HASTAC (Humanties, Art, Science and Technology Advanced Collaboratory) is a consortium of humanists, artists, scientists, and engineers from the nation’s leading institutions dedicated to working together to develop innovative computing and information systems that support interdisciplinary research and teaching in the humanities and arts and that stretch the possibilities and applications of existing computational technologies.
HASTAC’s vision of Humanities has been elaborated by two of HASTAC’s founders, Cathy N. Davidson (Vice Provost for Interdisciplinary Studies at Duke University, co-founder of the John Hope Franklin Humanities Institute, and Ruth F. DeVarney Professor of English at Duke University) and David Theo Goldberg (Director of the University of California Humanities Research Institute and Professor of African-American Studies and of Criminology, Law, and Society at the University of California at Irvine) in “Why We Need the Humanities Now: A Manifesto for the Humanities in a Technological Age”. The manifesto outlines a very critical point by suggesting that the promises of the information revolution will only be realised if technology is able to think of some questions that moden humanities scholarship has raised.
These are diverse strands of scholarship like the antifoundationalist humanities, which challenges the idea of grand universals. Another strand has brought to the fore the idea of representation, and the making of popular consent. The humanities have also questioned the role of the university in history and iterated the need for the academia to be critcal of the world and its representations. The humanities have tried to examine social policy and formation, and question assumptions of values, traditions, and mainstreamed questions of class, caste, and gender.
HASTAC intends to identify major research identify major research projects that have broad impact and draw on key issues and cutting-edge knowledge. The projects will be structured to design new, innovative automated data acquisition, synchronization, registration, retrieval, and communication tools and integration portals. These new tools will allow the integration of data never before brought together, extending far beyond traditional texts and images to include buildings, caves, landscapes and archeological sites, sculptures and other representations of three-dimensional objects, paintings, recordings, movies and oral history videos, as well as all other forms of human creativity. Whether studying Machu Picchu or ancient Hyderabad, the Old Silk Road or Middle Passage, Renaissance Florence or contemporary L.A., the biblical Near East or the modern Middle East, researchers will be able to make new inferences about how cultures have evolved, test theories of why certain cultures, regions, or religions have flourished and others fallen throughout time, and to determine the consequences of this historical understanding for the geopolitics of the way people live and behave today.
This vision of cyber-humanities seeks to change how we know and teach the humanities, how we create and preserve artistic works and all our cultural heritage, how we conceive of the next generation of computational science, and most crucially how we understand the nation’s relations to the complex world and its regions in which we are embedded. Also, to accomplish the massive task of visualizing and sonifying, accessing and communicating the foundational archives of the humanities and arts requires the joint effort and support of academe, industry, and government agencies. Within funding agencies and corporations, HASTAC seeks to engender recognition of the vast potential of the new humanities to address problems with a scope barely imagined to this point.
Four concrete goals
Creating: HASTAC is dedicated to creating new knowledge in humanities domains and fields based on vigorous interactive interdisciplinary scholarship.
Communicating: HASTAC’s projects also deals next-generation communication technologies. Fot his there is a need to arrive at standardised procedures for data sharing. All projects would require daily, synchronous and asynchronous multi-site and multi-user communication. HASTAC will also develop better communication software that can be used on existing Internet platforms.
Educating: HASTAC ultimately seeks to pave the way for new scholarship and a new generation of scholars