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37.3 - Digital Humanities

Special Issue

Mixed Issue

HSR Vol. 37 (2012) No. 3: Special Issue: Controversies around the Digital Humanities / Focus: Murder and Mass Murder in Pre-Modern Latin America

Manfred Thaller (Ed.): Controversies around the Digital Humanities

This special issue presents the proceedings of a workshop that took place at Wahn Manor House, Cologne, on April 23rd-24th 2012, celebrating the fiftieth anniversary of the first conference on the use of computer technology in the Humanities. This anniversary finds the Digital Humanities alive and well established. Sufficiently well established, that the workshop has been specifically organized to avoid an unrealistically harmonious picture and focus instead on some of the questions, where serious differences of opinion exist within the community. As the Digital Humanities have recently been embedded frequently into the general development of digital resources in the world of digital libraries, this broad definition of the field is used. Pairs of speakers known to support different points of view have discussed the following questions: (a) Should he Digital Humanities be understood more as a methodology or more as an infrastructure? (b) Are really all the different national traditions of the field converging in today’s mainstream Digital Humanities view? (c) Is there an overall methodology of the Digital Humanities, beyond solutions for individual disciplines? (d) What is the role of markup? (e) How should infrastructures for the Digital Humanities be constructed? (f) What is the relative importance of conceptual v. technical arguments in constructing Digital Humanities solutions? (g) What is the relationship in well defined fields, as e.g. Digital Libraries, between abstract considerations and Computer Science? 

Eric A. Johnson, Ricardo D. Salvatore & Pieter Spierenburg (Eds.): Murder and Mass Murder in Pre-Modern Latin America: From Pre-Colonial Aztec Sacrifices to the End of Colonial Rule

Over the past several decades, the study of violence and homicide in a number of pre-modern and modern European societies has become an area of considerable scholarly focus. Through the painstaking efforts of many scholars, we now can state with considerable confidence that the long-term trajectory of homicide rates in most European societies has undergone a dramatic decline over the centuries. Indeed homicide rates on average in European societies appear to have declined by a factor of fifteen to twenty times from the late 15th century to the present, with the biggest drop taking place in the years between roughly 1450 and 1750. In this Focus six scholars from five different countries and three different continents collaborate to discern if similar  trends took place during these same years in violent behavior in Latin American societies. Although only some parallels are immediately apparent, this collaborative and comparative effort marks perhaps a beginning scientific step  toward an understanding of patterns of Latin American and global violence  over the long haul of history.