VU Humanities Graduate Seminar January 30th, 2014

Today we attended and presented at the faculty of humanities at the VU during the afternoon program of the graduate seminar. The theme of the afternoon, Revolutions in the Humanities, consisted of several project presentations and ended with a panel discussion between professors from the university who in their work contribute to the faculty of humanities.

The discussion was triggered by a themed edition of De Groene Amsterdam, a independent Dutch weekly magazine, named Humanities, alive and kicking. In this edition, there partly was an emphasis on the embedding knowledge and resources from beta sciences and this was proposed as one reason for the current successes within the field. The search for scientific relevance in the humanities has been an important topic of discussion since the quest for valorization that is a result of the economic crisis and the subsequent budget cuts and reorganizations in scientific institutions.

The leading idea is that technology and the widespread accessibility of information should play in integral part in social sciences. Teaming up with beta sciences and information scientists in particular is a start for this scientific revolution. This idea is not new and a relevant question is why the humanities are late to the game. The panel discussion exposed either a lack of interest, understanding or both.

While there is much ground to cover, we believe that our project, INVENiT, is a good example of how close interaction between the alpha and beta fields, and collaborative research goals leads to a fascinating new research approach and holds great potential in acquiring new knowledge and insights. The reactions we received indicate that our brief presentation already inspired people in different fields and from backgrounds to rethink how technology and information can influence their research efforts. Take a look at the presentation below and if you have any questions, please get in touch.

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