-forged manacles” of servitude’s mind-set can be broken.