Before the Beginning: The Formation of Humanities Computing as a Discipline in Canada

Sean Gouglas, Geoffrey Rockwell, Victoria Smith, Sophia Hoosein, Harvey Quamen


In his book Humanities Computing, in a chapter fittingly titled “Discipline”, Willard McCarty attempts to define the discipline of Humanities Computing by understanding what is happening within the discipline. According to McCarty it is through this understanding that “we may get to the disciplinary conditions from which specific methods arise as desire or need direct” (McCarty #). This suggests that one way to understand the beginnings of a discipline are to look not at the founding people, but at the desires and needs articulated at the time. This paper will therefore look at how an agenda was set for humanities computing in documents around a particular moment of emergence, in this case the emergence of a Canada-wide scholarly society, the Consortium for Computers in the Humanities (COCH/COSH).


Humanities Computing; History; Discipline; Canada

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