Reflexive Inertia


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Title Reflexive Inertia
Period 01 / 2009 - 05 / 2015
Status Completed
Dissertation Yes
Research number OND1340364
Data Supplier Website WTMC


This project aims to investigate how innovations in text technologies are related to changes in text scholarship circa 1600 and today. Policy makers and historiographers alike frequently refer to the advent of the printing press and the emergence of digital tools for disciplines such as literary studies, philology, and theology as revolutionary events that give rise to distinctively new epistemic regimes in the study of texts. Thus, a heroic image of technology as a singular phenomenon that invades and radically alters text scholarship is created. This project on the contrary shifts the focus of attention on how novel text technologies are embedded in early modern and contemporary practices of knowledge production. The idea of technologically determined changes is replaced by slow processes of negotiation in which the configuration of material tools, epistemological assumptions and the social organization of text research is is gradually altered. The project addresses four key issues: 1) How are novel text technologies integrated in everyday practices of text scholarship circa 1600 and today? 2) How are novel text technologies co-constructed by political and religious authorities, policy makers, scholars and other relevant parties? 3) How is the use of (novel) text technologies related to the performance of scholarly identity? 4) What does the historical view on changes in text scholarship circa 1600 imply for the much-hailed perspective of an emerging e-science infrastructure in the Humanities today?

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