A common assumption in Digital Humanities (dh) project design is that ‘data’ is simply there, ready to ‘drive’ the research. The funders of a dh project described in this paper adhered to this positivistic assumption in their founding White Paper. They saw disciplines as blinders, best left behind in order to better see ‘patterns’. However, positivism was not a real-world option for the social scientists, mathematicians, and information scientists engaged in this ‘blue sky’ project, which investigated digitized historical newspaper texts. Far from being a hindrance to their work, disciplinary traditions were central to any success they achieved. Instead of moving ‘beyond’ disciplines, they developed a pluralist, cross-disciplinary dialogue. Each participant contributed out of the epistemic convention that had proven fruitful in their discipline. The approach required an intellectual and emotional commitment to dialogue, and produced tantalizing rather than wholly satisfying results. But it holds promise of more.
Gerry van Klinken
Gerry Van Klinken
Review of: Pieter Drooglever, An act of free choice; Decolonisation and the right to self-determination in West Papua. Oxford: Oneworld Publications, 2009, xviii + 854 pp. ISBN 9781851687152. Price: GBP 125.00 (hardback). Esther Heidbüchel, The West Papua conflict in Indonesia; Actors, issues and approaches. Wettenberg: Johannes Herrmann, 2007, iii + 223 pp. ISBN 9783937983103. Price: EUR 20.00 (paperback). Muridan S. Widjojo, Adriana Elisabeth, Amiruddin, Cahyo Pamungkas, and Rosita Dewi, Papua road map; Negotiating the past, improving the present and securing the future. Jakarta: Yayasan Obor Indonesia, 2010, xxxiii + 211 pp. ISBN 9789794617403. Paperback.